Blowing some cash on the eshop
It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had some private time together, so let’s really go hog wild; let’s review two games.
While both games I’m going to talk about are pretty different, there’s something they have in common that is absolutely glorious: if you’re time poor, like me, they’re both completable over a couple of sessions. They’re also on Switch, but of course they are.
Up first, we’re going to look at Gato Roboto, a brand-new Metroid inspired game from doinksoft. If you’ve been living in isolation on a tiny Scottish island and aren’t aware of Gato Roboto but have decided upon returning to civilisation to check out our website, in this game you play as a cat in a mech suit whose mission is to help save your owner and get off a hostile alien planet.
Like the bonny Metroid games of yore, as you play you unlock different abilities for your mech suit, like rockets, double jumps and the now ubiquitous phase slide.
As you explore the planet, you’ll make use of all your abilities, fighting some pretty fun looking enemies and some cracking bosses. Wandering about can help net you extra health and wee cassette tapes that can change the colour scheme of the game.
Themes like GameBoy, Virtuaboy etc are all there, but I quite enjoyed the vanilla look because I’m a big boring bastard. As a wee phase aside, finding the tapes can also unlock some powerups and although I only got the first one, it comes in handy later in the game.
Now in a lot of these Metroidvania style games, there’s not always much that deviates from what you’d expect, but Gato Roboto has a neat little trick up its…paws? You see, being in a mech suit is great, but how can you get it to fit through a wee doorway or float around in water? Well, you can’t, and you need to get over that. As a wee cat however, you can do those things, so you’ll need to get out of the suit and get prowling. While out of the suit you can climb walls, jump a little higher and get around in water, but being pretty much a normal cat means that you’re vulnerable; one hit and you’re dead.
The sections where you’re out of the suit are exciting and challenging, making you rely more on having a wee bit of skill rather than just bumbling through each area. As a bumbler, these sections took a while, but they were never unfair, which is important.
You’ll probably be able to gun and jump your way through Gato Roboto in about four or five hours meaning it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome or risk too much repetition. For a game that costs roughly the same as a baguette from an upmarket coffee shop, you really can’t ask for more.
Moving on, in super slow motion, we have My Friend Pedro, the latest game from DeadToast Entertainment, and honestly, this game has been on my radar for quite a long time. What started as a Matrix-inspired Flash game has evolved into one of the coolest looking shooting games since John Woo’s Stranglehold.
My Friend Pedro has you playing as a nameless flurry of bullets and acrobatics whose only friend appears to be Pedro, a talking banana. That’s pretty much it for the plot, but what it lacks in narrative excellence it makes up for it in extreme violence and puzzle-based murder. It’s like The Incredible Machine meets John Wick.
Each level in MFP is an excuse to try out your slow-motion guncrobatics (copyright me) and it is hellishly good fun. As you run about, you’ll get the chance to experiment with different weapons, environmental hazards, a skateboard and sometimes just a frying pan; the limit of how cool the game can look is down to how deftly you can manipulate your wee chap.
I’ll be honest though, this feels like a game that probably plays best when you can use a mouse, as the aiming can be a bit fiddly. Thankfully the game will help occasionally with some gentle nudging, but at times I’ve found the accuracy to be a little off. I will also add that I have daft hands, so take this piece of criticism with a pinch of banana.
The real beauty of the game, a lot like Gato Roboto, is taking from plenty of games that you’ve played before (the flash game Madness comes to mind), but it adds a level of polish and humour that a lot of these games tend to miss. While some of the collision detection can cause a few slightly unfair deaths, the checkpoints are generous, and the levels are short enough to encourage replays for better scores.
The inventiveness keeps the game feeling fresh and makes you feel like you’re maybe not shit at shooting games. The platforming sections can vary between great fun and very basic, but the variety they add is welcome.
Well, maybe not totally: the boss fights, for the most part, outstay their welcome and are devoid of the sense of fun that permeates through the rest of the game. It’s a shame, but when you replay the levels, you can just skip them like you’d skip through a podcast advert for a mattress.
So, there you go; two brand new games that are great fun, not time consuming and affordable. While neither of them hides from the fact that they follow closely in the steps of their predecessors, the changes they make help to freshen up the established formulas and give you a wee taste of something different. It’s like adding a wee mystery ingredient into a cheese and ham sandwich; will it be some onion, maybe a grape or two, or possibly a sliver of human brain tissue? Trust me, take a bite and find out!