May 22, 2013
Waking up inexplicably within a stasis pod, modest maintenance engineer Sam McRae finds himself in the bowels of Titan's trash compacting unit. On route for escape, Sam picks up the remnants of a tattered droid called MOTHER, who delivers the bad news that the ship's AI, DANA, has commandeered the Titan by issuing control over all the maintenance robots. The result is that they've turned into ruthless killing machines that have butchered the entire crew, with Sam being the only survivor.
Not only this, DANA was so disgusted about the crew refusing to fully install her on the ship due to being considered obsolete, that the Titan is now on a crash course towards the corporation who created her. Only Sam stands between DANA and an exuberant death toll that awaits back home.
Bad Bots is a title that lives up to the term 'run and gun' as that's all that you will be doing. The game opts for the classic use of dual controlling the keyboard and mouse, the former for movement, cycling through your two weapon slots, and interacting with objects, and the latter for firing weapons, melee attacks (best used often for breaking open crates for ammo and health). The mouse will also dictate which side you're facing and aiming your shots.
The game is structured similarly, albeit simplistically, to modern Metroid and Symphony of the Night inspired Castlevania titles where you explore much of the Titan while taking breaks at save points to replenish health. However, what is lacking here is the use of a map. Although the Titan is not as large as it may seem, it's still easy to get lost every now and then.
Also lacking is music. A few jingles get played here and there to announce boss battles and plot points, but the constant silence outside of all that brings out the redundant nature of the gameplay.
The stage designs are also very lacking in any shred of ingenuity and much like the action is very undemanding. Aside from crouch walking under the occasional fan blades and jumping over blown fuses there's not a whole lot that challenges you (i.e. puzzles, tense platforming, etc.). There is nothing to stop the monotony that comes from the mind numbing shooting.
Eventually the stages lose traction and the game then begins repeating the same pattern of a long corridor that locks down for "quarantine" forcing you to kill an unrelenting horde of robots.
Outside of fighting them in large numbers, the robot minions provide very little in tribulations, bosses included. It's pretty much like shooting mechanized fish in a barrel with the adversaries following predictable patterns that's nothing short of brain dead.
The game does offer a Challenge Mode where you're free to fight off horde after horde of robots, but there's little to pique anyone's interests here. Taxing on this is the fact that the arsenal in the game is limited and unimaginative and it just makes for an experience that never achieves much.
Bad Bots is not only just another 2D indie title, but another that exhibits how its developers neglect understanding basic platforming fundamentals. Although the gameplay has its moments, it doesn't take long for the experience to turn one dimensional, repetitive, and inducing instances of mental exhaustion. The lack of music gives a feeling of a game incomplete and although the story is short (thankfully) and predictable there was enough leg room to further flesh it out. No doubt, Bad Bots is a creation that came off the assembly line prematurely and even for indie titles that's still undeserving of cut slack.
Bad Bots was reviewed on the PC. You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.