Posted 19 Oct 2017 at 13:49 by Dennis Tummers
The Nintendo Switch’s eShop is exploding with titles these days. Nindies are taking over and there is a plethora of games under €20 available with great value. With Robonauts QubicGames adds an arcade/platform title to the ever-growing list.
The game starts out with a nice cinematic showing a tiny cleaning robot (looking slight similar to Wall-E’s EVE) hijacking a giant Mech from a space station. Unfortunately you don’t get to play in that big Mech, since you crash down in an escape pod on a small planet. That is where the action begins, and after some tutorial levels and the picking up of a suit of armour, you are good to go.
That action consists of some arcade-like 2D shooting. You have a main and a subweapon, which you can control with either the Y and A buttons or the shoulder buttons. Jumping with B completes your moveset. Or does it?
There is one nifty gameplay element in Robonauts that makes the game interesting. You platform around small planets, but you can jump from planet to planet with X. This way you can move freely between the 2D planets, and attack enemies on one planet from another. Think Super Mario Galaxy, but smaller and in one less dimension. A push of the + button pauses the game into Tactic View, which gives an overview of all the planets in the level to prevent you from getting lost and to highlight targets.
You can pick up a variety of weapons on the way like shotguns, seeker missiles and more to take down enemies. The variation in enemies is small, with only 4 or 5 different species and the occasional boss or special enemy. Sometimes there are some small puzzles as a variation but mostly you are jumping planets and killing off enemies.
The game consists of 12 levels, some of which are already a challenge on casual mode. Completing the game does not take too long, but luckily the developers included some extras to prolong your play. There is a cruel HARD mode, and the game has a list of achievements to complete.
Multiplayer completes the picture, as you can play 2 player local co-op or battle it out in The Hunting Grounds (single Joy-con supported). Co-op lets you run through the main game with 2 players. With increased enemy count the action gets even more arcade and chaotic, and it is great fun to play with a friend in tabletop mode during breaks or in between other games.
The Hunting Grounds lets you face off against each other, with the goal of scoring more points than your opponent. You cannot shoot each other, but you have to take down as many enemies (more kills means higher multiplier) and complete missions. All multiplayer action is local, as there is no online support.
Visually the game looks good enough, nothing too impressive but it is nice to see an indie title that is not pixel-art. Colours are bright and the game runs smoothly, both docked and undocked. What does deserve a mention is the excellent soundtrack by composer Simon Viklund, known from games such as Payday: The Heist.
For £13.49/€14,99 there are better games out on the Nintendo Switch, but Robonauts is not a bad game at all. It is a bit repetitive, but the pick-up-and-play style makes it good for short bursts. After completing I found myself booting up the game now and then just to see if I could complete one more achievement. And the great soundtrack helps as well!
N-Europe Final Verdict
Robonauts is a solid little arcade/platformer with a nice gravity mechanic to mix things up. The game is short and a bit repetitive, but multiplayer and achievements help to extend the durability. With a great soundtrack this makes for a fun eShop title. Maybe one to put on your eShop wishlist?
Nice gravity mechanic
Multiplayer with single Joy-con support
Main game is rather short
Not much variety in enemies
Can become a bit repetitive