(WiiWare)

Frobot (WiiWare)

Game Review

Frobot Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

It's dy-no-mite!

It's been a fairly long wait for Fugazo's first WiiWare offering – the game was announced over a year and a half ago – and while Frobot initially looked extremely simplistic and basic, it's now evolved into quite a polished and well-designed release for the service. Craftily combining both shooting and puzzle-solving elements, it provides an experience to try your reflexes and Wii Remote accuracy as well as put those problem-solving skills to the test. So was the extended wait worth it, and does Frobot bring the funk?

Your main goal in each level is to power up the warp pad and progress to the next one. To do this, you'll have to destroy the many enemies that get in your way and solve a constant barrage of puzzles, navigating your way successfully through each room of the area. This can include everything from activating switches to carefully manoeuvring moving platforms and virtually everything in between. As you arrive at later areas, you'll find that not only will the enemies become more plentiful and aggressive, but the puzzles will also become far more tricky as well.

Frobot will employ basic cannon fire at the beginning of the game along with one specialty weapon, the Dynomine. You'll fire your cannon using the targeting reticule, aiming the Wii Remote as a pointer. You'll also be able to lay down a Dynomine with the A button and detonate it by pressing the same button a second time. As you complete and area and defeat the boss, you'll rescue one of your kidnapped girlfriends and gain a new specialty weapon. These range from Stud Missiles to the Robo Hustle, which will allow you brief bursts of speed that can be used to traverse some of the trickier spots.

You complete each level simply by powering up the warp and transporting over to the next, but it doesn't stop there. You can also try to locate the hidden Power Pick in each stage or attempt to complete it under the specified Goal Time. Collecting all of the Power Picks and finishing all of the levels under this limit will not only unlock new Multi Playa maps but also allow you to power up your specialty weapons to make them even more useful and effective. It's definitely worth the time and effort to go back and complete these two additional tasks, especially if you have any hopes of beating the later, more difficult levels. There are even multiple difficulty settings that allow you different numbers of lives, ranging all the way up to 50 on the easy setting.

If the competitive mood strikes you, Frobot can accommodate you with its Multi Playa mode. Here you and up to three others can take part in an all-out war, crowning the last Frobot standing as the winner. You'll choose from a host of playing fields with even more unlockable as described above, accomplished by beating groups of Single Playa levels under the Goal Time. You're able to make use of all of Frobot's firepower and special weapons here, and you'll quickly realise that having four players on the field attacking each other at once can get quite intense. You'll also find that there's a lot of strategy to it when you see some of the hazards you'll encounter within each stage. While this additional mode might seem at first like a tacked-on extra, it's actually extremely well executed and can be an absolute blast if you can round up some extra players.

The game's Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination perfectly fits the controls you'll use throughout the experience. Everything is extremely intuitive and switching between the various specialty weapons is accomplished quickly and easily, even during the heat of battle if need be. The puzzles are downright devious in design and the fairly regular enemy encounters will keep you on your toes as you navigate your way through the many levels. It might have been nice to have a few more stages to tackle in Single Playa mode, but given the added replay value of locating the hidden Power Picks and beating the Goal Times, it's difficult to complain too much.

While Frobot never tries to be too flashy when it comes to its visual presentation, it still features a ton of charm and personality throughout its many areas. Even with its simplistic graphical designs, there's an impressive degree of polish that gives it a nice high-quality look and feel. The Frobots and enemies are crafted with polygons, so not only do they have a very realistic look, but they also move and animate very fluidly. Even the menus and interstitial scenes are brilliantly constructed and carry the game's eccentric 70's theme perfectly.

If there's one aspect that truly brings out Frobot's engaging charm, it's the soundtrack. The disco-tinged musical tracks are among some of the best to appear on the WiiWare service to date; you get a nice variety of different tunes to enjoy, and they're so catchy that you'll catch yourself humming them in your head long after you've put the game down. The sound effects share the same attention to detail as the score and go a long way towards adding even more personality to an already captivating aural experience.

Conclusion

Though from first appearances you could quite easily dismiss Frobot as nothing more than style over substance and an attempt to use quirky themes and humour to cover up gameplay inadequacies, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, not only does it feature a very funny disco-era theme to carry its humorous storyline, it manages to offer up an absolutely brilliant action/puzzle experience as well that's as much fun to play as it is to watch. Combine all of this with the sizable layer of replay value afforded by the hidden Power Picks and Goal Times, and what you have is one of the most unique and enjoyable titles to hit the WiiWare service this year and a release more than worth your 1000 Wii Points.

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User Comments (45)

Link79

#2

Link79 said:

It's really that good? Okay okay I'll check out the demo. I guess I shouldn't be so quick to judge. The same thing happened to me with the original Shantae on GBC and now I wish I hadn't ignored it.

Omega

#3

Omega said:

How many levels are there in single playa mode? How can you save da game? Are there different difficulty settings? How difficult is it to complete da game?

SolarJetman

#6

SolarJetman said:

Sounds like Lolo meets Smash TV. We want the funk! Gotta have that funk. I'm gonna hitch a ride on the Mothership and download this!

bro2dragons

#7

bro2dragons said:

I downloaded the free PC demo when this was first announced, and i've been wanting this ever since. it's great! i was getting worried having not heard any news about the WiiWare release, but i'm glad to see it transitioned so well. DANG, i need a points card! :)

Sean_Aaron

#10

Sean_Aaron said:

I found myself booting the pre-release build I previewed repeatedly (Fugazo were kind enough to provide me with periodic updates featuring more playable levels) and I really enjoyed the retro 8-bit computer feel I got from this. Maybe it's the colour scheme or the quirky graphics, but I get a strong Atari/Commodore-64 vibe that resonates nicely.

Here's hoping for a European release!

MikeyMikeMike

#19

MikeyMikeMike said:

How long approximately does it take to get through the single player stages? How hard (how many replay's) is it going to take approximately to attain the goal times?
Also, as someone already asked, how many levels? Do levels consist of a single fixed frame, or are there multiple rooms to a level?

bro2dragons

#22

bro2dragons said:

@Mikey: there are multiple rooms to each level. i can answer that based on the demo, and the levels are each a pretty good length. the other questions i can't much help you with, though. sorry.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#23

Philip_J_Reed said:

Wow, Corbie. That was one speedy review!

Glad to see it turned out so great. I've been looking forward to this for a while.

CaPPa

#25

CaPPa said:

I thought that Frobot looked very basic when it was first shown off and expected the end result to be a horrible game with a great name. Glad to hear that isn't the case and there is actually something beneath the 'fro. I like top down shooters and the Wii remote is ideal for them; although there are not that many (still waiting for Animals De La Muerte).

I'd prefer Frobot to be 800 points than 1000 (as 1000 point WiiWare games don't always match up to an N64 game for example), but I will try the demo and if I like it then I will pick it up after Christmas.

CorbsAdmin

#26

Corbs said:

I've had the review code on the debug unit for almost a month, so it wasn't as speedy as it seemed. LOL. :D

And people, there's a demo of the game on the Wii Shop. If the review made you curious, go check it out. :)

Bassman_Q

#27

Bassman_Q said:

Meh I did not like the demo, so I was expecting a max of a 6 or 7. The character is extremely slow and it doesn't give you any hint on how to beat the bosses. Plus it almost crashed my Wii. :(

BulbasaurusRex

#28

BulbasaurusRex said:

"The disco-tinged musical tracks are among some of the best to appear on the WiiWare service to date."

That's not very hard to accomplish considering the very limited amount of disco-tinged music in WiiWare games.:P

rjejr

#29

rjejr said:

Wow, a 9? I'm so glad this game had a demo b/c I thought it was awful. I wholeheartedly agree with Qwikman & Bass that it just didn't look or play well. I'ld give the game a 4 and another 2 for the whole overdone "fro" stuff so maybe a 6. I'ld rather do Sudoko puzzles while watching Shaft for a better puzzle-blaxploitation experience. Jett Rocket (graphically) and Mostecca Corral (gameplay and 500 points) are both better.

accc

#30

accc said:

I'm surprised this is getting so much hate in the comments section. To me the gameplay essentially feels like a series of dungeons in the style of the 2D Zelda games, and nobody in their right mind would ever hate on those games..

Link79

#31

Link79 said:

There's a bug in this game that could possibly mess up your Wii. Several people have reported lock ups that can cause your files to be corrupted.
I tried to pause the game and it just froze and my Wii had to be reset.

CorbsAdmin

#32

Corbs said:

I went through the entire game from start to finish and found most of the Power Picks and never had a lock-up or corrupted files one. Do you know where this occurs? I played the final release on the debug Wii, but if there's a problem, I'll go back and play the official Wii Shop version to make sure it's alright.

Link79

#33

Link79 said:

Well to be honest I was only playing the Demo but it happened when I was on stage 2. I paused the game and it froze on me. Then my Wii made a buzzing noise and that pretty much ended my demo. Someone else was saying it happened to them after three game overs. I'm not sure what the source of the bug is.

Link79

#35

Link79 said:

I guess it's not a huge problem. My second time trying the Demo didn't give me any issues. Maybe just the Demo is faulty.

Andrew_Lum

#36

Andrew_Lum said:

Hey Guys, The crash bug you guys are seeing is only in the Frobot Demo is it NOT in the full version of the game.

We had to make some changes to the game to disable saving. If you lose all your lives pressing Retry or Quit will unfortunately crash the game. The Demo doesn't save at all so it won't corrupt your Wii files.

Unfortunately we are not going to be able to update the Demo version as it's only going to be live for 4-12 weeks. Rest assured, this crash bug is not in the full game.

Link79

#37

Link79 said:

@ Andrew Lum
In that case I'll go ahead and get the full version. There wouldn't be much of a point in patching the Demo anyway. Thanks for the heads up.

Pokeman

#38

Pokeman said:

Heh heh, Frobot has an afro. I'm confused why they didn't call it Afrobot?

vherub

#40

vherub said:

glad there was a demo for this, it made the sale for me (though this review helped)

rjejr

#43

rjejr said:

Thanks for the feedback, but knowing the demo crashes the Wii and then not trying to patch it seems crummy to me. If I hadn't already tried the demo I wouldn't now b/c I don't want my 4 year old Wii to crash. Mine crashed when I tried to quit and I was none to happy about the whole experience.

Cats

#44

Cats said:

I wasn't even going to bother with the demo, but I saw a 9 here and watched that video. Now I MUST play the demo, and if it's any good, I'm getting the full game.

@Andrew Lum - That funny promo video with the binary code really made me laugh. Is there a downloadable version of that video online?

sketchturner

#45

sketchturner said:

How did this game get a 9? I feel like I'm missing something. I thought it was one of the worst Wiiware games I had the misfortune of playing.

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