By Josh Speer / September 11th, 2017
It wouldn’t be a true Metroidvania without hulking and beastly bosses, and A Robot Named Fight mostly doesn’t disappoint. While each of the bosses is well animated, freaky and challenging, some are much easier than others. That might not sound like an issue, and it mostly isn’t, but given the random nature of the game, you might encounter wild difficulty spikes unexpectedly. For example, you might fight a boss such as Sluggard, a slow moving boss that does little to threaten you, and then move onto a much more difficult boss next, such as Wall Creep. Most boss fights are one note, as they only have a single phase, and typically revolve around rushing them with a torrent of gun blasts, avoiding their attacks and then rushing them again. There are a few bosses which are much more of a challenge, such as the sinister Metal Patriarch or the Megabeast itself, but it’s hard to know what to expect whenever you enter a boss chamber. To be fair, most of the bosses are fair for what your current weapon setup turns out to be, just don’t expect the game to always play gentle.
One way to even the odds in your favor is to use scrap and artifacts you have collected to buy upgrades and new weapons from robot shopkeeps scattered about the game. They only have a couple different things on sale at a time, and there’s no way of knowing exactly what you’re getting. At first I was ready to complain about this, until I realized another well known roguelike, The Binding of Isaac, basically does the same thing in the shop, and only experience used in subsequent playthroughs will tell players what to expect from items. While I do wish A Robot Named Fight was a bit clearer, you can usually get an idea what items do from visual cues you’ll find on the selection screen. I will say that if you ever see an icon that looks like a green buzzsaw, buy it. That weapon is utterly devastating, as it can slice through hordes of foes with ease. My only other minor complaint with regard to the shopkeeps is that I wish the scrap and artifacts needed to buy things were held between games instead of lost when you die.
Visually, the game is quite pleasing and features robust enemy variety, as well as colorful attack animations. The monsters you face are all delightfully horrifying, striking me as some dark mix of Aliens, Contra and even Dementium. None of the foes you face look remotely normal, and the vast panoply of horrors gave the game a unique flavor not usually seen in Metroidvanias. There’s also plenty of gore, as defeating enemies generally paints the walls with their gore and guts. The synth music is catchy, and reminds me fondly of Mega Man X, and I loved the ominous sounds found outside a boss room, but the basic sound effects can get grating. The standard shot is very loud and some enemies screech every time they move. When you hear the same foe screeching every other second as it bounces against the far end of a room and then rebounds, it can get a bit annoying.
While I don’t have any major complaints against the game, there were a couple of minor issues that nagged me. For one thing, I’m not sure if there are only four main areas in the game, or if I can unlock more eventually. Though the variety present isn’t lacking, I always love getting lost in sprawling Metroidvanias. I also desperately wanted a bestiary. From following the game on Twitter, I see that many of the bosses have great names, like the aforementioned Sluggard and Metal Patriarch, yet the game doesn’t clarify which is which. Yes, upon beating a boss you get the achievement for doing so and their name, but the accompanying picture is of the weapon you unlock, not the beast that you beat to unlock it. I would love being able to pause the game, bring up a picture of all the bosses I beat and some flavor text to round things out. I think doing so would provide the game with a longer legacy, as it’s much easier to remember monsters with memorable names, such as Ridley, as opposed to monsters whose name you’re uncertain of.
Overall, I was quite impressed with A Robot Named Fight. It provided a healthy challenge, tons of unexpected variety and just enough exploration to satisfy fans of the genre. It’s clear to me that Matt truly understands the factors that make this genre great, and did his level best to include all of them in this, his very first game. While the base journey is pretty short, the various achievements and the need to find everything keeps me playing. I would venture that even Sundered, another fantastic Metroidvania with random generation, isn’t quite so adept at procedural generation as this one. For only $9.99 (or 25% cheaper for the next few days) this game is one any Metroidvania fan should own. I can only hope that it does well in sales, since I’d love to see it make its way to other consoles, as well as maybe getting some DLC. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and beat the Megabeast for the third time and finish getting 100% of those achievements!
Review Copy Provided by Developer
Pages: 1 2A Robot Named FightMatt BitnerMegabeastMetroidvaniaNovy PRrobotRoguelike