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Game Review #356: Gato Roboto (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: WoodmanFLG

Developer: Doinksoft

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Category: Metroidvania, Action

Release Date: 5.30.2019

Price (at time of review): $9.99

Buy Gato Roboto from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


If you read my Timespinner review (and you should right here!) you will recall my mentioning of how the exploration-heavy Metroidvania genre is seeing some oversaturation right now in the eShop, and how the genre is now starting to get some less-than-stellar entries. I also commented on how, sometimes, they will more heavily identify with one end of the Metroidvania spectrum than the other, and I am here to tell you that Gato Roboto is an absolutely charming love letter to both retro gaming, and Metroid as a whole.

Gato Roboto has you playing as KiKi, pet to someone exploring space who crash-landed on a mysterious planet, but in a way that he was stuck in the ship. He instead sends out his beloved Kiki to, get this, seek out a highly advanced mech suit so she can begin to work towards saving her master. This is wrapped around graphics akin to an original Game Boy, and boy is it charming. Once Kiki finds her mech suit, you will be blasting, jumping, and otherwise around this world to find all the secrets and get to the bottom of what is happening on this planet! Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, with Gato Roboto!

Siamese Aran

Yes, I am sneaking in every cat/Metroid pun I can, because, at its heart, this game pays a huge homage to early Metroid games in terms of gameplay, exploration, and smart level design. Each area manages to be visually distinct while working with a palette of only 2 colors, and is still very simple and pleasing to look at. This planet is chock full of robots and creatures ready to try and stop your exploration, and as you get deeper, you will find bosses, which are giant war machines being piloted by none other than a mouse!

I found the general exploration to be pretty easy—outside of a couple of tricky segments where Kiki has to leave the general safety of her mech in order to squeeze through some tight areas, where she will die in one hit—but the bosses were pretty tough! I really enjoyed the boss fights. They even got me a couple of times! All of the normal enemies tend to pose a specific function, so all of them feel unique and purposeful.

Meow Attack

This game does not disappoint in the exploration department of being a Metroidvania, especially with Kiki’s mech suit granting her ever-increasing levels of firepower and mobility! Kiki has a normal shot that shoots quite fast if you press it fast enough, but it has a limited range, like the original shot in Metroid. You upgrade your normal shot throughout your adventure as well, in addition to getting other ways to attack, like missiles! And boy, do I love the missiles in this game! They are tied to a heat gauge, which, if you max out, you won’t be able to shoot missiles for a short time. One of my favorite things about these, besides the huge range on them, is the fact they will affect Kiki by launching her in a direction if she's close enough to the explosion, which this game will often let you do to sequence break a little bit.

What is sequence breaking, you ask? It is where you “break” the game’s intense sequence of being played by moving beyond what you are supposed to with your current items. You can use missiles to climb walls or make jumps you just BARELY couldn’t before. It's a fun little mechanic that had me attempting to perfect some jumps to get some early item acquisition, and again, it's right in line for it being a love letter to Metroid, which is famous for its sequence breaking!

Like CatNip

This game has a ton of soul, and you really feel it throughout the game. It's a short romp—you should be able to beat it in about 4 hours—but, of course, it's built for speed running and trying to get 100% on it. It has good, atmospheric music that, mixed with the graphical style, feels like a suped-up OG Metroid with a kitty—a kitty that makes angry faces whenever you shoot your gun, for a little added cuteness.

There are tons of collectibles to get, and tons of ways to upgrade KiKi’s mech suit. Some of the main collectables nab you different color palettes as well, so you can change up your visuals! There are even underwater segments where KiKi hops into a little sub to fight! Gato Roboto is a game that any fan of Metroid should pick up, and its price point allows for people trying to get into the genre to do so without too many financial woes. Pick this game up. You won’t regret it!

Score: 9/10

Buy Gato Roboto from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Tinsley PR

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