Review: Mr. Robot

A PC game review by Bobulous.

About Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot is a game by Moonpod which mixes platform gaming, puzzle solving and role-play gaming features together.

Playing Mr. Robot

Something is awry on the starship Eidolon. The ship's computer HEL is giving strange orders, droids are wandering about with electrified chassis, and some of the human crew seem to have been disturbed in their cryosleep. Luckily the service robot Asimov is here to piece it all together.

When you guide Asimov around the Eidolon, it's very much like a platform game of old. Moving platforms demand careful timing in order to cross lakes of acid, electrified droids have to be dodged, large gaps have to be leapt across, and there are even temporary surfaces that are only safe to walk on for a second or two. The only difference is, this game is presented in an isometric 3D view, so judging distances and heights can be pretty tricky at times. I played using a joypad, but it is possible to control Asimov using the mouse.

Mr. Robot is much more than an old platform game, though. To progress from one big room to the next, you need to solve puzzles. For instance, Asimov may need to push crates into the right places to create a bridge across an acid lake. Or use a crane to drop crates into the right places so that they form a set of steps up to a high doorway. The puzzles start off simple and become more and more challenging as the game progresses. At one point, a puzzle gave me a flashback to Lemmings.

screenshot: Four blue-green robot outlines stand on the left, four spiky orbs float on the right.

Alongside the platform and puzzle elements, you often need to defeat computer systems to open doors and trigger necessary events. This is where the RPG element appears. Asimov battles in the digital world in the form of a 'ghost' that can use ICE breakers and combat programs against the computer system defences. Once you find other ghosts around the ship, you can build a team of four ghosts who fight on your side against computer systems that become increasingly well defended. As your ghosts win battles, they collect items and experience that boost their stats and allow them to use stronger attacks.

Once you get good at hacking, it becomes possible to hack droids that get in your way in the platform segment of the game. Just jump on the head of a troublesome droid (Mario style!) and then begin the hack. Once you defeat the droid's defences, he goes into meltdown. No more trouble from that droid. It's very satisfying hacking the silver droids that otherwise prove a nuisance when you're trying to solve puzzles.

The problems I had with the game were not enough to spoil its charm, but they're worth mentioning. The Eidolon is quite a big ship, and the map that you can use to see where you are is not at all clear. It's very tricky working out where you are relative to where you've been and where you need to go next. Plus, the isometric view can make it very difficult to judge whether a platform is higher or lower than Asimov, so expect to fall quite a lot when trying to leap from one platform to another, especially when you need to add a diagonal element to your jump. Also, when the characters in the story generate dialogue, sometimes it seems to get out of synch or repeat itself, which can be a little confusing.

Finally, I kept picking up equipment that could only be used by program specialists. But none of my many ghosts were program specialists. As the game features quite a few rooms whose entrances are somewhat hidden, I guess that I just didn't find the room that would have given me this new type of ghost.

Evaluating Mr. Robot

Guiding Asimov around the Eidolon and hacking its computer systems is a lot of fun, though I have to admit to swearing profusely on several of the platform sections of the game. I never did have the skills needed for platform gaming, though, and even I enjoyed the overall experience. The RPG elements combine very nicely with the puzzle and platform elements. Mr. Robot is a very nicely presented game which offers a good deal of entertainment.