When the review code for Roboblitz popped up in my inbox, I didn't quite know what to expect. It's a budget game on the PC—you can buy it for $15 direct from the developer—and it'll also be making an appearance on the 360 via the Marketplace. Since it was released before Gears of War, it was also technically the first Unreal Engine 3 game to arrive. It's also… cute. I know that's the kiss of death for many people, but it's a very cute game. You play Blitz, a little robot on a rolling ball that has to get his space station's weapons up and running before the evil MegaNOED wipes everyone out. It really doesn't matter, the story is beside the point. You're a cute robot that has to fix things, you have an amusing robot wired to the wall in the basement, and that's the game.
Taking a cue from Half Life 2, this game is primarily physics based. You'll get a weapon that allows you to attach two items using an energy beam, as well as a gun that causes items to hover. Even before you get these weapons and upgrades though, you'll be able to pick up and grab a lot of things in your arms, and you haven't lived until you pick up a giant steel disc and use it as shield against the invading robots. Each level consists of puzzles that allow you to power up parts of the station, and the fun lies in figuring out how to do these things. In one of the early missions you have to grind up metal to make a giant bullet for your space station's gun, and you can throw barrels into the grinder. If that doesn't do it for you, just shoot the bad guys that are flying above you until they fall into the grinder. Awesome.
The puzzles are the draw here, and to be honest I sometimes wished they did away with the bad robots completely. It adds a little bit of action, but the level design and puzzles are strong enough not to need it, and trying to solve a laser puzzle (by rotating a series of mirrors, devilish) while also dodging missiles is kind of a pain in the ass. A lot of times I simply wanted to focus on the puzzles and the physics and just make the bad guys go away. It wouldn't have been a bad idea, and certainly would have made the game slightly more calm and relaxing. Right now it's fast-paced, and I'm not sure it needs to be.
Oh well, as you're firing and dodging enemy bullets, take a second to enjoy the graphics. They're phenomenal; not for a $15 game, but for a full retail-priced release. This is a great-looking title. I also enjoyed the control scheme; there's a great sense of weight and inertia to the movement.
You can beat it pretty quickly if you put your mind to it, but you're going to have a blast while you do. For $15 it's hard to say no to, and I can't wait to see how it looks and plays once it's released as an Arcade title on the 360. There is simply not a lot to complain about, the puzzles are all very clever and you get a good feeling when you figure out a tricky one. This is certainly a different title, and I love finding games like this; it's very refreshing after playing through WWII shooter 2,394.
System: PC and 360 (360 availability coming soon)
Developer: Naked Sky Entertainment
ESRB Rating: Everyone
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