After checking out the Ubisoft booth I headed to the back of the PAX East show floor. What I found there was a funky indie game in the literal sense: Frobot
from Fugazo. The game stars the titular afro-sporting robot and his five, ahem, girlfriends, as they battle the disco-hating forces of the evil Microshaft corporation. The art direction and music are pure 70s funk, and all the dialog is written in humorous jive; refer to that one scene in Airplane if you’re not sure what I mean.
This funky fresh attitude is grafted onto a strange but effective gameplay mix, which combines the arcade classic Tank with the dungeons from the original Legend of Zelda. As Frobot you disco-tread your way through rooms in a top-down perspective, trashing Microshaft bots with your particle gun and solving puzzles with your tech abilities. Frobot starts the tutorial with all of his kit; a guided missile, a “heartstopper” mirror for reflecting enemy shots, remote mines and a hovering mirror ball you control with the Wii remote pointer.
I managed to shoot and puzzle my way through the tutorial easily enough, blowing up columns, activating pressure plates and ricocheting shots off walls and into unreachable switches. At the end of the first level, though, Microshaft nabs all of Frobot’s ladies, and as a result he loses most of his abilities (I feel the same way when I’m away from my girlfriend). I’m guessing this is where more of the Zelda mechanics come in, with Frobot restoring his inventory as he busts his fembot sidekicks out of Microshaft prison.
I also tried out the 4-player deathmatch, which was pretty hectic for a WiiWare game. I was dropped into an arena with three other players and duked it out with my trusty gun and all my disco-themed weapons. Chasing a frantic opponent around with an explosive mirror ball was pretty fun, but I had to watch my back with so many energy shots bouncing around the arena.
Frobot looks like a humorous, fresh take on some old gameplay mechanics and a robust package for a WiiWare game. I’m looking forward to getting my groove on when the game releases this summer, but for now here are some screenshots and gameplay videos.