Switch version tested
Review code provided
The Switch is nothing short of RPG games whatsoever – with the likes of Dark Souls: Remastered, Elder Scrolls V, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Octopath Traveler already existing on the console – yet that is no good reason to not be able to give Robothorium a go when you’re out and about.
Set in 2052, Robothorium is a game exploring a storyline set on the brink of civil war between mankind and robots. Humans created robots long ago, yet robots had become so developed that they got to know that they were being used poorly by humans. After protesting for their rights and having no success, it’s your duty to accompany these robots – under S.A.I.A. – in their freedom.
The opening really sets the scene. You get a clear idea of what’s going on and what you’ll be fighting for. The game then begins properly with you meeting a fellow agent, before selecting a group of three robots who will begin the missions with you, which will eventually grow to be four, and then five. This is the first choice that must be made – whether you choose a robot based on four categories and once you have chosen, that’s it. A quick introduction ensues, which proves to be rather helpful with the variety of things that are going on, before you go on to complete the first mission in the game. As expected, it’s relatively simple; a small base with not much inside. Obviously, the difficulty progresses as the game goes on.
You’ll gradually come across groups of tougher and more skilled enemies. The slow progression is nice. Whilst I’m on the topic of enemies, it’d be good to talk about the combat system; which in this case is a classic RPG turn-based fight. Overall, I’d say it’s decent. You have a variety of different moves to make, ranging from the classic ones of those which heal a fellow robot – or protect them – right down to those which deal the most damage on your opponent. There are four different moves you can choose from in each of the turns, and each one appears to be taken wisely. However, the issue that I find, as someone who hardly ever plays RPG’s, is that the game doesn’t tell you which moves are best to use. There is also an awful lot of information to take in – half of which doesn’t make any sense at all – which makes the tactics side of the game extremely confusing. The combat is certainly one of the least enjoyable things about this game and, annoyingly, if it made sense, I’m pretty confident that it would be an awful lot more enjoyable. The issue is, is that you seem to be able to make any move whatsoever and it works; with you winning the fight. The turn-based combat system in Robothorium is, to put it simply, just too hard to understand at the beginning and is a disappointment.
To the polar opposite of the disappointment encountered with the combat is the storyline, playability and exploration. I explained a little earlier about the storyline introduction, yet as the game progresses through the missions, it becomes a lot more intriguing. By Level 2, you begin to get a grip of what is going on. Helping you out in your mission are individual companions from different organisations assisting the revolution. Each choice you make will affect your ‘Reputation’ level with each organisation. For example, in Level 2, the Humanobots are aiding you alongside the Supremachine group. Each decision you make in regards to other devices affects your reputation (basically friendship) level with the group. I selected to spare two engineers working for the enemy at the end of this stage – which boosted my relationship with the peaceful Humanobots, but damaged my reputation amongst the brutal Supremachine; who would have preferred me to kill the two. This continues throughout the game and is a superb and thoroughly enjoyable mechanism. The exploration process is just as good – certain traps or fellow robots can be hacked into with a certain chance of being successful in what you do. If you take the risk of hacking certain enemy devices, you could be rewarded; but fail, and your robots will take some minimal damage. The exploration, storyline and playability are outstanding, in my opinion, and brilliantly executed.
Some small things also make Robothorium even better; and others not so much. The music is one example of something which is a joy to listen to, albeit repetitive. However, the confusion does mount. Certain areas – like the equipment section – are really confusing. And that’s irritating because it means you can’t necessarily play the game to the best of your ability. On the mission select screen, the same can be said about mechanics such as the Black Market. How to use it is a confusing principle. And this confusion means that Robothroum, sadly, can’t fully live up to its potential.
Robothorium, overall, is another impressive RPG on the Switch. Some of its elements are taken from elsewhere, but its storyline and mechanics are exclusive to it, and superbly executed. That being said; it is a confusing game – and whilst the very first tutorial is helpful, many more mechanics are hardly explained at all. This makes it less fun as you wonder if you are doing anything correctly. The same confusing principles – and dullness, for that matter – can be said about the combat system. However, I’m not naturally an RPG player so someone that loves those types of games may adore the system in this game. Whilst there are some poor elements to this sci-fi game, the reputation mechanics and the storyline are something to admire. A good title in its own right.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 31/01/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG, Strategy
Publisher: Goblinz Studio
Download link: eShop