The year is 2031. Unchecked pollution has reached a deadly level. Humans are forced to live in underground cities built by PyroCorp and their army of intelligent robots. Everything underground is going swimmingly, until the robots malfunction and decide to kill all humans. Skynet…I mean PyroCorp, rests its final hopes on you – the only remaining good robot that can put a stop to the renegade bots and avert a PR nightmare.
Good Robot is a 2-D twin-stick shooter developed by Pyrodactyl Games, based in Jaipur, India. This game takes place underground across a series of procedurally generated labyrinths, which results in each playthrough being slightly different. Each of the increasingly difficult levels is composed of its own unique enemies, colour schemes and sound design. The levels are structured so that alternate routes are available at all times, allowing the player a certain freedom of choice. These routes are indicated by colour coded symbols which represent opportunities to chase currency, follow routes featuring heavy enemy presence and or engage in boss battles. If you are finding a route too difficult, you can always bypass the enemies and rush for the exit. Although in doing so, you sacrifice all opportunities to earn currency.
Our hero the good robot is not bound by the laws of gravity. Instead he glides through the underground labyrinths with a trusty flashlight, seeking out the enemy bots that hide in the shadows. Whatever falls outside the flashlight is completely excluded from the player’s field of view. This makes it easy to be hit by an unexpected volley of gunfire, or run in to a group of hidden enemies. The enemies are quite varied, appearing as a series of insects and geometrical shapes. Each enemy type possesses a unique weapon and skill set. Spiders can only stalk you across the surface, but also fire heat seeking rockets, while another enemy that resembles the Pac Man ghost stalks you through the air with heavy machine gun fire.
There is a large array of primary and secondary weapons at your disposal, complimented by a series of upgrades. Weapons are available through random drops by defeated enemies and the upgrade stations found towards the end of each level. Weapons appear in the forms of machine guns, rockets, grenades and ion cannons to name a few. Both primary and secondary weapons have unlimited ammo, only restricted by the rate of fire. Coincidently, rate of fire is one of the 5 skills you can upgrade using the currency collected by downed enemies. Unfortunately upgrades are expensive, and as Good Robot is quite the challenging game, you may find it better to save your currency for extra lives and refilling the health bar.
Have you ever thought to yourself, boy do I look plain, a nice hat would complement my robot cranium and allow me opportunities for some roleplaying action? Invincibility hats are available for purchase at the beginning of each level, functioning as a shield to protect you from enemy fire, and adding some much needed style to your sleek black exterior. Viking helmets, cat ears, halos and top hats are just some of the many different hats which allow you be as cultural, as dapper or as animalistic as you wish. Invincibility hats are affordable and one of the most important purchasable items throughout the game.
Even without comical hats, Good Robot is unique through its minimalist art design and excellent soundtrack. Black is prevalent on all landscapes and enemies. Colour is used sparingly, only included to brighten the background and highlight the different enemy types. No pixelated graphics here, which is a trend that has become all too common amongst indie games. The soundtrack is one of the truly standout features of Good Robot’s design. The complex electro beats are catchy and perfectly suit the tone of the futuristic setting.
Good Robot is a small game that stands out through its tight gameplay, humour and style. The difficulty can be an issue, as it ramps up too quickly to provide opportunities to purchase both upgrades and the essential health refills and respawns. Although the high frequency of deaths does extend the game’s replay value. Overall, Good Robot is a highly enjoyable and challenging experience.
Good Robot and its Soundtrack are available for purchase on Steam.
Michael Vane is a freelance writer who believes the robot uprising is inevitable. You can follow him on Twitter at @DrVane