How Metroidvania is it? Medium Fit. I am tempted to make this “High Fit” but I think the Roguevania death cycle pushes it just enough away from the Super Metroid formula to hesitate. Ability Gated Exploration is the primary emphasis with this Roguevania, making it the most Metroid-Like experience the subgenre has offered so far.
Primary Challenge: Ranged Combat
Time to beat: ~10 hours
Review Info: This game was played on Steam
Buy A Robot Named FIGHT! if you like…
- Super Metroid
- Infinite Replayability
- Gated Exploration
- Rogue-Like Death Cycle
- Local Co-Op
▼ Review continues below ▼
The pipe dream of the “Random Dungeon” is nothing new to the gaming industry, and has been around since the 90s. I can personally see the attraction, making something that is infinitely playable is not something that’s humanly possible – unless you can get the computer to make the levels for you. With rogue-likes (or rogue-lites) becoming increasingly popular, there have even been attempts to do it with the Metroidvania Genre. What sets A Robot Named Fight! apart from games like Dead Cells or Rogue Legacy is that it focuses on more than just a jumbled map that you explore. It recognizes that Metroid isn’t really about the combat, but rather about the goals of exploration itself. As a result, A Robot Named Fight! is the closest thing to getting that “Metroidvania” experience on every play through that I’ve played so far.
A Robot Named Fight! accomplishes this by making each run littered with gates that you cannot cross without the right ability. The level generator often puts into your path multiple doors that require a certain weapon, rooms that cannot be traversed without a special suit, or gaps that cannot be crossed or circumvented without the right power up. You must take note of these obstacles, and find the correct ability to pass the gate. Since if you die you have to start all over again with none of the powers you had before, every ability-gate also ingeniously has multiple solutions. As an example, there are sometimes switches that are hidden inside of walls, and your default weapon cannot reach them. You might find an upgrade that makes your basic gun penetrate walls, or you might find a limited energy special weapon that solves the problem for you instead. As you play the game you unlock new powers – or even events – that are added to the randomizer. In most cases these unlocks aren’t about making your robot named Fight more powerful, but are rather there to keep each run feeling fresh.
A key difference between A Robot Named Fight! and other Rogue-likes that use similar death mechanics though is that you can very feasibly beat the game on your first run. As I mentioned, most unlocks are about making subsequent playthroughs more interesting, just about every ability that actually makes Fight more powerful in meaningful ways is already available from the beginning. You are just very unlikely to pull it off. There are a lot of things in A Robot Named Fight! that simply take some getting used to.
Fight controls very similarly to Samus in Super Metroid. You have two kinds of jumps; one where you simply press the jump button and you go straight up, and another where you do an air flip which makes you faster when moving the direction you pressed, but slower if you try to backtrack your decision. Just like in Super Metroid this can feel a little problematic when you’re trying to land on single tile platforms, and I can’t tell you how many of my runs were ended just because I’m terrible at controlling this. It’s incredibly satisfying to actually nail those kinds of jumps though, and it really made me appreciate upgrades that affected my aerial movement. The combat is also much slower paced than the frantic face stabbing that you’d find in Dead Cells. Enemies generally move slow enough that aiming is more important than firing. Thus your survival is about methodically assessing the situation and addressing the problem rather than being about frantic reaction skills and telegraphs. You don’t have a dodge button, and as mentioned before you aren’t particularly agile, so you better use your head and be in the right place before the attack actually happens. Admittedly part of conquering that more cerebral approach to the gameplay is remembering, even memorizing, the kinds of patterns that levels and bosses can throw at you. Once you’ve done a few playthroughs, you’ll start noticing that the randomizer seed draws from the same room floor plans, so as you get experienced you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Generally speaking though, having room types that you might recognize in each playthrough is another point in A Robot Named Fight!’s favor. The reason for this is that no room feels like it’s just lazy “Filler”. The fact that you remember so many of the rooms that the Seed generates is a testament to the level design being memorable. The best way that A Robot Named Fight! can be improved, really, is to just have more stuff to draw from, making each run even more unique.
As-is however, each run was very unique, and I never felt like I was simply being screwed by the RNG. I certainly had my favorite builds, but it was still fun to adapt to the cards I was dealt. There is also still some choice in the matter, you’ll run across shops that let you pay for things, and also let you avoid upgrades that have trade-offs you might not want. There are also these shrines I won’t say much about other than they’re sort of trial and error, and while they technically add choice to the game they do it in a very confusing manner. Some players might enjoy meticulously writing down the results of their offerings, and if you think this is fun this will certainly add play time to your purchase. For players like me who’d rather not mess with them, it is still possible to ignore them, or you can always just use one of the great guides out there.
One other feature worth mentioning is that A Robot Named Fight! has local co-op, which happens to be great if you have a friend and the setup to use it. Because the characters you control have asymmetrical abilities, it adds a nice layer to the gameplay. Your friend gets to be this floating turret orb that can shoot in any direction. While this may not be as interesting as playing Fight, it circumvents some of the problems that could have arisen with having two Fights in the game, and it adds a strategic dynamic to your duo. Your friend can’t open doors and they can’t pick up power-ups, but they CAN pick up health and energy drops, and since they can fly anywhere they can snipe enemies that might give you trouble with the platforming. To keep things interesting, your friend isn’t just some kind of cheat code equivalent – if they get hit, it comes out of Fight’s health pool, so they still have to be careful how they apply their advantages lest they be responsible for ending your run.
The slower pace and more awkward controls of A Robot Named Fight! might be a turn off to some people, but if you’re more interested in getting an actual Metroidvania out of a Roguevania, A Robot Named Fight! is currently the best fit for the genre. Now that I’ve gotten past the learning curve and can make most of my runs successful, I still feel like I can get a great “mini-metroidvania” value out of A Robot Named Fight!, especially since each successful run only takes me about an hour to complete. I definitely recommend giving the game a shot if any of its features sound appealing to you.
Can be a bit clunky, but for the systems in place it's very solid
There are a lot of good platforming challenges in the seeds, however FIGHT's controls can be a little awkward for landing
In spite of being a Roguelike, exploration is the main focus, with excellent variety in ability-gated progression
Initially figuring out the mulitple uses of powers can be puzzling, though this feature wanes as you learn the game
''ARE YOU FIGHT ENOUGH TO DEFEAT THE MEGA BEAST?'' The story seems like nothing profound, but it does have some interesting twists
Wonderful SNES Style graphics that fills the screen with way more sprites than the SNES could have ever handled
SNES Style Soundtrack that fits the mood well, with a few really catchy tracks
Every run will be different, and there are incentives to beat the game multiple times. Each succesful run takes about an hour
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