Robox by developer Dreambox is a unique side-scroller that resembles many titles from the early 1990’s. As a probe named Robox, you must run, jump and shoot your way through a hostile alien world in search of other lost probes.
As the game starts, Robox is released from a launch pad above the alien planet and plummets to the planet’s surface. This sequence can be controlled by the player, and regardless of how many times you crash into something during this sequence, Robox will remain unharmed. The descent sequence is the only segment that truly utilizes the Wii’s wireless remote technology. Once this sequence ends, the Wii remote is held in a vertical position like a standard joypad.
Once the descent sequence has ended, Robox will be left standing on the planet’s surface with no abilities. The first few minutes will be spent figuring out what needs to be done next. Eventually, it is discovered that nanobots are needed to upgrade Robox’s internal circuitry to activate certain abilities.
Each nanobot has its own unique skill. The larger nanobots are capable of breaking through barriers, while the smaller ones can jump much higher, allowing them to reach platforms essential to completing puzzles. This feature can also repair your probe (more on this in a minute) and can be accessed anytime by pressing the – button on the Wii remote.
Like the main game, the nanobot sequence follows the same 2D platform elements. Once the nanobots reach their location, the ability is activated and you are returned to the main game.
The platforming experience can be a bit frustrating at times. Robox does an admirable job of capturing the retro feel of older titles, but some elements didn’t make the transition too well. Since Robox can only shoot forward, it can be very difficult to attack airborne enemies, especially Wasps. If your vantage point isn’t good enough, the chance of hitting a wasp is slim (even while jumping). Expect to die often; luckily save points are located throughout the world.
The game is not limited to platforming elements. There are 60 pieces of amber rock and 20 gears to collect on the planet’s surface. The amber rock, for example, can be used to repair damaged circuitry. This gives the player incentive to explore the vast levels, upgrade his probe further, and even search for hidden areas.
While some platform games are pretty straight-forward in their formula, Robox will have you searching every section of a level looking for a puzzle trigger. In an earlier level, a large mushroom sits at the bottom of a cliff. To activate this mushroom as an elevator, you must climb to the top of a tree to destroy a pillar of rocks. Later levels have you shining lights to uncover hidden platforms. There is no shortage of puzzles, and the game constantly challenges.
As a game, Robox is a daunting experience. Since your health bar is limited to three hits, surviving in the hostile alien environment requires patience and hours of practice. For newcomers unfamiliar with platform gaming from the 1990’s, Robox will be a difficult experience with unforgiving play mechanics.
Hardcore platform gamers on the other hand will find themselves enjoying the experience. With beautiful hand drawn 2D graphics, Robox by Dreambox – while not for everyone – delivers a stiff challenge for 1000 Wiipoints. If you’re looking for something different to add to your Wii game library, Dreambox has the game for you. Just remember to repair often and avoid those wasps.
Platform: Nintendo Wii (Available on WiiWare)
Price: $10US (1000 Wiipoints)
|The 2D graphics are some of the best on Wii.|
|The same song loops endlessly; some variety would have been nice.|
|Solid controls and endless puzzles round out a very difficult platform experience.|
|Robox is not for everyone. If you like your platform games on the difficult side, look no further.|