Building and owning a robot seems to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s pretty awesome to have a robot doing whatever you ask it to. But on the other hand, there’s always the risk that your robot will turn on you and lead a full on “Robopaclypse” against the world.
The first thing you’ll notice about Retrobot (Out Now, $0.99) is the size of the file. It’s pretty big and that might turn some people off right off the bat. But for those that do decide to download it, Retrobot tells the story of a man-child who builds a robot to play video games with. He gets kidnapped and you — playing as the titular Retrobot — set off to rescue him with the aid of your monkey companion.
The story is sweet and there are all kinds of video game references littered throughout, but it ultimately didn’t keep my attention, as it never really reaches the epic scale that it’s aiming for. Some of the lines delivered by the characters are hilarious and it’s a lot more adult than I thought would be, while the comic book art style works perfectly with the tone of the narrative. The game looks crisp, vibrant and it’s a real treat for the eyes as everything on the screen “pops”.
Gameplay has you scrolling across the screen firing at enemies that appear on all sides of the screen. The controls are situated at the bottom of the touchscreen, which can become problematic. The slider on the right side controls Retrobot’s movement, and the semi-circle on the left is used for firing your weapon. This becomes an issue because it limited my horizontal aim slightly by being so close to the bottom of the screen and the slider just isn’t big enough. As mentioned earlier, enemy bots come at you from all angles, which keeps the action coming and a pretty entertaining boss battle awaits you at the end of the levels.
Luckily there are some power-ups like shields, EMPs and a flamethrower for you to find. One little detail that I absolutely adored about the game was that the background zooms out as you move forward. Usually side-scrollers leave the background static as you progress but in Retrobot it truly feels as if you’re heading somewhere.
There are 9 levels in all and when you’re done with the main campaign, both a Challenge and Boss Mode await you, which may prolong your time with the game. Of course, there are Game Center achievements for players that obsesses over such things. An absolutely huge issue I had with the game was a bug that would make me replay levels I had already finished after saving and closing the app. Now, it’s entirely possible that this bug has been fixed as of this writing, but if not it’s somewhat of a game breaker for me. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to replay levels over again.
iFanzine Verdict: Retrobot sports a funny and sweet story but it didn’t hook me in the end. The game is visually magnificent, but the unfortunate control placement creates some frustration and file size is shockingly large. Boss fights are fun and there’s a monkey but a save bug really took me out of this one. Overall, Retrobot is a good game to pick up and play for that price, but it won’t stay on your device after you’re done with it.