howl /// Sunday May 19 06:04 2013

PC - Bad Bots

A Strange Start

To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed when I first started playing Bad Bots. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, especially after watching the trailer. Bad Bots appeared rather bare bones, especially in the options department, and first appeared to be missing key assets like a musical score and the delicate sound of footsteps.

However with a little persistence I found a great little Contra style platform shooter to while away the weekend with.

Twin Stick Action

Half the charm of Bad Bots is that you get to make your own fun. Ammo, health packs and powerful secondary weapons are plentiful allowing you to engage in an orgy of destruction that takes the fun from zero to hero in a heartbeat.

At first the bots will strategically positions themselves on platforms and behind boxes to whittle you down but you are always just a dash and few jumps away from creating mayhem. In next to no time you will find that you can blast them away with ease, rather than engaging in a tactical cover shootout.

Once those Bad Bots start trying to mob you the real fun starts. With weapon staples like the Rifle, Shotgun and Cannon (Rocket Launcher) those bots will learn a nasty lesson. The Dual Shot Rifle and Pulsar Gun are on the menu as well allowing everyone to have something to suit their style of destruction. If all else fails just whack 'em.

Help is always at hand with old style savepoints (cryogenic freezing chambers) that will handily restore your life points, and new style automatic checkpoints to save your progress.

I used a Razer Onza to play Bad Bots and it took a few minutes to get used to the twin stick controls to move and aim but once you do you get to rock out hard. The platforming itself could be a bit finicky. I was often messing up the jumping, but with some experience I was soon getting from A to B with little difficulty. I did however manage to get zapped, cut and mashed on environmental hazards on a regular basis.

Using the X, A and B to use items and switch weapons could on occasion get a bit tricky as you have to stop aiming to use them, but once I started using the button remapping on the Onza that problem went away.

The arc of fire is also limited when pointing down which was a little annoying but it wasn't too hard to compensate for. You have about a 270o range of fire that will allow you to pick off most enemies that are in line of sight, but please note that those pesky robots must be on your screen for you to be able to shoot them. The bots themselves sure don't have that limitation.

Sam McRae Story Hero

Your once simple goal of survival isn't a straightforward one. You will embark upon a quest that will take you to every corner of the Titan Hauler. Its all pretty standard sci-fi fare with all the predictable twists and turns but its still a bit of fun.

There isn't a huge amount of backtracking  to bog you down (unless like me you go through a one way door while exploring). Many a nook and cranny will lead to secret rooms and hordes of ammo, weapons and health. With the emphasis being on action you don't have to worry about any ammo anxiety. Which perhaps leads to Bad Bots greatest weakness.

Bad Bots is just a tad too easy. It could really do with with a few levels of difficulty to make it harder. I didn't die much at all and if I did it was usually from getting carried away with my orgy of destruction. The bosses were not that hard of a challenge as it was quite simple to work out their respective weaknesses. Just go forth with the pedal to the metal to get the most out of Bad Bots.

You do have moments when you can get caught out by an nigh overwhelming swarm of robots that cause you to get stuck in a repetitive damage animation where you can barely attack or move, but a good dose of button mashing shooting and jumping will usually save you.

Some will find Bad Bots lack of a musical score a bit of a let down as well. There is music used in the story but it is sparse. A good argument can be made that this is part of the atmosphere of the game itself, but having a few good bass thumping tracks to go along with the blasting of the robots would lift the game up a notch I think.

The graphic design of the Titan is spot on (sort of like a mix between FTL and Mark of the Ninja) and you never really feel lost at all thanks to the in game location cues. The cut-scene comic style strips are a little rough around the edges but it does keep in line with the thematic style of Bad Bots itself. Much of the time Bad Bots felt like a Star Trek disaster movie with iconically clad uniformed crew lying around in bloody heaps or hanging from the rafters.

Escape Pod Found

Overall I had a grand old romp with Bad Bots and completed the campaign in about 4 - 5 hours. There is an additional challenge mode and achievements to keep the more dedicated players interested but I was just in it for the fun of the campaign, and fun you will have, even if its only for the weekend.

Edited // Sunday May 19 06:04 2013 // First version ///