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Review: Roboblitz

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: E10 - Everyone (Ages 10 and up)
My Rating: Ages 6 and up
Genre: 3D Platformer
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2006
Review Published On: October 11th, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Steam

Save System:

This game gives you three save slots to chose from, and it helpfully saves your game whenever you start a level or return to the main hub after completing that level.

If you need to pause the game, press ESC to bring up the pause menu.

Summary of
Major Issues:

Robots fight each other in this game, and all of them seem to somewhat sentient. This means that despite them being "just robots", they are intelligent beings, and that makes destroying them morally dubious.

Screenshots

[view screenshot]
Encountering an enemy

[view screenshot]
NOADs are bad news

[view screenshot]
I must admit the game looks nice



Game Overview

Roboblitz was one of my first Steam purchases, and naturally enough, it was one of the games that introduced me to the new, post-DOS era of computer gaming. This made it seem like an impressive title, but now that I've played a large number of excellent (and not so excellent) games by major and minor publishers, the cracks are showing.

You control Blitz, a multipurpose robot designed to manage and repair a massive railgun station in Earth orbit. Railguns like these provide defense from spacefaring pirates. Speaking of which, one such pirate ship just decided to attack your station.

Normally, you'd just fire on them and call it a day, but when they ambushed you they managed to disable each of the six main systems that run the base. Blitz now needs to repair the damage, chase out any NOADs that are still causing trouble, and fire the cannon.

Each system is comprised of three challenges. These resemble the missions seen in older educational games, as they consist of things like aligning mirrors to deflect lasers, balancing weights on scales, positioning conveyors, and so on. The third challenge is always a boss battle against an enemy NOAD.

Overall, you can see that the developers tried to make a decent game. The main problem stems from the fact that they were a little over ambitious. There are many types of challenges, but few challenges per type. The boss battles are very unbalanced, sometimes bordering on impossible. Then there's the massive problem with the physics engine, and if you can't fix that yourself, the game is unbeatable. Ultimately, I can't really recommend this one. There are too many games in the same price range that are far, far higher quality.

Points of Interest

Puzzles to solve
Each of the six stations require Blitz to put things right. Most of this just involves solving some simple puzzles, such as redirecting light beams so they hit the right target. In total, there are 12 puzzles to solve and 7 bosses to defeat.
Upgrades provide new abilities
You start with just Blitz's normal arms and his EMP lasers. This is enough for some of the easier levels, but you'll want to upgrade to something more later on. Fortunately, there are a number of upgrades available. These can provide you with better weapons, faster movement speed, higher jumps, and better armor. The effectiveness of the latter is overstated, unfortunately.
Bad physics issues
A real problem with this game is that all of the boss battles depend on the game's physics acting a certain way. Put simply, on modern systems the physics are badly broken, preventing things from working as they should and making most of the boss fights completely impossible. You can fix this by using a utility to force the game to 60 FPS, but not everyone will know how to do this.
Unfair difficulty
Regardless of how much armor Blitz wears, he effectively has only one hit point. Most of the enemies can kill him in the blink of an eye, and the boss fights only make it worse because the NOADs can fire an insanely high number of shots per second. The NOADs are also puzzle bosses, meaning that you can't even stun them without interacting with the level correctly first.

The final boss is the worst of the lot, as it features multiple phases with no checkpoints. You'll need to survive all of its attacks and those of any NOADs it summons as you perform every step of the battle perfectly or you'll need to restart the fight from the beginning.

Concerns and Issues

Robots killing robots
Blitz will be fighting a lot of robots throughout the game, and most of them will need to be destroyed before you can safely continue. From a moral standpoint, this is problematic as there's no clear indication as to whether the drones are sentient and aware or not. Even creepier, in one section of the game, you'll need to do some recycling, and the enemy robots work just fine as any other raw material.

The NOADs are a different story, as they act with a clear level of intelligence before you blow them apart.