Capsule Review: Good Robot

A twin-stick shooter roguelike that casts you as a robot shooting up other robots in procedurally-generated caverns with touches of dark comedy.

The moment-to-moment gameplay feels good and there’s an interesting variety of enemies and weapons. The visibility mechanics, which hide enemies if you don’t have line of sight on them, make for exciting surprises. The tension never really lets up except at the end of each level (which I found exhausting) and aspects of the player training are weak (at the end of each level you choose one of three doors to go through, differentiated by icons that are supposed to tell you what to expect from the next level, but I never understood what they all meant).

The biggest problem for me is that the same currency used to purchase healing and extra lives is also used to buy upgrades. This means that if you’re doing poorly you’ll do worse and worse, and once you’re good at the game it rapidly becomes even easier. I’ve never liked this kind of regressive difficulty - early play is made more frustrating (especially in a roguelike where you can’t directly retry and practice the same challenge until you get the satisfaction of defeating it) and if you stick it out long enough to master the mechanics your reward is a game that no longer provides an interesting challenge.

I Stopped Playing When: After about an hour of play, the frustration of the regressive difficulty outweighed the solid moment-to-moment gameplay and I put the game down.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.