A Robot Named Fight! somehow does the unimaginable and successfully combines the Metroidvania and Roguelike genres with procedurally generated maps.
Fans of Super Metroid will feel right at home with A Robot Named Fight!, which wears its inspiration on its sleeve with nearly the same 16-bit graphics, platforming, shooting, and a focus on collecting powerups and new weapons. That isn’t to say it is a rip-off or even a clone—sure there are power-ups that let you move faster and crawl into small openings—but there are also gory monstrosities to slay and permadeath.
Yes, permadeath, meaning you only have one life per playthrough and should you run out of health you have to start all over. I was pretty discouraged by this at first, until I managed to do a complete playthrough on my fifth or sixth attempt that ended up taking just shy of an hour. As A Robot Named Fight! is a roguelike, each attempt means players make some sort of progress for future attempts, and in this case, new weapons and abilities are unlocked for subsequent playthroughs.
While knowing that I’d made some progress made the permadeath a bit easier to digest, I couldn’t help but feel it may have been included just to squeeze out a bit more playtime due to Steam’s two-hour return policy. Either way, it doesn’t subtract much from the game’s overall feel, though I wish there was a bit more to unlock.
Shooting baddies while traversing the map feels great thanks to the ability to shoot in eight different directions, and there is a nice variety of enemies to battle. Where the gameplay does suffer a bit is during the boss fights, all of which felt like pushovers. I don’t recall ever getting killed by a boss throughout A Robot Named Fight!, even the massive final boss.
The presentation is a mixed bag. Some level backgrounds and enemies are great, while the muted foreground and the player’s generic robot character are less than impressive. The same could be said for the game’s sound effects, which were a bit grating on my ears after so long. It might be a personal preference but I hate the default gun’s sound. Thankfully I wasn’t forced to use it very long. The soundtrack is neither here nor there—not quite as memorable as the haunting melodies of Metroidvanias past, but not bad either.
As for the procedurally-generated levels, they are pretty impressive, especially when you consider that different abilities are required to get through many doors and spaces in the game. I never once found myself unable to access a room due to the way the map generated, which was definitely a fear I had going into the game. As for the generation itself, it feels like the game builds the world from a large selection of rooms based on the area of the map you’re in, but not so few that rooms ever felt repetitive; I only experienced a few moments of room deja vu myself while playing.
If you’re looking to play a game that isn’t afraid to wear its love of Super Metroid on its sleeve and you’re the kind of person to replay games and reach for that 100 per cent completion rate, you’ll love A Robot Named Fight!. Sure, a successful run will only take around an hour, and there aren’t a ton of weapons to unlock, but the procedurally generated levels feel fresh enough to make this a game worth revisiting from time to time, especially for the bargain price.