A charming title from the indie developer, Binji, this 2D platforming, roguelite shooter is delightful on numerous levels. Botlike - A Robot's Rampage, currently has a number of important features missing but in its early access state, the gameplay itself feels very promising and visually, the game looks great. A fun and challenging experience with plenty to fall in love with despite the missing menu sections and lack of volume options in the games current state.
In Botlike, you are S.I.R, a grumpy, top hat wearing warbot who is fighting his way through swarms of enemies in a world ruled by totalitarian overlords. He seeks revenge for the destruction of his home. The aim is to progress as far as possible gaining upgrades along the way. You can obtain new weapons, peculiar abilities that have a minimal explanation, ammo and heals, however, when you die you lose all your upgrades gained in that run. During each run, you use scrap from killing enemies to buy weapons and abilities for your character, but you also pick up permanent upgrade cards that you can use to apply upgrades after you have died. These improvements remain across all your runs and the more runs you do the more substantial improvements you can give to your character. As you play you can improve your armour, health and weapon damage, amongst other things, to increase your chances of making it further and further each time.
The gameplay itself is fairly simple. You traverse randomly generated levels that contain a variety of different enemies who will throw a plethora of attacks at you as you make your way through. Some enemies are more susceptible to certain weapons, some enemies have strong attacks but die easily and some enemies are dangerous up close but can be dealt with quickly if you keep clear of them. As you move through the level you will pass small shops, manned by curious looking robots, where you can cash in your scrap to improve your weapons and abilities for that run. Each shop will have a random selection of four things you have the option to purchase if you have enough scrap, but only continued play will give you insight into what half the objects on sale actually do. As well as upgrade stations, loot crates will be located in various places and sometimes enemies will drop more useful loot, such as permanent upgrade cards or ammo. There are also points along each level that you can interact with to obtain some health.
The character movement generally feels very smooth with only a few elements being tricky to initially get the hang of. Some levels have slightly more complicated layouts and therefore can be a bit tricky to traverse, but any players who are very familiar with the wider genre of platforming games should have few problems. You have the standard, jump, double jump and dash abilities that are, for the most part, a standard in platformers.
Botlike possesses a gorgeous pixel art style with lovely, smooth animations. Rich colours and beautiful lighting provide the game with a surprising amount of visual depth. The graphical style absolutely adds to the basic, but enjoyable, gameplay with the mix of saturated and darker colours successfully depicts the strange oppressive world that the game aims to create.
Accompanying the wonderful art style is a great soundtrack. Adopting steady beats and laid back, bluesy guitar riffs, the music adds character to the world. The robot we play as is just trying to make his way from point A to B and the soundtrack does a good job of characterising how much these enemies are simply in the way for him.
A fairly priced title that shows a great deal of promise. Botlike already feels very polished and it’s only really the lack of an options menu and volume settings that are holding the game back at present. Once these features appear there’s little else the game really needs to bring it to full release level.