Gato Roboto Preview
As a cat piloting a mech, firing rockets and an automatic weapon — I did battle with a mouse, that also was piloting some sort of mechanical machine suit. Gato Roboto is weird for sure, but in my first half hour of hands-on time, I can see a potential standout in the title from developer doinksoft in what is becoming a crowded market of metroidvania titles.
Gato Roboto puts you in the paws of a kitty who, thanks to their owner, has crash landed on some alien planet. With your owner trapped inside the ship, it's up to you to save the day, which thankfully does become increasingly easier once you somehow manage to find a mech-suit to jump on into, power up and get the ability to fight back the creepy crawly variety of bugs and toads that are around looking to do you harm.
While it seems you'll spend the majority of your time in the suit while making your way around the planet of Gato Roboto, firing off rockets and whatever growing arsenal the in-game menu teases I'll unlock, you can leave the suit to track down secrets in small passages. Kitty is a lot more nimble and able to run up walls and gets access to areas you can't in the suit, but you can not fight back while in the suit. Don't get hit with any bullets, Kitty, that'd be a bad kitty.
Apart from its humour, which I'm sure will be hit and miss — especially considering the location for the planet you land is 4-2-0-6-9 — there is the stunning black and white pixel art style that makes Gato Roboto stand out from other recent games in similar genres. It's utterly beautiful in its design and although I've only played through the first 30 minutes, the design of the enemies and one-boss I've battled alongside the world was amazing. I'm worried the whole game will simply be blocks and cavern looking settings which may grow bland without variety, but I don’t know what the future stages for Gato Roboto hold.
Although the overall design of a metroidvania is obvious with backtracking and getting access to new areas with new gear, the combat and design of the singular boss I've faced reminded me of a lot of Mega Man. It took me several tries to beat the first boss and I wouldn't say it's a push-over, but what it came down to was simply memorising the attack patterns. The boss also featured a health bar that was very akin to a Mega Man game.
The presentation as well is very Mega Man to me with the game itself taking place inside a box on your screen which is surrounded in information for you ranging from your health, rockets left, boss health (when applicable) and a timer down the bottom showing you your overall run time for the game. With the timer, I'm assuming the game will be aiming to be an attractive length for speedrunners after release, but for us normal paced players, it can be a reminder of how long you've spent on one boss. There's also an XY coordinate designator up the top which I never had to use but could be necessary as you proceed to get lost further in the game.
I managed to unlock a palette change called 'bark' that made the overall look of the game a brown and yellow tint which I was enjoying, but made me feel bad about not just enjoying the default B&W tone. I'm looking forward to unlocking more of these as well and wondering if some will potentially make things harder or easier depending on how drastically they change the visual style.
Gato Roboto meows with style and it was hard to take the mitts off the controller where I did. I want to see what weird and crazy boss fights are upcoming, what weapons I'll unlock and if I'll eventually unlock a jet-pack... I really want a cat in a mech, with a jetpack.
Stayed tuned for more on Gato Roboto in the future when it releases for PC and Nintendo Switch.