Gato Roboto is one of those games I never knew I wanted to play. It’s a metroidvania, borrowing the design and pallette of an old computer game, starring a cat in a mech suit on a mission to save its owner. The events that led to this point are inconsequential, really. It’s a cat in a fuckin’ mech suit. What else do you need?
In the indie world, there are really two types of games. First, are the games that push for something different. This includes games like Celeste and Kentucky Route Zero, games that choose to build on what came before, but present something new and unique. Celeste sought to reframe discussions of mental health and accessibility in video games, and it was very successful on both of those fronts. And when Act 1 came out in 2013, no other games were seeking to tackle capitalism and power structures with as much clarity and decisiveness as KRZ. These are games that want to change the landscape of what the medium can do, and the results of how they attempt to tackle are not readily available for months, or even years.
The second type of indie games you usually see are the ones that fall a bit more on the fun side of the spectrum. What I mean by that is that they don’t really try to add anything to the discourse through video games, and they don’t need to. That’s not their purpose. The games are just fun. Gato Roboto falls in this category. It plays like your usual metroidvania game. There are blocked paths and new abilities/puzzles that allow you to access those blocked paths. There is back-tracking, and a story that is revealed in bits and pieces. There is a solid level design that is clearly intentional, and there’s a requirement of the player to suspend disbelief and forget that the developer is leading them around by the nose. It’s by far my favorite type of game, and it’s always a treat to play a good one.
And Gato Roboto is a good one. The story is a lot of fun, and at 4 hours, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The actual technical aspects of the game itself are pretty good. The puzzles are all fun, and the game does give you the ability to leave your mech suit and access new areas of the map that you can’t access in your full suit. There are a few collectibles as well, which mostly boil down to health increases and “cartridges” that change the graphical overlay of the game. There is a healthy balance to find in main game and collectibles, and I can see how someone might want a bit more on the collectibles, but for me, I found the ratio pretty good. I don’t usually 100-percent these games, unless there’s something really special to the game itself, so a low amount of collectibles don’t really bother me. But, if there’s one thing you should know about the game, it’s this: The game is short, and there’s not a lot to it.
That said, I loved it. All of it. I mean, it’s a cat in a fuckin’ mech suit. What else could you possibly want?
Mini-Review: Thirty Flights of Loving
I have no idea what actually happens in this game. I’m not even sure this is even a game, really. It’s a collection of inter-connected short scenes that seem to tell a story about a spy mission and an alcohol-smuggling operation. The scenes are ordered in a non-linear fashion, leaving it up to the player to figure out what actually happens in the story. It’s a neat way to tell a story, and I always enjoy games that take risks to try something new. That said, if you have the opportunity to play it, you should go in understanding exactly what’s happening. It’s experimental and it’s interesting, but there’s not a ton here to see.