Version Reviewed: 2
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Take one look at its pea soup palette and it’s obvious that Super Scrapped Robot is an homage to the portable gaming system that started it all: the Game Boy. Fortunately it remembered to include good gameplay with its throwback style.
Players control a bipolar robot sorrowfully trying to reclaim his lost hat. Not since “Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?” has Microsoft Sam been used so soulfully. Unsurprisingly, the muted green graphics are the game’s most distinctive feature, and when paired with this plot they create an atmosphere both whimsical and oppressive - not just nostalgic. And with such a minimal presentation, little touches like changing weather go a long way.
The game describes itself as a dual-stick shooter, and clearing out foes is what players will mostly be doing. But while the controls are super smooth, that’s actually the most perfunctory and least interesting part of the game. Instead, players will have much more fun exploring the nooks and crannies of the randomly-generated environments like a roguelike Link’s Awakening. Along the way they’ll push blocks, vanquish evil spirits, rescue tortured animals, and help monsters find their way home. They’ll even stumble across a few minigames like tapping the screen as fast as possible to drink a bunch of beers. Taking out the occasional boss also grants a new hat with a new gun with new strengths and weaknesses. For example you can fire rapidly with the machine gun, but suffer a longer cooldown.
Still, Super Scrapped Robot's roguelike quirks may not be for everyone. Players don’t lose progress when they quit, but they will when they die. This encourages careful, methodical play that can border on tedious. Players must patiently scour the map for enemies and fight to stay alive because if they don’t it’s back to pixel one.
As long as players accept the reality of the genre upfront, Super Scrapped Robot is a meticulous retro recreation and legitimately great adventure all in one.