MicroBot

Review

posted 2/2/2011 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
One Page Platforms: 360
MicroBot seems like an interesting concept on paper. The twin stick shooter involves navigating a human body to locate and destroy the source of an infesting, mechanized virus. Along the way, defeating the robotic infection will grant you microbes which can be used for upgrading your defending microscopic robot.

I had three immediate correlations to make with MicroBot. It felt like a combination of Trauma Team’s theme and setting (but with significantly better graphics and design), Spore’s upgrade system (particularly in the initial microbe levels) and, given my recent completion of it, Qlione’s cramped shooter experience.


Once the glamor of floating through an unknown patient’s bloodstreams and exploring their body wears off, players will soon realize that most levels are fairly similar. Some may be more gastric looking (the pulmonary system) while others are painted in blood-red, but the obviously inaccurate aspects of the level (like fish chomping at you, for instance) throw any attempt for realism out the window. There is a particular labyrinth-like design to all of them under a top-down perspective but save for new colors and a few new features, most levels feel incredibly similar.

I was expecting a more educational approach to be subtly introduced within the context of the game. Something akin to an Osmosis Jones of a game could have benefited MicroBot on the basis of a storyline as well as adding value to the overall experience. There is, however, no storyline to experience.


Even without the beef of a storyline to fill this game out, I would have been sufficiently happy with reliable and entertaining gameplay. Unfortunately, I soon found that to be remiss, as well. The first noticeably aggravating gameplay feature is the power of fluid that you will have to push against in order to reach certain locations. The game literally fights your efforts to explore the levels and locate hidden items called buckyballs. Exploring is never encouraged to the player because of these hindrances. The main, and only goal always amounts to escaping the level as quickly as possible.

Playing MicroBot, I felt as if I was being trolled by the developers. Many of the game mechanics - including the counter-productive fluid - work against you rather than for you. I am constantly given the impression that my enemies are at a greater advantage than I, even with the slowly progressing and very expensive upgrades to my weapons.
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