Welcome to the SwitchArcade Roundup for April 30th, where we’re going to talk about A Robot Named Fight, and catch up on some Switch news. This might start off as a slow week, but we have Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hitting this week, and May is chock-full of titles both on the indie side and from AAA publishers. I’m looking forward to the Mega Man Legacy Collection and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary from Capcom, plus Hyrule Warriors hits the Switch this month! With the Switch’s portability, and the fact that games keep coming out, I have to focus on the Switch as my main gaming platform at this point (though I still keep an eye on mobile, of course), because I feel like I’ll get lost if I don’t focus on the Switch! Any of you feel the same way? Even with big titles like God of War hitting console, is the Switch still your platform of choice?
Game Impressions: A Robot Named Fight!
We don’t have any Metroid games on the Switch yet, but A Robot Named Fight‘s first console port feels all too appropriate for the Switch. This is a procedurally-generated, Metroid-inspired “pathfinder" game. You are a robot named Fight (hey, that’s the title!) that seeks to destroy the Megabeast. Your goal: explore the strange new world that you’ve discovered, collect upgrades, and send the Megabeast to its squishy doom. The game is like a procedurally-generated Super Metroid, and it is so incredibly well-made.
Many of its gameplay elements, and many of the items, feel familiar if you’ve played Super Metroid. Sadly, there isn’t a secret wall jump, so no sequence-breaking here…unless you’re really, really good, I suppose. The game follows that successful emotional sequence of events that made Super Metroid a classic, and its game design to be imitated so much: you land in a strange new world, you find obstacles you can’t pass, you find ways to pass them, you defeat giant bosses, you make your way eventually to a massive final boss. A Robot Named Fight adds in the wrinkle of permadeath, and a brand new world to explore each and every single time. Don’t worry: you can save and quit. In fact, each run might take you a decent amount of time in the early going, and the game is far less punishing than most roguelikes you’ve played because the pace is slower.
Sometimes, procedurally-generated games can feel soulless because the levels are generated chunks. But two things help: a consistent opening area that provides a sense of character, and then the pace of the game. You won’t be restarting enough for repeat pieces to keep appearing, so it takes a while before something feels old. I imagine developing level chunks that can procedurally create entire Metroidvania maps is really tough, but somehow this solo developer pulled it off!
A Robot Named Fight manages to simultaneously feel like a proper Super Metroid homage, while also making its own decisions with its theming. In particular, it goes for a more grotesque style, with the enemies having more of a ‘fleshy’ style, with weird appendages and pulsating mounds throughout the world. Also, certain elements like the slide and the shape of the health bars feel more like Mega Man than Metroid. Many of the upgrades you unlock are modifiers to your default shot, which vary from run to run. There are secrets to discover, such as the shrines where you can donate materials, and you don’t quite know what you will get until you have the materials and learn what their effects do. Which is all good: it makes the game feel like it’s not just ripping another game’s style, but it feels like a proper homage. Even the seeds are formatted similar to the NES Metroid’s password system.
The one downside to the format is that because this is a roguelike-style game, you essentially have to relearn where everything is. It does give you that feeling of starting fresh in an adventure each time, I suppose. However, it means that death is extremely punishing because you lose a lot of progress at once. You can revive once from save rooms, but these are sparingly placed across the landscape. You just really need to learn how to defeat the bosses. And try to pick up as many upgrades as possible, especially as having a lot of health helps out a lot in battle.
But because you start out fresh, it means that each experience feels unique in a way that few other procedurally-generated games manage to pull off. You don’t know which upgrades you’ll get in which order, and you’ll see parts that hint toward what you might get in the future, and see things that require backtracking. Again, this all feels like it required some intricate design, and a love of the design conventions in order to create this whole experience, and it all comes through in the final product. It all fells very Metroid-y, for sure, but not like a complete rip-off.
You might get frustrated with losing so much when you die, because of the game’s lengthier pace while still having permadeath, but that’s the price to having a fresh experience each time. I’m looking forward to sinking even more time into A Robot Named Fight, as it promises practically endless Metroidvania action, with new things to discover each time. Until Super Metroid hits the Switch in some format, this is perhaps the best Metroid facsimile you can get right now on Switch, while also existing with its own identity.
Sonic Mania Adventures: Part 2 up now
If you saw the Sonic Mania Plus trailer last week, you saw some more of the animation that also featured in Sonic Mania‘s intro. If you didn’t know, Sega commissioned the animators to produce five animated shorts. The first one was really cool, and the second one is also really charming, and out now. Plus, it has some footage of Tails in Sonic Mania Plus at the end!
Watch the first part here:
And watch that Sonic Mania Plus trailer again:
FIFA 18 World Cup Update releases on May 29th
While our American readers might not know what the World Cup is because the US isn’t involved this year, because US Soccer somehow can’t tap into the obscene well of athletic talent that the United States has that might just be undersized for football and basketball, and turn them into a top-flight soccer team. Anyway, that’s happening in Russia this year, and EA is updating FIFA 18 with all 32 national teams, the official match balls, all 12 stadiums, and the official trophy. Plus, international squad versions of players will be available in the Ultimate Team mode. The update hits all consoles, including the Switch, on May 29th, with the mobile update happening on June 6th.
Psyvariar Delta coming to North America via Dispatch Games
The Switch feels like it’s becoming a new landing spot for shoot ’em ups, with all the retro games and new ones that keep dropping on the platform. 2000 arcade game Psyvariar will arrive on the Switch later this year in an enhanced version called Psyvariar Delta, and publisher Dispatch Games will give it a release in North America. Check out the new trailer, and brush up on your bullet-grazing skills:
New Garage trailer
tinyBuild releases its brutal top-down shooter Garage on the Switch next week, and their latest trailer focuses on combat versus the game’s human enemies:
Keep an eye out every weekday for more SwitchArcade Roundups! We want to hear your feedback on Nintendo Switch coverage on TouchArcade. Comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!