Kiki needs to help Gary find out what’s happening on a hostile planet. Also, she’s a cat. Did you expect that? We didn’t either, but here’s our Gato Roboto review.
Long uninspired games can be easily forgotten, but short creative ones will linger in our minds forever. Back in the day, games were small in size yet enjoyable at their fullest. This also goes to one of my favourite video game genres: metroidvanias. I believe that the perfect title of this genre has to be greatly crafted, memorable and something that encourages replayability. My last year’s GOTY checked all these points, but now it’s 2019 and I think I found my personal of Game of this Year. You want to know why? Well, make sure to spit that hairball and get ready to take a look at this Gato Roboto review.
Ground control to Meow-yor Tom
Doinksoft announced this cute beast back in 2018. Since then, they’ve been slightly silent in terms of visual material. The occasional gifs here and there, a cute concept art of our main feline friend Kiki… From that point on, this studio wanted to show one important thing about them: this is going to be a surprise for everyone. And oh boy, what a pleasant surprise indeed.
In Gato Roboto, we control the little kitten known as Kiki. Alongside with his owner Gary, they crash on a forgotten planet that held a research facility surrounded by mystery. As poor Captain Gary is injured, he makes Kiki investigate what’s going on in this hostile land. This may remind some people of another title with the slight same premise involving zombies instead of cute cats. However, crashing into planets is a common Sci-Fi trope, so don’t overthink about it like some other websites tend to do. But what makes Gato Roboto unique? Three simple things: level design, music, and charm.
Zebes Pocket Edition
As stated earlier, Gato Roboto is a Metroidvania. Thus, backtracking levels with improved gear is a must. However, Roboto stands out better than other titles as it doesn’t meander with a dull plot, cutscenes or eternal dialogue boxes in order to show you what’s going on right in front of you. The game teaches the player as you play with its level structure and obstacle layout. There’s no pop-up addressing how spikes hurt you or something cannot be explored yet. And this may sound like a no-brainer, but allow me to ask you: in 2019, how many games have told you what to do or how to progress constantly with objective markers and maps filled with filler content? Exactly.
The planet we explore on Gato Roboto may be small in size, but its ability to feel challenging while fair as well as rewarding constantly for exploring makes it up for its depth. We have platforming challenges, interesting improvements and even unlockable features that can be obtained via other unlockables! Everything feels worth finding it, and that’s a plus on my book.
8-bit charming Techno purr-fection
If you want to play a game with a soundtrack so damn catchy it will make you sway your head until your neck falls off, Gato Roboto is also your title. The compositions of Britt Brady are one of the most upbeat tracks that I’ve heard in quite a while. The rush of adrenaline, tension and the good old feeling of kicking ass is always present while we are exploring this black and white world. If I had to say something about this game, that would be the SFX. Don’t get me wrong, they are great, but I suggest you lower them and crank the music up to 100%. You’ll thank me later, don’t worry.
But music is not everything without a nice visual representation, and the minimalistic design of Roboto works wonders with this 8-bit format. The contrast of a dark background with the white buildings, rocks, and enemies we face in this adventure sure makes everything stand out nicely. These two elements work together at the same time in some sections, where your footsteps and your abilities are used in a rhythmical fashion which I want to believe was intentional.
I think I have to address the biggest issue some people may have with Gato Roboto: its duration. I’ll be honest: this game is short, REALLY short. I finished it in 2 and a half hours with an 87% completion rate, and 2 hours with a 97% completion rate on my second playthrough. Hell, there’s an achievement that wants you to beat the game in less than an hour. But now I have to talk about why this is not an issue for me, but a great callback to the classics instead.
How much would it take you to beat the original Castlevania nowadays? Or what about Super Metroid? Old titles are usually praised for its level design, its fun factor and how good it sounds, but you won’t hear many people addressing their length as something negative. I mean, you can beat the original Castlevania (and plenty other Classicvanias) in around an hour or so. The same thing goes to Metroid, which encouraged players to go fast in order to get the best ending. And that’s the last thing about Gato Roboto that I wanted to share in this review: the passion for old gaming times that the developers behind this cute title wanted to share with everyone.