Review – Frobot (WiiWare)
A WiiNintendo game review by hattrick.
Game – Frobot
Version – WiiWare (also available for PC/Mac)
Obtained – Review copy from Fugazo
Frobot is one powerful afro-loving robot. In fact, he has a full arsenal at his disposal. That is, until his five girlfriends (yes, you heard me…five) are kidnapped. Thus begins Fugazo’s game of Frobot. This WiiWare title combines action and puzzle elements for a headache of a good time. Drawing from games like the Legend of Zelda (NES) and Tanks (Wii Play), Frobot will have you traversing five worlds in order to rescue your girlfriends and gain back your powers.
Visuals & Sound
The menu system is very simple and easy to navigate. You will not spend much time here, so keeping this simple was probably a wise choice. Frobot looks very similar to the dungeon from the original Zelda games. It takes an almost overhead (isometric) view of each world. Each screen contains one room set up in a square. Move through a door on the top, bottom, left or right, and the next room/screen loads instantly. In fact, because of the square room setup, the game runs at 4:3 ratio. If you have a 16:9 TV, you will find black bars on the right and left of the play screen (similar to Wario Land: Shake It for Wii). It is unfortunate the game does not fill the entire screen, but it works for the game design. Let’s be honest. The visuals are nothing to write home about. The graphics could look much better for a WiiWare game. However, it does get the job done. There were only a few occasions where I wished I could see things a bit more clearly.
When you think of afros, you think of disco, and that is exactly where this game goes with the soundtrack. The tunes are fun, synthesized beats that fit right along with the theme. The only downside is that each world shares the same song for all five of its levels. So, you might get tired of hearing the same song over and over, especially if you get hung up on a specific level for a long time. There are plenty of explosions, bleeps, and bloops along the way as well. Every weapon, enemy, and obstacle fits in with its own sound. Even when you fall off a stage into an abyss, it sounds as though you think it would – long pause and boom. The good thing is that it never feels like a sound is out of place.
Gameplay & Controls
In a puzzle-focused game like this, gameplay and controls are where it really matters! The basic idea, as stated earlier, is to move from room to room, with the eventual goal of saving your kidnapped girlfriend. In turn, you will gain back some of your power. Each room has a series of puzzles to complete before moving on. Some may have you defeating all the enemies, while others will have you holding down specific pressure plates at the same time or shooting targets while riding moving platforms. Complete that room’s puzzle and move on to the next. At the end of each world’s set of levels, you face the boss fights, which have their own puzzle. Some are more action oriented, and others are more timing-based.
Frobot uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk configuration for controls. You will move your character with the analog stick while aiming with the Wii Remote pointer. The B button fires your primary weapon, the A button fires your secondary weapon (cycle through with the control pad), the C button controls your dash, and the Z button grabs items like blocks. In order to complete the higher levels, you must master these controls. The good thing is that they feel very natural. After about 20 minutes or so into the first few stages, you will feel at home controlling Frobot.
It would be a great disregard if multiplayer were not mentioned. In fact, this is where the game really shines. While the single-player aspect is tricky and challenges your mind, the part of this game that you will continue coming back to long after completing the campaign is multiplayer. Set your number of lives, and select from one of ten single-screen maps. Then, players assume control over their own Frobot in a battle to the death. All powers are available, regardless if you have not unlocked them in the single-player mode. If you were a big fan of Tanks on Wii Play, then you will love this mode. The only regrettable side is that this mode is only available locally, meaning that there is no online option.
Concluding Overall Impressions
If you are in the mood for a challenging puzzle adventure straight out of the 70’s disco era, then look no further than Frobot. Highlights definitely include the brain teasing single-player campaign, spot-on controls, and the multiplayer component. Setbacks are the less than amazing graphics, repetitive music, and lack of online gameplay. In spite of this, the pros far outweigh the cons. Get your virtual hands on this WiiWare title today.
FINAL SCORE – 4 out of 5
Frobot has some negative aspects, but it will certainly keep you coming back for more. Between the single-player and multiplayer, it is almost like two great games in one.