With the advancements of technologies within the modern world, the role of computers and robots have been pushed to the mainstream of providing us, mere mortals, with the tools for education, entertainment and, of course, performing roles in a variety of dangerous situations. I’m talking, of course, about the espionage of spy drones, bomb disarmament and submerging to the depths of oceans previously unreachable. It’s a premise that’s explored within Bit Golem and Ultimate Games’ Robot Squad Simulator as it programs a release onto the Nintendo Switch.
The game puts you in the shoes of a mobile operator who controls a series of robotic forms in a variety of scenarios. There are four robots that you get to control: an EOD, or Explosive Ordnance Device tracked robot, a spy bot, a drone or quadcopter and a submersible. Tasked with a series of objectives, each of the robotic forms you control come with a series of tutorials, six in total, and sixteen missions that can range from disarmament to espionage, anti terrorism to treasure hunting and investigation to cave exploration. While there’s no story mode here, each of the missions do eventually build together to ensure that you develop your robot’s features to work together in reaching a satisfying conclusion in your overall objective.
There’s a distinct difference to each of the machines on offer to you, adding a layer of strategic value and challenge in whatever task you are faced with. Each robot possesses a series of intricate movements from traversal to jointed-arms, cameras and attachments that can pick up items, depress buttons or cut through wires. Each of the levels also come with their own hazards within the terrain or seasonal difficulties when operating specific varieties of machine. However, it’s not just about operating these robots either, as between missions you can tinker with certain aspects, such as adding or removing up to ten different accessories to make sure the robot is suited to the job at hand.
Each of the missions are presented in some nice looking locations with some interesting-sounding scenarios; all of them presented in a semi-open world setting, by that I mean you are afforded some freedom in how you approach each mission objective but, in large, the game does also guide you along a linearity of what must be achieved. However, the execution of working through each scenario can be a bit hit-and-miss with some clunky controls, awkward movements and the scenery providing all manner of hazards on which you simply get stuck or destroyed and have to restart from a checkpoint. Sure, falling off a kerb-side is probably all part of the parcel, but getting caught up amongst a pile of rubbish is surely not a real-life hazard; then again, I may be wrong as I’m no expert in the field in robotic operatives.
Despite some interesting scenarios and a level of gameplay that can be investing, the overall control level of each robot does let the game down; at least in terms of providing a simulated event. Although each of the machines contains a number of intricacies, getting them to function in a satisfactory way is more of a wrestle than wrestlemania. Moving your robot arm at each joint in order to reach a specific object can be a battle itself, or picking up items can be particularly cack-handed and cutting a wire to disarm a bomb is simply of case of approaching the explosive and pressing a button; although at times, you do have to select the correct wire to be cut, adding a slightly more immersive experience.
It ultimately adds to create a very trial-by-fire or a trial-and-error style of play, which eventually leads to a game that feels a bit uninspired and uninteresting. You merely traverse the scenery, fumble around and press a button to save the day. A bit more detail would have gone a long way to prolonging the battery life of this robotic game. This is further hampered by some serious collision detection and a menu screen that is as difficult to navigate as the machines themselves.
One thing the game does do though, is provide quite a unique experience in a more niche genre. Despite its poor technicalities and executions in some areas, there is a certain level of enjoyment to be had from this title. I wouldn’t say that it’s fun, but then again, I don’t really think the game is trying to be. As the title suggests, it leans more on the simulation side of things, rather than an arcade experience. However, where it may contain some degree of accuracy in how you control these machines, it severely lacks in other areas; especially within the real intricacies of performing such a job.
Overall, Robot Squad Simulator isn’t the sort of game that I could whole-heartedly recommend, but that largely depends on your interest or enthusiasm for its genre. It is an interesting title and does provide a nice little distraction when you have some spare time. However, for everything that could be considered good with the game, you’ll find more that is fundamentally wrong which hampers the overall experience that you can have. I wouldn’t even go as far as saying that the game is particularly broken, it’s just largely executed poorly and ultimately, becomes uninteresting as you fight more against the mechanics of the game as you would against the bad guys.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Robot Squad Simulator Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 6/10
User Review( votes)
Robot Squad Simulator does hold some interesting mechanics, but it doesn’t take long for its batteries to run flat.