Thursday, December 27, 2012

Game Reviews: Super Mega Ultra Battle Robot

Super Mega Ultra Battle Robot is an odd little duck of a game.

Gameplay is a little bit like the Atlantis game I reviewed some time ago, with a robot's movement controlled by arrow keys while its aim is controlled with the mouse. Your weapons are pretty generic, and while you get new weapons and can swap some around, most of the first few you get are pretty much the best.

You also have a gigantic "battle blade" which you activate by pressing the space bar, and this causes your robot to draw a sword at least twice its own length, clumsily swing it forward, and then crash to the ground, damaging all enemies nearby for a large amount and destroying all enemy projectiles that it hits. It's really kind of hilarious to watch, but you need to use it judiciously because its recharge time is really, really long.

Fortunately, that's not all you have. You've also got a "time bubble" that slows down projectiles that enter it, to the point where they're nearly not moving at all. (It's the rather big green circle.) This makes the early levels where enemies are few and far between and only have slow-firing weapons a cakewalk, because you need to reach "bullet hell" levels of enemy fire before there's any chance that stuff will actually hit you, and even then, most of the time your only challenges will be the bosses. (Heck, while I was taking the screenshot, I saw a projectile head for the robot, and then I went and did other stuff for about three minutes before I checked back in... and when I came back, if I'd been just a tiny bit faster than I had been, I'd have been able to keep the robot from getting hit.)

The first time I played the game, this was comically exaggerated, because for some reason the game was slowed to a crawl (and it's not really that fast to begin with) and I didn't even have to pay attention to play it effectively... though the bosses are still difficult because of the sheer coverage of their firing patterns.

Therein lies the game's problem: It's... kinda boring. While there's good enemy variety and whatnot, most of the weapons are fairly boring, even the sword once the humor value has worn off, and there's little incentive to choose weapons in an effort to optimize for specific situations as the game seems to want you to. The gameplay is slow and fairly easy much of the time, with many basic enemies presenting no threat but still taking a long time to kill, and fast and hard every now and again. It just... never really clicks, is all.

It's got some interesting ideas, the main one being the time bubble. While it's probably a bit too powerful in this game, it does lead to some fun and interesting gameplay, and I'd like to see it used in a game that's a little better thought out than this one.

So... Yeah, try this game out to see the silly sword and the time bubble, but don't count on it holding your attention.

-Signing off.

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