Review – Gato Roboto
Gato Roboto is a 2D metroidvania-style platformer, developed by Doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital. Although to be fair, there is only one thing that you truly need to know about Gato Roboto: you play as a cat piloting a mech. Need I say more?
Set in the distant future, the captain of an airship is investigating an abandoned research facility after an SOS signal is received. But upon arrival, Gary loses control over his ship and crashes. Pinned down he sends his cat, Kiki, to investigate the facility. Along the way, Kiki will find out what’s going on and how to get off the planet as well as uncover a much more sinister plot. It’s a silly story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but manages some crazy and satisfying twists. Whilst not particularly great, I did find myself enjoying it.
Gato Roboto goes for a simple minimalistic art style: black and white with simple details. It’s not the best looking game out there, but it doesn’t need to be. Its simplistic style is nice enough to look at and everything is clear and easy to read. Enemy attacks are well choreographed and the screen space doesn’t get too chaotic. The sound design is equally as basic, with dialogue replaced with gibberish and sound effects being decent enough for how elementary it is. The soundtrack is solid with a good retro feel. Beyond that, there’s really not a lot to say here.
Gameplay is tight and the controls feel very comfortable. Early on in the story you will get your hands on a mech, which you will then spend the majority of the game in. Initially, you can only jump and do basic attacks, but as you progress you will learn a number of useful skills to get you through the game. Double jump and dash are useful abilities that you will be using regularly to deal with the varied enemies scattered throughout the world. Since the mech can’t go underwater, there is also a submarine that you will use to submerge yourself beneath the watery depths. Whilst the gameplay is more limiting in this fashion, it is still a solid way to mix things up.
However, you will sometimes need to jump out to deal with puzzles or platforming sections as the cat. The cat is much more agile; able to jump off walls and go through tighter spaces, though it comes with one drawback. You are one hit kill whilst outside your mech, but the level design is tailored around that with regular save points, so death isn’t too punishing. There’s not enough of these sections and the game fails to capture great moments when playing as the cat outside of the mech. In fact, some of these areas are too easy and would have been better with some more challenging platforming sections. The best part of Gato Roboto involves using the submarine and the cat to get the mech from one room to the next.
Every now and then you will encounter a boss fight that will test everything you have learned thus far. For the most part, they are well balanced and a lot of fun to fight, forcing you to use all the skills you have learned up until that point. The finale itself was worth it, with a boss that has a similar skill set to your own. My only issue is that failing will require you to skip through the same dialogue repeatedly.
The map is metroidvania in design, with areas and rooms that you won’t be able to access early on, giving you an incentive to come back later. It is very well made with plenty of secrets to find that give you lore, power-ups, and a new colour pallet, though I still preferred the base black and white. Taking only two to three hours to complete (the end screen said I was 66% complete), Gato Roboto isn’t packed with content, but what is there is good fun. As for replay value, I missed a few collectables and for speedrunners, this a great game due to the game play timer being on the bottom of the screen.
Gato Roboto might be a short game, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it. The great boss fights and level design are strong throughout. I do feel, however, that the out of mech gameplay could have done with some more love. This is still a solid metroidvania style game though, for those that love the genre.
Nice, simple, minamilstic design that is easy to look at. Not much else to say.
Tight gameplay mechanics. Falling a bit too much on the easy side though.
Solid sound design that matches the visuals.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Short but fun metroidvania game with some neat ideas that don’t fully live up.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Gato Roboto is available now on Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of Gato Roboto was provided by the publisher.