Robonauts is an intriguing little indie that combines side-scrolling shooter action with gravity-based physics and a nice space-esque theme. The best way I can describe this game is Wall-E meets Metal Slug meets Super Mario Galaxy.
Your objective in each level is to hop from one small planet to another (just like in Galaxy) and wipe out enough aliens until the game allows you to proceed to the next level. It’s a very simple concept for a very simple game, which is a bit uninteresting at first given the low difficulty in the first couple of areas. Once you get past the first one or two levels, the game becomes much more action-packed, filled with enemies, traps and occasional little objectives to spice things up a little bit. Nothing too complicated or over-the-top, as Robonauts still is, at its core, an arcade game.
Though a fun game, Robonauts has its fair share of issues.
First of all, there’s the graphical aspect, which is not exactly a flaw per se, but given how it’s one of its less enthusiastic aspects, it needs to be noted. The game boasts a nice framerate and your Wall-E-esque main character is downright adorable, but Robonauts isn’t very impressive visually-speaking, reminding me of something that would be seen in the PS2 era.
Another small gripe I had with the game was related to its gameplay, in two specific aspects. First of all, its controller layout, making use of the ZL button for your main weapon and the ZR button as your secondary weapon. Second of all, you’ll need a bit of time to get used to your robot buddy’s sense of aiming. It’s all automatic, but it locks onto enemies without your input, and sometimes the bot won’t even turn to the other side because it’s still aiming at another foe, while you’re being hit by an enemy on said other side. Those are two issues you can get used to, however.
By far, the best aspect of Robonauts is its soundtrack, a collection of adrenaline-filled electronic tracks that not only fit with the futuristic setting of the game, but also make the action even more intense when there are tons of enemies onscreen. Robonauts features one of the most memorable soundtracks I’ve heard in an indie game in a while.
There’s little else to say about Robonauts given how straightforward it is: it’s pure arcade fun. Sure, it has its flaws, like the average graphics, boring first couple of levels and the initially confusing controls, but you can start ignoring those problems once you reach later levels which feature a lot more enemies and action, all coupled with the game’s excellent soundtrack and a multiplayer option. All in all, Robonauts is an affordable and entertaining little game for the Switch, a great arcade-esque addition for the console, and a nice quick time killer on-the-go.
Robonauts is also available on PS4.
A copy of Robonauts provided by publisher.