What happens when you combine the action and atmosphere of games like Mega Man and Super Metroid but mix in a little cat charm into it? Your result is something as fun and silly as Gato Roboto. Although short and a little too similar in design to the games that inspired it, Gato Roboto is a funny take on the exploration one would have in a Metroid styled game. It has a few moments that really play up the idea of a cat controlling a mech, but it also has responsive controls and rewards for stepping into unknown territory.
The visuals of Gato Roboto mimic that of a Game Boy game, which might be easily compared to something like Metroid II: Return of Samus from Nintendo. The monochromatic look of everything might be too basic for some, but if you love the old style pixel art approach, you won’t mind the game’s graphical style. While exploring around, you can find cartridges that change the color of the visuals, but you’ll only be given more monochromatic palette choices. This seems like a very strong nod to the Game Boy Color’s ability to add color to original Game Boy games by giving players choices of colors to use for the screen. It might not change too much, but the options are nice to have.
Exploring around is exactly what you might expect if you’ve played games like Super Metroid. The story has a pilot crash onto an unknown planet and he needs his feline companion to help him survive. The cat you control can enter into a mech and traverse the environment with ease, upgrading it with new abilities as you progress. The more you explore, the better chance you’ll have to reach new areas and find secrets like health upgrades and new cartridges to change the look of the screen. The abilities you gain for the mech are similar to Samus Aran’s abilities from Metroid, right down to some specific details.
While the majority of things you find throughout Gato Roboto are strong nods to Metroid, the few things that are unique to the game are pretty funny. You can exit out of the mech to crawl into smaller areas and swim in the water to find new secrets and get around different obstacles. Unfortunately, getting hit while out of the mech is instant death, which can force you back to a previous save point. This doesn’t get too bad, but there are points in the game where the difficulty spikes up since the game requires you to navigate an area outside of the mech. You can’t defend yourself when roaming around without the mech, so it makes these sections pretty difficult for some people.
Boss battles are also challenging. They require you to have quick reflexes and utilize new abilities as you pick them up to overcome what they throw at you. There aren’t a lot of boss battles in the game however, since most spots that block your progression only require you to clear out all enemies before they open up again. The bosses that do appear are funny contraptions that are related to the plot, which goes with the theme of a cat driving a robot. They may be short-lived but they’ll definitely get a chuckle out of you in some way.
You can finish Gato Robot in around five hours or less, depending on how fast you move around the places you visit. Everything is connected and you can revisit areas once you gain new abilities, but the stages themselves aren’t very big and won’t take long to completely map out. If you like Metroid style games with a bit of a twist, then Gato Robot will be some fun for you over a short time.
This review was based on a digital review code for Gato Robot on the Nintendo Switch, provided by Devolver Digital.