Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
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One of the reasons truly great mobile action games are few and far between is that nobody likes struggling with touch-screen controls. Game history (it exists!) has proven time and time again that we like to punch down buttons and slide our thumbs across elevated cross-pads. Nevertheless, mobile action game developers persist in finding a happy medium.
Buddy Bot: Slayer of Sadness offers up an interesting solution to mobile gaming's controller woes. In this Mega Man-inspired platformer, the main character constantly shoots while moving from left to right, leaving the player responsible solely for jumping. It's not a perfect answer, but Buddy Bot is still a robot pal that's fun to be with.
Buddy Bot's creator is an eccentric doctor that may actually be doing great acts of evil in his attempts to do good (but don't say that to his face). He finds different reasons for Buddy Bot to jump and shoot his way through differently-themed levels, including a world filled with people sporting bad haircuts and another world filled with car pile-ups (but what's to be expected in a world that features boulevards with names like “Text While Driving?”).
In true Mega Man fashion, Buddy can switch between a series of secondary weapons. The muffin bazooka is especially useful as it spreads fire in three directions and finally gives nasty bran-and-carrot muffins a real purpose.
Thanks to Buddy Bot's auto-movement, there's little agonizing over missed jumps. Players always move at a nice warm pace, and unlike most running games that blow up the player's head if they trip over a rock, Buddy Bot merely stops when he runs into an obstacle. He can take several hits before dying, and there's even a mercy shield that grants him an extra hit as long as it's charged. In other words, there's lots of wiggle room for any control-based mistakes that persist, which is very welcome.
Ah, but Buddy Bot's clever control solution comes with a flaw: not being allowed to leisurely observe the surroundings makes it hard to determine where the foreground ends, and where the background begins. The game's 16-bit inspired graphics are fantastic, but all that detail is problematic in a world that's constantly in motion. The player should eventually get a feel for what's solid and what's illusion, but there's trial-and-error involved. Expect deaths.
Despite Buddy Bot's flawed visuals, it's still a fun platforming game with some solid blasting action and some weirdly memorable characters. Will the well-meaning doctor wise up to the error of his ways? It's worth sticking around long enough to find out.