Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

In pursuit of originality, independent developers try to come up with not only non-standard mechanics in their games, but also unusual main characters. We have already seen a luchador, and a beetle pushing a pinball ball, and a young man turning into animals … Only a cat was missing in an armored robot. The American team Doinksoft decided to correct this serious omission – the game they created, Gato Roboto, is inspired by Metroid, Blaster Master and other classic masterpieces, and is distinguished primarily by a fluffy protagonist.

Meatroids

The cat goes to study the alien complex not of its own free will – its owner’s space shuttle crashed, and the pilot is stuck in his seat and can’t get out. He has to rely on his pet, with whom he communicates thanks to the walkie-talkie built into the collar. Very soon, the cat finds a station where you can pick up an armored suit, and sets off to explore a huge mysterious complex inhabited by a variety of opponents – from ordinary frogs to aggressive robots.

An animal in a costume and without it are completely different characters. If a cat runs on its own, it will not be able to achieve much: it dies from any touch to the enemy, is not able to strike, and, obviously, cannot shoot. But she climbs any walls and jumps far, and also easily crawls through ventilation and narrow corridors, which otherwise can not get through. She also knows how to swim, which is not shown quite realistically, but in such conditions you have to obey the owner – otherwise you can’t help him.

In a robosuit, the pet becomes much stronger. The ‘Mech withstands multiple hits, is equipped with firearms, and shortly after the start of the game, you get the first power-up and install a rocket launcher on the suit. It overheats after two shells fired one after another, but it does not become less useful – it can be used to quickly smash boxes to pieces, break through walls if they are littered with earth, and destroy several enemies at once with one shot.

These and other suit upgrades are required to explore the alien complex. In Gato Roboto, as in any metroidvania, at first the hero is far from being as skillful as in the final. That is why some secret passages and rooms are inaccessible for the time being: sometimes lava interferes, sometimes it’s impossible to jump, sometimes some ability is simply not enough. And the longer you play, the more powerful the mech becomes: weapon boosts, a double jump, a warp module for short-range teleportation – all this lies somewhere, and in most cases it is impossible to miss these things.

Gato Roboto game review

When there is no other way out, and the cat will love the water.

Life is not the same without a cat

The passage of the main story takes about three hours – during this time the player will visit several large locations (some contain three dozen rooms) and defeat a dozen “bosses”. If in the case of ordinary opponents it is usually not necessary to think over tactics, then with large opponents everything is different – they have a lot of health, they hit painfully, and in case of death, you will have to read the dialogues again and rewind them. A strange decision, especially after The Messenger, where the dialogues were shown only at the first meeting, but this will most likely be fixed with a patch.

The battles themselves are very fun and exciting – at first they seem difficult due to the survivability of the “bosses”, but everything becomes much easier when you remember the sequence of their actions and know what to expect from them.

And outside of these battles from Gato Roboto, it’s hard not to enjoy. The controls are comfortable, the cat is coolly animated, the music doesn’t get boring, and the level design doesn’t force you to tear your hair out of your head because of the idiotic difficulty or crooked platforming. You just sit down in the evening and after a few hours you watch the credits. However, it is a pity that the authors deprived the players of the opportunity to explore the world after the ending. They honestly warn about the impossibility of returning to the old locations before the last trip, but I thought that access to them would be blocked only for a while. As it turned out, you won’t be able to visit them at all until you start a new game – don’t repeat my mistakes.

Gato Roboto game review

Yes, and it happens.

Fortunately, you won’t have to spend too much time exploring each zone – there is a very handy map showing visited rooms, corridors connecting them, and places where you have never been before. Locations are not strewn with secrets, but they are enough to stretch the passage for at least an hour. Hidden items include durability modules that increase health, as well as diaries of former inhabitants and cartridges. The latter not only change the color of the game from black and white to “woody” or “gum”, but are also needed to receive optional bonuses from the engineer frog.

Despite the fact that Gato Roboto turned out to be a pleasant, funny and simply wonderful game, it literally lacks a drop of originality to the highest rating. Despite the constant references to Metroid (and the doors open with gunfire, and the camera also moves when you visit the next room, and there are similar abilities), this project cannot be called a tracing paper. The game only sometimes quotes what the authors were inspired by, but at the same time it does not try to leave at the expense of someone’s fame. However, there are no fresh ideas in it at all, and this upsets.

If you take the same black and white Minit, which I without hesitation put “Amazing”, you can see in it an unusual and beautifully realized idea with the death of the main character every 60 seconds. If you take a metroidvania like Yoku’s Island Express, then it also has non-standard mechanics with flippers and locations reminiscent of pinball tables. Gato Roboto, on the other hand, tries to be like Metroid (and does it really amazingly), but does not offer anything more. Of course, a cute cat in a robot suit can melt any heart, but alone he cannot earn the highest score for the game.

Sometimes the hero is locked in a room until he defeats everyone.

***

At the same time, I repeat, Gato Roboto is a very good and charming game that, for a ridiculous price, will give at least a pleasant evening. Funny dialogues, large locations, well-hidden secrets, various opponents, interesting “bosses” – all this (and even more) is in the game. Even the black and white palette does not interfere – there is a suspicion that a different style would not work here, as in Minit. But if the creators implemented at least one unusual idea or added original gameplay mechanics, everything would be absolutely wonderful. This is the case when skipping the game is definitely not recommended, but you should not expect something outstanding from it.

Pros: funny main character; convenient, responsive control; it is interesting to look for secrets in locations, including thanks to a convenient map; excellent “bosses”; useful improvements to the robot suit that change the approach to battles.

Cons: lack of original ideas; explore the world is allowed only to the point of no return, and after it there is no way to return.

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