Good Robot Preview (PC)
The Binding of Isaac. FTL: Faster Than Light. Crypt of the Necrodancer.
This is truly the age of the rogue-like. Games with non-linear progression, where a single death means you need to start all over again, are all the rage at the moment, and it’s pretty easy to see why. With short bursts of gameplay, addictive and rewarding mechanics and the constant idea of ‘just one more shot’, rogue-likes are taking over Steam and beyond.
But for every classic, like the ones listed above, there are many titles that don’t stack up. So, where does Good Robot rate amongst them?
Hitting the Steam store in April, Good Robot is a rogue-like with loads of charm. You take control of the titular robot in a post-apocalyptic landscape where robots roam the earth and there’s no human life to be found. Straight away you’re treated to some tongue-in-cheek humour with a vendor that sells Invulnerability Hats (the first one is free!) Once you pick your very first hat, it’s off in to the world you go. My first hat was an Ushanka, in case you were wondering.
You roam the world of Good Robot using either the WASD keys (with the mouse to aim and shoot) or a Twin-Stick Shooter setup on your preferred gaming remote. Both inputs work equally well, but I favoured to use a mouse and keyboard for the extra precision while aiming.
Not that precision is always required; the weapon variety you’ll encounter leads to several different combat strategies. You can equip your robot with precise lasers tools and guided rockets, or a minigun and area of effect pulse laser, for maximum spray-and-pray carnage. You can only have one primary weapon and one secondary weapon equipped at a time.
The yellow vending machine, which sells the hats I mentioned earlier, are only one of three such machines you’ll find in the various stages of Good Robot. The blue ones sell upgrades to your various stats, like movement speed, attack rate and shields, while the red vendors dispense weapons and repairs. There’s also a chance for enemies to drop weapons as you destroy them, and it can sting to spend thousands of your hard earned credits on a weapon only to have an enemy drop it later in the run.
The difficulty steadily ramps up as you play through each run, and as with any rogue-like, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience to steadily figure out what each enemy is capable of and steadily outwit them. You’ll realise that yellow robots tend to fire non-tracking rockets, while their red counterparts fire heat seekers. You’ll learn that bullet-based weapons, like machine guns and miniguns, excel at blowing rockets out of the air. You’ll learn the hard way that laser weapons don’t.
There’s at least one Boss stage in every level, and they really step up the action. The bosses are big robots with visible health bars, and they chase you down aggressively until you can blow them up. At the end of each stage you’ll encounter a vending machine and three doors, each colour coded (I think based on difficulty) to help you decide where to go. Ultimately, you want to find the boss for each level, murder it, and then move on. My longest run lasted about an hour, and I got to the last level but didn’t manage to clear it without meeting sweet, robotic death.
I literally only had one complaint with Good Robot; the game is too loud. Certain weapons (looking at you, Mr Minigun) drown out not only all of the noise from the game but also from other sources on your PC, from around your house and from the outside world. There could be a rock concert in my back garden and I’d never know it. I found that the volume changer in the options didn’t have a big enough effect on the sound effects in the game but of course, you can just turn it down in the volume mixer.
Good Robot comes out in a month. I’m gonna spend the next month playing more on this build, and I doubt I’ll find a single reason for you not to pick this up at launch. Good Robot is a title that’s all set to challenge FTL for its position as my top rogue like.