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Robobeat

Robobeat

Marcus has been dancing around and handing out vicious death to the beat of thumping music in Simon Fredholm's madly rocking genre mix of games.

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Digital parkour, shooting and wild, outrageous noise. That's Robobeat in a nutshell. A genre mix where wonderfully challenging shooting is combined with rhythm and fast movements. In a way, you could say that the developers have taken equal parts Crypt of the Necrodancer and Neon White, put them in the mixer and spiced them up with an arbitrary dose of retrofuturism. It's as slick as it is stylish, with a distinct kinship to both the fps and rhythm genres.

You play as bounty hunter Ace, whose goal is to catch the bounty hunter Frazzer hiding in a maze filled from top to bottom with all sorts of tricky traps, challenges and robots that all do their utmost to prevent your progress. Hardly a story that will engage or win any awards for its literary brilliance, but in all honesty who cares? Robobeat is all about rocking out to the music and filling bad guys with lead, everything else is secondary.

Because here, it's all about the music, and the amount of spectacular manoeuvres you, as a player, manage to pull off as you pepper blocky, colourful enemies with your available guns. It's a tight, entertaining and occasionally quite challenging gameplay loop that offers great flexibility in how you approach each situation. Not least when you start unlocking more abilities and upgrades in the game's hub world.

Robobeat

Everything is quickly and neatly integrated, with minimal time spent in sleepy menus and jumping between the action-packed levels and hubs is quick. Something that also encourages you to try out different sets and combinations of weapons and abilities. Of which there are many. On top of that, you can also upgrade all the guns with abilities that do everything from increasing the possibility of critical damage to making it easier when aiming with a form of assistance from the aimbot.

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The variety is huge and as if that wasn't enough, you have your many abilities to consider too, making your journey through Frazer's nightclub-like maze a pure delight. Robobeat also consistently encourages you to vary your attacks, giving you more points to spend on new upgrades, abilities and other goodies. That way, failure rarely feels like a defeat, but a door to new opportunities.

Sounds familiar. Not particularly strange since Robobeat, in addition to everything I mentioned above, also uses a roguelite-like game system where the levels and challenges you face are procedurally generated for each level, which often also ends with some kind of boss battle. Unlike other roguelites, however, the sense of progress is not always quite as tangible, and especially initially it is easy to experience Robobeat as limited.

Robobeat

How, you may ask? Well, unlike, say, Rogue Legacy or other more traditional games in the genre, you acquire new abilities and weapons by finding blueprints in the game world, which you then put into your workstation in the hub and buy with the game's currency "blips". This also has the effect that the entry threshold to really appreciate Robobeat is considerably higher than other similar titles, and the game doesn't really start to open up until a number of hours in.

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In short, you may find yourself in a situation where you've managed to collect quite a bit of currency, but simply haven't gotten far enough into the game to have found enough upgrades to spend it on. Which, to be honest, is a bit of a miss from the developers and is a design decision I neither understand nor agree with. But once you get over that threshold, that initial two or three hours, a whole other world opens up and that's when Robobeat really blossoms.

Last but not least. The music. Because what would a rhythm-based game be without an arsenal of real bangers, of which Robobeat has many. Because if there's one thing that will grab you right away, it's its incredibly rocking, catchy compositions that make it almost impossible to sit still in front of the computer. It's pulsating, fast-paced EDM at its best with a good variety of BPM and genre mixes that constantly surprise. In the unlikely event that you don't like what the game has to offer musically, you can also import your own music. In short, if you want to bang shots to the beat of the Vikings and Blue Hawaii, that's fine.

Robobeat

Ultimately, though, the question is, is Robobeat worth your time? Yes, but with a caveat. It's a sprawling package at the moment and the noticeably sluggish start means that the game isn't necessarily easy to get into, and an appreciation of electronic music and the rhythm genre is a prerequisite. But if those factors aren't a problem for you, Robobeat is an outright euphoric experience, especially a number of hours in with many weapons and abilities unlocked. Because there and then, as you bounce around the rooms, delivering viciously quick deaths to the beat of the lush soundtrack, the outside world disappears completely. There and then, Robobeat is sheer brilliance.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Incredible soundtrack, nice gameplay loop, lovely challenge, cool design
-
Unforgiving difficulty level at times, somewhat unpolished
overall score
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Robobeat

REVIEW. Written by Marcus Persson

Marcus has been dancing around and handing out vicious death to the beat of thumping music in Simon Fredholm's madly rocking genre mix of games.



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