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Mr. Robot


Mr. Robot

ESRB: Kids to Adult - K-A
Platform: PC Games
Category: Action/Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle

Mr. Robot, released recently on Steam, although it's apparently been around for a while, is a fun, but slightly frustrating... well, action-adventure-RPG hybrid... let me explain that in a second, but let me kick this off by saying, if you ever played classic games like KnightLore, or Head over Heels, you'll almost know what you're getting in for here. There are a few elements that mix it up, but, overall, it's a case of wander round, solving puzzles that mostly involve blocks and switches (and the occasional held item), while generally avoiding the enemies.

The story is pretty simple, and you've heard it before (uppity AI takes over when it shouldn't have, nobody saw it coming, problems galore, yada yada yada), but it's done with character, which means you don't care about it being slightly cliche, and, on top of that, there's a slight twist: the hero is, as you've noticed, a robot. So are all the other heroes and heroines. And the writing, I have to say, is actually quite good, with a few good references, and a little bit of self-referential humour along the way.

The gameplay is a little different to your average puzzle platformer of this type, although most elements will be familiar to anyone who's played the games I've mentioned. Most of the puzzles are either fetch quests or block-pushing, but it's the hacking that makes things interesting, because it mixes genres. You see, this game has RPG elements within the hacking sections, with equipment you can use to upgrade abilities, multiple characters (who all have to share the hero's CPU, poor dabs!), Final Fantasy style combat (Run, Fight, Magic?), and the hacking itself is somewhat reminiscent of indie games like Hacker, or the hacking sections of the SEGA Shadowrun game. As you can see, it takes its influences from a fair few sources. And, despite this, it meshes them together quite well!

Graphically, it's relatively simple 3D, with an isometric viewpoint that sometimes annoys, but it does the job, and, more than that, it's visually consistent, and you get the sense of being just a cog in a very large ship. Which, in a very real sense, you are, being a lowly Mark VII droid. The music is fairly ambient, but quite relaxing, and this helps a lot when you run into a particularly nasty puzzle (I've only just gotten past the one in the first screenshot, and I kicked myself when I finally worked it out!). There's not really an amazing amount of replay value, but the game is challenging enough that it will quite happily last you, at a rough guess, about 20 hours or more of gameplay, and the story keeps me coming back for more, despite some very frustrating puzzles.

So, if you like this sort of thing, I'd highly recommend this, despite the sometimes frustrating difficulty, and even players new to the genre might find this a good giggle. Joystick up!


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