Did you ever play any of the Metroid games and think “Man. This is okay and I’m having fun but I wish this was a cat in a cool robot suit instead of a woman in a cool robot suit.”? Well, good news! Gato Roboto from doinksoft lets you furfill (ha ha get it) your fantasy in the cutest way possible.
Gato Roboto takes place in space, with a cat, Kiki, and her captain, Gary, crash landing on a mysterious alien planet (thanks in part to said cat, as cats do, wandering across the controls). With Gary stuck in the ship and unable to free himself, everything is left to Kiki as she must traverse this new, hostile environment, rescue her captain/owner and discover the tragedies that have occurred.
Though much like the retro games Gato Roboto is based on, the plot is more of an excuse for the gameplay to occur. It’s silly, it’s not incredibly detailed, it moves things along now and then, but it’s still there if the player wants to discover more through the many nooks and crannies the game has to offer.
The game works as a great introduction to the Metroidvania genre of twisting corridors and 2D exploration. That’s really good because it’s a genre I’m very bad at and not familiar with. Though it also offers an interesting twist with the gameplay. For the most part, you’ll be playing as Kiki inside her mech suit. Inside the suit, she’ll have a basic ability to shoot, but as the game goes on the player will continue to find upgrades. Rockets, a double jump, health upgrades, that sort of thing. Some will be part of the story, but others will be hidden away and require more exploration.
The game is a lot smaller than a traditional Metroidvania style game. And, for the most part, fairly linear with a few major zones to explore and complete as well as a hub area. Each area is, again, fairly linear though still allows for backtracking and exploring to find all the hidden bonuses and powerups.
Cute meowments and mechanics
One of the coolest bonuses is the cartridges littered through the planet, each one offering a different style of retro colour palette, like a red Virtual Boy style or a green Gameboy style. All of this adds to the feeling that Gato Roboto is a love letter to the retro games that inspired it.
The most interesting mechanic, however, is the ability for Kiki to jump in and out of her mech suit and roam the levels as a sweet little kitty on an adventure. She’s much more agile in this form. She’s able to climb up walls and squeeze into smaller spaces to solve puzzles and progress, or to find even more secrets. But, of course, she is just a simple cat who will die in one hit. Thankfully, save points are frequent and well spaced between each major challenge.
[Insert cat pun here] ??
The platforming in the game is also on point, with enemies being varied and interesting and environments offering new challenges. A new area meant a new strategy. An underwater area would mean I’d regularly have to ditch the mech to swim around, or perhaps hop in a little kitty sized submarine. An overheated area means I couldn’t leave the suit at all because fried kitty is not on the menu.
Perhaps for those with more experience in the genre and gameplay style, it might be a little too easy. And that’s the only real flaw of the game. But, what it lacks in difficulty it more than makes up for in charm and good design. The game is very good at introducing concepts gradually that you’ll encounter as the level progresses. Eventually, you’ll face the boss of the zone which acts as a sort of exam in what you learned in that level. Though the bosses can tend to be bullet sponges, it makes it all the more rewarding when you finally beat them and are able to move on.
Although the game is tight and well put together, it is a little short. I beat it at 69% (nice) in a little over 3 hours. I could have gotten more if I wanted to 100% it. But, I’m sure a lot of people will have the same or less playtime for higher skill levels. However, for the low price point, it’s hard to fault it for the length when it’s so well made and so very, very cute.
Not purrfect, but pretty close
Gato Roboto is a game that’s very good at being exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a short love letter to Metroid that works great for an introduction to the genre for newbies. But, it still acts as a very cute little homage that veterans will enjoy. It also offers cats, which makes it an excellent game in my book.
Gato Roboto is out now on Steam and Nintendo Switch. More info at @doinksoft.