Game: A Robot Named Fight
Developer: Matt Bitner Games
Our 1st Visit to a Distant World…
Back in the late 1980’s: gamers played as Samus Aran in the original Metroid on Nintendo (1986) or Super Metroid on the SNES 8 years later. Metroid broke the mold with its side-scrolling, weapons based adventure, filled with secrets, upgrades, challenging boss battles, a classic storyline, AND the hero was female.
Personally, I remember playing those classics at home but it wasn’t until Metroid Fusion (2002) that I fell face-first into the franchise and began my obsession with purchasing other Gameboy Advance reissues of this classic series. The suits, weapons, and sci-fi concepts had me captivated.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been too many more of these classic Metroids developed with these same stylistic choices we all remember. But that hasn’t stopped others from trying their hand…
A Modern Approach to a Classic Genre
In recent years, “Metroidvania” games have seen an increase in development and release, reminding us of the action, exploration, and heart-pounding pressure of these classics. Reimaginings allow adults to reminisce about “the good days” and give a younger audience the chance to experience that same level of difficulty, visual, and audial excitement: nothing is better than a successful run.
The player welcomed to a polluted world, where mechanical gods have ascended, leaving the “lower order beings” to fend for themselves on a desolate wasteland. Their mission is to make the best of what they have and cultivate the world abandoned. Unfortunately for those left behind, a forgotten enemy lies amidst the stars: the Megabeast, a pulsating moon-sized orb of flesh, eyes, mouths, and reproductive organs (an important detail).
You take the role of a single robot (presumably named Fight) to battle this menace and its unstoppable plague of children spawns. Explore procedurally-generated labyrinths (over 4 billion combinations total – with a B) to uncover randomized power-ups and artifacts, find secrets, and blast meaty creatures in this deliciously gory presentation of a genre lovingly remembered.
A Robot Named Fight includes a number of notable features:
- Prove your worth with true permadeath (you’ll die a fair amount)
- Challenge 60 menacing enemies solo or with a friend via local co-op
- Adapt to a different item set every run with more than 80 unique items total
- Complete achievements to unlock new content
- Play using your favorite controller
Visuals & Design
Any player who enjoys Metroidvania games are welcomed by this familiar presentation: as it’s reminiscent of metroid, it’s very easy to jump right into the game and feel at home. Colorful backgrounds with parallax are lively and active: genuinely a great visual experience.
The changing runs enable some upgrades to be collected at different times, forcing the player to come up with modified play-styles if not received in a familiar (or assumed) order. The monster sprites designs are a mix between original classics like Metroid and modern games like Terraria. Each monster is creatively designed to be frightening; the developers must have some interesting nightmares…
As the first boss goes down without much of a fight, the unlockable upgrade now gets “unearthed” for future playthroughs, allowing the player to discover the ability without having to repeat the same boss battle every time. There is no guarantee that each boss will be encountered in the same order on each playthrough, especially considering the 4,000,000,000 combinations possible.
In some moments, the music is fast-paced and chiptune: providing a retro ambience that is immediately pleasing to the ears. In more tense moments, the music changes and becomes reminiscent of Castlevania with an organ’s melancholy riff being accompanied by a synth-y bass and other elements. The soundtrack is extremely satisfying and is a musical love-note to retro games.
Contemporary sound design is coupled with the retro styled visuals and soundtrack, creating a sense of morbid curiosity. The meaty squish sounds of certain environments and grotesque enemies remind us we are playing a game for the modern age, in a nostalgic package.
These were sounds we imagined playing retro consoles, but during a time when sound cards could only handle 4 simultaneous tones at a time. A Robot Named Fight delivers on every front: visually and audibly.
Gameplay & Impression
The main menu gives you a silhouette of the Megabeast, the game opens and your robot is taking its first steps, as though it had previously malfunctioned or is not in the best of shapes. Routes are hidden among blocks that need to be shot in order to be noticed, player exploration is not only advised: it is required Since the game design will change with each playthrough, this level of experimentation is likely to be your focus.
My only criticism of the game is the lack of save stations coupled with the randomly generated map. It provides an unnecessary stack of difficulty against the player when power-ups are kept away from the player with no reliable method for procuring them.
- The obvious response to this is “get gud” but it does pull me out of the experience. Other than this, the game is solid in overall feel. Controls can be bound to a keyboard or controller, easily changed within the settings menu.
Bosses are to be encountered at random, with only a “GET READY!” text serving as your moment to analyze the enemy and the enclosure you’ll fight them in. In my eyes, a perfect amount of time to break down your first move against a new boss, especially on the first play-through, this is an appreciated detail.
A Robot Named Fight is a great contender for the best Metroidvania game developed this year, and in my mind, in recent memory. As a gamer who still emulates Metroid Fusion, it was more than a pleasure to play a game that had even more to offer!
For the price of a large pizza, you can’t go wrong with this purchase. It deserves a spot on your Steam list, no doubt. Besides, it’s not like that pizza has 4 billion combinations available, anyway.