A Robot Named Fight Review- Domo Arigato Metroid Roboto
Developed by Matt Bitner
Published by Morningstar Games Studio
Available on Steam and Nintendo Switch
Not every game needs to reinvent gaming. Consciously or not, there is an expectation that every new game needs to be innovative in some way, and that is frankly ridiculous. If a game is good, the elements that make it good should absolutely be tried again by others. That brings us to today’s review. A Robot Named Fight is an unabashed clone of Super Metroid, and I say that in a good way. All the best elements taken and given a new formula makes for an incredible game that is both nostalgic and fresh.
As you can probably guess, in A Robot Named Fight, you play as A Robot Named Fight. The game takes place in a post-humanity Earth, populated by robots. Machine gods, having created this civilization, ascended to the stars, leaving the lesser bots behind to continue their work. But with Earth unprotected, a monstrous creature from the cosmos arrives. The Mega Beast is a supermass of undulating flesh, a planet of tentacles, jaws, and penises, giving birth to countless smaller beasts to invade. They’re kind of like the Tyranid. The world is quickly annihilated, and you, A lone Robot, who happens to be Named Fight, must traverse the subterranean areas and “become fight enough” to defeat the organic horde. Not a whole lot of narrative to be found, but we both know that you’re not here for the story.
A Robot Named Fight is about as close to being a rip off of Super Metroid as you can get before Nintendo starts a lawsuit. This is seen not only in the very similar aesthetic style, but especially in its gameplay. Floaty platforming, shooting enemies with a tiny energy bolt gun, finding weapons and upgrades; there’s even an item that functionally turns you into a morph ball (in this case, a morph ball with spider legs). Super Metroid fans will still get a nostalgic jolt of serotonin, and those who haven’t played a Metroid before will still enjoy it.
The enemies in A Robot Named Fight are all spawn of the Megabeast. Most are about what you’d expect from a planet sized mass of flesh; tiny masses of flesh. A lot of jumping balls with teeth or anuses spitting poison or flying polyps that pursue you. On their own none are particularly difficult, but in a group they can be difficult. The main thing to keep in mind is that they will respawn whenever you re-enter a room. This means that you can farm them for health drops.
Then there are the bosses. To progress to a new area, A Robot Named Fight has you fight a boss. A lot of these in the early game are pretty basic. A grotesque floating orb that breaks into smaller orbs as the fight goes on. A spindly three headed quadruped that spits a laser of vomit. And so on. These ones have fairly simple moves, and you’ll learn how to beat them with ease. However, later in the game the bosses get more difficult, both to fight and to describe in a review. A multi headed wall of flesh, or a large fly that can teleport(?). These are not only more difficult to fight, but since they can take upwards of an hour to reach, learning their moves can be an even greater ordeal.
The big difference is that A Robot Named Fight is not a metroidvania, but rather a metroid-roguelite. A Robot Named Fight is procedurally generated. In a similar manner of Rogue Legacy, the enemies, items, and layout are, to some extent, random every time. Of course, you’ll see the same patterns emerge. Most obviously the map, in which you explore the same areas in the same order. Start with the surface, then go to some caves, then a factory, and so on. But the layout of these environments are still random, and for me they did not get repetitive.
The other randomly generated aspect of A Robot Named Fight is the upgrades. There are two types of equipment, stat upgrades and equipment. The former is fairly obvious. Health, energy, damage, shot speed, stuff of that nature. These are occasionally found in treasure rooms, but the majority are found in secrets marked on the map. A Robot Named Fight is generous enough to tell you the general area of these upgrades, but you have to shoot the right camouflaged block in order to find it—and often they are very well camouflaged.
Then there’s the equipment. A Robot Named Fight has a few types of equipment. Some are explicitly for allowing access to previously closed off areas, such as a lantern for exploring the dark zones. Then there are weapons, which are also functionally tools because they are used to open doors. A flamethrower burns fleshy doors, an electricity gun opens an electricity door, etc. And then there are some miscellaneous things, objects that do not allow you to access new areas, but modify gameplay a bit. This is stuff like a buzz saw that orbits around you to an artifact that turns all enemy drops into health.
Between these three categories, A Robot Named Fight has a style of upgrades similar to The Binding of Isaac, and similar issues to boot. The downside of these procedurally generated games is that you might get a run without enough good upgrades, and wind up fighting a boss without enough power to win. But on the flip side, you might get some items early on that create some great synergy. A bolt upgrade that shoots three at once and they grow as they get larger? Sign me up. This item system adds a lot of replayability, and though you may lose them all upon death, there are unlockable weapons that appear in future runs.
There is one other method of getting items and stat buffs, and this part was a little unusual. Enemies in A Robot Named Fight have a chance to drop bits of scrap that function as a currency. There are occasionally some shopkeepers around, that can provide some various upgrades. But there’s also shrines. These are rooms that have the massive visage of one of the machine gods, of which you may give an offering. The problem is, these gods are picky. Each has a favorite number, and will get mad if you fuck up. If a god loves five and you offer them a number of scrap not divisible by five, they might just debuff your stats or randomize your items. I did not have the patience to figure out which machine god wanted which, and eventually would just consult wikipedia. I may be gaming, but I don’t have time for games.
I don’t have a whole lot more to add. A Robot Named Fight named fight is certainly not perfect, but it definitely achieves its goal of being a great Metroid homage. If you liked that style of classic Nintendo game, you will enjoy this. And if you like the roguelite style of games like Binding of Isaac, you will also enjoy this. For ~$13 I say it’s well worth it.
A Robot Named Fight might not be very original, but that is what makes it so great
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