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I remember back in 2005 when I first jumped on Xbox Live Arcade and saw a game called Geometry Wars. I was new to purchasing digital games and reluctantly but excitedly threw down my digital bucks on my first game that I physically couldn’t own. Luckily, my reluctance dissipated as I started to play what was to become one of my favorite shooters of all time. The game had that perfect blend of dodging, shooting, and score chasing that many shooters before it possessed, but this somehow hooked me and kept me playing for years on end. Most of the other shooters, which I still love to play today, didn’t feed my need to better my score quite like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved did.
Eventually I moved onto other shooters that have been released through the years, but recently I played Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved once again and got that kick of nostalgia that only 8 or 16 bit games usually grant me. I started looking into other shooters that maybe I’ve missed through the years and didn’t really see much of interest until a code for Good Robot was given to be by our Editor-in-Chief Frank DiPersio. Before installing the game on my machine, I glanced over a few videos on YouTube and saw what may be exactly what I’ve been looking for since 2005.
Pyrodactyl has something pretty special on their hands with Good Robot. In my time with the upcoming twin-stick shooter I felt that same need to bump my score but also I felt a connection with my little robot, who I was trying to keep alive. There is a really fun and interesting story here, provided by lead writer Adam Rutskarn (Unrest, Will Fight for Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour). In 2031, unchecked pollution meant humans could no longer survive on Earth’s surface. Fortunately, PyroCorp saved the world by building massive underground cities with an army of intelligent robots. Everything was fine until one day, the robots went bananas and killed all the humans. To avert a public relations and stock market nightmare, PyroCorp rests its final hope on you, the Good Robot.
Story means nothing without solid gameplay and Good Robot is one of the smoothest twin-stick shooters I’ve played in years. Relying heavily on precise controls, the game handles flawlessly as it tasks players with weaving their way through countless bullets with the left stick while unleashing their upgradable primary weapon with the stick on the right. Upgradable secondary weapons are available with a quick press of the left or right bumper and should help out when battling one of many bosses players will encounter.
Upgrades come in the way of in-game cash that you will collect while blasting away the bad robots. Weapon upgrades include stats increases of attack power and rate of fire; while robot upgrades come in the form of movement speed and shields. Throughout the levels you will come across vending machines where you can purchase these upgrades and support your maker, PyroCorp. These upgrades give the game a deep RPG element, which is a welcome change to your typical shooter.
I’m genuinely excited for Good Robot. The game looks, sounds and controls beautifully. I’m just patiently waiting for April 2016 to roll around so other gamers start showing up on the leaderboards! My high score is looking pretty lonely up there all by itself.