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Gato Roboto

Developer: doinksoft Publisher: Devolver Digital
30 May 2019
Gato Roboto - cover art
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150 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#2,057 All-time
#92 for 2019
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Title
What seems to be the key ingredient to succeeding with any new intellectual property? Put a fluffy little animal front and center. It could be a dog, rabbit, even an alpaca to cater to that niche audience of irreverent hipsters and or the vital Latin-American demographic. But really, it’s best to stick with a domesticated creature, and which fluffy animal seems to have tapped into the collective consciousness the most efficiently? Cats. The little buggers have persisted as the dominant pet in the entertainment landscape. Also, there seems to be a prevailing trend of interest in putting furry animals in mechanical marvels like mech suits. Is it the dichotomy between the size of the cat and the mech that grasps people’s interests, or is it the pairing of something cute, organic, and mostly harmless with something horrifyingly cold and destructive? Whatever the core appeal is, indie Metroidvania title Gato Roboto shamelessly taps into this phenomenon by placing a cute little kitty in the most futuristic of kinetic death machines (and the clever wordplay in the title also grips that bankable Latin-American demographic as well. Nicely done). The question that remains is if Gato Roboto can still craft something of substance while showcasing this arguably cheap gimmick as the crux of its foundation.

Surprisingly, a cat piloting a mech suit as the premise for a game is an inspired decision. That is, it would be a downright laughable one if it were the premise of a game in any genre other than the Metroidvania. It’s been well documented that Metroid’s primary influence is the iconic 1979 science-fiction horror film Alien, hence the female protagonist persisting through the darkest crevices of a hostile space environment with indescribably terrifying creatures galore to contend with. While Ridley was an obvious case of main character syndrome in her respective horror film, she wasn’t the sole survivor from that mission like the annals of pop culture have often wrongfully noted. Lest we forget that an adorable orange tabby cat named Jones (nicknamed “Jonesy”) used his small size and his advanced cat-like nimbleness to evade the Xenomorph and escape with Ripley. Given that this cat managed to cross the proverbial finish line of survival with the movie’s only notable human character, I’d say that cats have proven themselves to be competent space warriors. Kiki, the eponymous “gato,” crashes her master Gary’s spacecraft on an alien planet after he receives a distress signal. As either a punishment for wrecking his ship and or an excuse to sit on his lazy ass and cheer from the sidelines, he tasks Kiki with trekking out to find the source of the dissonance.

Gato Roboto’s visual style presents an interesting idea. Many Metroidvania titles obviously ape the core design philosophy of Nintendo’s flagship science-fiction series, but Gato Roboto almost begs the question of “what if the Metroid series began with the first game’s protagonist as a mirror of Jones instead of Ripley?” Gato Roboto delves into this deep hypothetical with its intentionally minimalistic aesthetic. Most Metroidvania games are inspired from Super Metroid rather than its NES predecessor because the latter was so primitive that it would be more appropriate to refer to it as a treatment for the genre rather than a rough draft. Yet, one saving grace from the first Metroid game was that its rudimentary minimalism exuded the sparse eeriness of space effectively, even if it was inadvertent on the developer’s part. Before Gato Roboto, I had never played another Metroidvania game that tapped into this deferred aspect of Metroid’s make up. However, Gato Roboto decided to approach this minimalistic factor from Metroid with black and white pixels, since 8-bit graphics had become kitsch in the years before its release. Nothing is prominently defined here on this space station Kiki finds herself, and the prevailing darkness of the background with the ghost white properties of the foreground evoke that same sense of isolation and confusion as the first Metroid did.

Gato Roboto doesn’t only borrow assets from the first Metroid game. It seems that Gato Roboto has taken a helping from underrated GBA title Metroid Fusion in how the game approaches its level progression. Similar to that game, the hub of the facility branches down to five distinctive areas: the aqueducts, the heater, the ventilation, and the incubator. The final path will take Kiki to the laboratory, but a sentient supercomputer will lock this area from Kiki until she completes the missions in the other ones. Each area is distinctive enough, but I remember criticizing Metroid Fusion for using this type of progression. I think that Gato Roboto can get away with this form of streamlined progression because it's a new IP, and it doesn’t have to meet the colossal standards that a pioneering icon like Metroid does. That, and the game never explicitly points to a direct objective on the map, spoon feeding progress at every waking moment. Gato Roboto still respects the player’s intelligence and allows them to become acclimated to the Metroidvania staple of using the map as a consistent point of reference. If the game insisted on not having a map as a call back to the first Metroid game not having one, that would be a differently dreadful story. Also, like with any competent Metroidvania, exploration will also reward Kiki with health upgrades and cassette tapes that not only grant the player additional color pallets for the game’s graphics, but a certain number of them can be traded for weapon upgrades.

Blaster Master, another NES contemporary to Metroid whose place as an early Metroidvania title is more contentiously disputed, is also an evident influence on Gato Roboto. Simply put, Kiki can exit the mech and roam around the grounds with her own gameplay mechanics like the protagonist of that game. Although Kiki might need to exit the mech to crawl through the tight spaces of ventilation shafts or prove that cats can swim if they are coaxed into it out of a desperate situation, leaving the suit behind comes with a severe caveat. Kiki’s naked state will render her completely vulnerable to enemy harm, and she’ll be decimated in one hit which sends the player back to the nearest save room. This dynamic between all three gameplay modes in Gato Roboto is a constant that shakes up the Metroidvania gameplay. The mech suit is the only one of these granted with consistent upgrades, but its capabilities never superseded the use of Kiki or the submarine mech used for underwater combat. Gato Roboto’s variation between the three modes is somewhat refreshing in a genre where one character gradually becomes the almighty being of power and traversal by the end with all upgrades on hand. Even with this dynamic dividing the aptness of the modes, Gato Roboto is still on the easier side of the spectrum thanks to save rooms being littered all over the facility.

Enemies in Gato Roboto are easily dealt with because they are all animals with weak defenses to laser blasts and rocket launches. However, there is one rat whose various machines serve as the game’s more formidable bosses. He appears with a new deadly device for each area, and his encounters are the only source of challenge the game provides. As the story progresses, the player becomes privy to how this mouse has the supernatural ability to talk and where his persistent vindictiveness for Kiki stems from, for it’s actually not just a cheeky point of subversion between predator and prey. Throughout the game, Kiki finds audio logs like Bioshock where a mad scientist details the struggle of preserving the life of his sick dog. Apparently, the beacon that sent Gary’s ship crashing down was a ruse from the mad scientist to enact his evil plan of swapping bodies with Gary, for his consciousness is currently trapped in the rat. After he succeeds with Gary, the mad scientist also has plans to swap his dog’s consciousness for Kikis. He fails in one epic final duel with Kiki, but Gary’s body is never recovered. Who knew that a game starring a cat in a mech suit could also have an interesting plot with a sympathetic villain?

To conclude my thesis that wondered if Gato Roboto was more than the sum of its parts, the answer is a clear yes. Gato Roboto is an excitingly fun Metroidvania that harkens back to the genre’s minimal roots while presenting enough deviation from the genre’s tropes to craft something refreshing. Some may decry it’s too short and easier than most Metroidvanias, but I think the compact experience is more short and sweet than fleeting. It’s a game with a cat in a mech suit, for god’s sake. Lighten up and live a little.
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Erockthestrange 2023-05-12T04:17:17Z
2023-05-12T04:17:17Z
7.0
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Snack sized metroidvania
Gato Roboto is a very casual take on the metroidvania genre, or at least as much as the genre allows it to be. Very clearly influenced by the metroid side of things, it sees you play as a cute cat that can operate a robot.. Its quite a linear game, with optional powerups being acessible by backtracking once you discover the appropriate ability, and its quite brief, taking less than 3 hours to be.

The moment to moment gameplay is fine. The robot really feels overpowered against common enemies and environmental hazards, though the boss fights present difficulty spikes that feel a bit unbalanced. On the other hand a few sections has you playing without the protection of the robot, which means one hit deaths, and these tend to be a bit frustrating due to the high momentum of the movement. But the challenging is never too high, so it ends up being a pleasant breeze most of the time.

Its visuals are pixelated and black and white, but though they are simple there is a lot of charm that gets across through its animations.

Story is simple and too the point, with a lot of comedic undertones that add to the light hearted feel of this game..

Really the game feels like baby's first metroidvania, with a low difficulty and scope for what is usually synonimous of the genre. That said, even its brief runtime presents plenty of enjoyable gameplay, enough to make it a third tier level recommendation for people into the genre.
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Threntall 2022-03-09T22:17:06Z
2022-03-09T22:17:06Z
3.5
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Metroid but you get to play as a cat piloting a mech suit, basically a recipe for instant greatness. In all honesty though this is a pretty cool game that I appreciate for how concise it is, but also don't think it's particularly special either, just a solid game. I feel that a lot of this has to do with the fact that despite the game having quite a few interesting ideas bouncing around, they never feel explored in any real way beyond the surface, leading to an experience that can end up a tad shallow. My main concern on this front is that while elements of the world as a whole contribute to exploring the duality of player ability when in and out of the mech suit, it can also often feel a bit more like playing the game in the mech and then once in a while having to get out and traverse a room or two and then going back, not really evolving the gameplay in any meaningful way beyond you now dying in a hit when you're out of the suit.

The level design also felt a bit hit or miss with me, though in a far less direct way than the way the mech suit was handled. Overall while the main paths felt tightly focused, especially contributing a lot to atmosphere and a sense of scale of the facility the game takes place in, the optional stuff feels far less engaging in general. Part of this is due to the placement of a lot of optional paths requiring the player to do a lot of tedious backtracking to the point where each area feels about 50% dedicated to going through properly and then the other half being replaying bits of the stage to collect all the secrets, causing the gameplay flow to be in a weird spot where it never finds the time to properly settle into a particular style. The difficulty balance is a bit all over the place as well, as most of the game feels extremely easy due to how strong your mech suit is, but then the bosses suddenly feel like a significant step up, the issue being that the game then falls down into being very easy again immediately afterwards. This once again feels like it affects the flow of the game pretty negatively, as while the boss fights aren't especially impossible or anything, it feels like enough of a disparity that it's really easily noticeable, and this happens with basically every boss in the game.

Despite my complaints however, I still think that Gato Roboto is a pretty good game for a few reasons. For one, despite my complaints about the difficulty spikes of each boss fight, the actual fights themselves feel very tightly designed. While consistently simplistic, they manage to still provide a nice variety of challenges and have patterns that are usually pretty fun to avoid, and they make for consistent highlights in the experience. I also think it's pretty impressive just how much the artists got out of a completely monochromatic palette, as the world feels extremely lively and varied, with a ton of clear detail in everything to make for an interesting world to work your way through. I also really appreciate that the game has options to soften the colour scheme as well, because I could definitely see myself getting a headache otherwise if I had to play this with full visual intensity. The game is also absolutely full of charm, and because it's so short, the novelty of being a cat never really wears off to me either, along with the nice balance of quirkiness with overall bleak overtones that make their way into the narrative time and time again.

On the whole I think that this is definitely worth a play, being a decently made, albeit a bit shallow metroidvania title that's over in 3 hours. I genuinely do appreciate when a game is willing to have a shorter runtime like this without feeling as if it's sacrificing anything in the process, just being happy to end when it ought to instead of carrying on well past that point. Plus, and I repeat, you get to play as a cat in a mech suit, and that's inherently one of the coolest things ever.
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Kempokid 2022-02-10T12:50:23Z
2022-02-10T12:50:23Z
3.5
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Cute Kitten in his Cute Ship shoots Cute Enemies with his cute cannon. Cute!

Gato Roboto is a short Metroidvania which mostly gets by due to a cute coat of paint, and some fun boss battles. If a cat trotting around in a robot suit is cute it gets even cuter when it decides to pilot a Super Mario Land [スーパーマリオランド]-esque submarine.

What holds it back is that it's wicked short and really has little innovation in the genre. It's got no shame in borrowing the screw attack from Super Metroid as well as some other more pseudo morph ball techniques (some seem to be borrowed from games like Axiom Verge). Unless you are out of the suit, nearly no enemies outside bosses possess any threat whatsoever. You can blast through most of them before they can really attack!

For it's short length there is little to return to unless you live to speed run games likes this as there are little secrets to discover that isn't specifically well hidden (which feels like a big miss for a Metroidvania styled game). I can only really recommend this game if you have already played all the other major Metroidvania type games to death and need your fix. +half a star for being a cute cat.
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unj 2020-11-06T20:50:44Z
2020-11-06T20:50:44Z
3.0
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Catalog

666LILGILGAMESH666 Gato Roboto 2024-06-15T20:14:57Z
Windows
2024-06-15T20:14:57Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rippeul Gato Roboto 2024-05-31T21:07:54Z
2024-05-31T21:07:54Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
leftdevices Gato Roboto 2024-05-07T14:47:59Z
2024-05-07T14:47:59Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Solanum Gato Roboto 2024-04-07T13:28:41Z
2024-04-07T13:28:41Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
QuodDixi3161 Gato Roboto 2024-04-06T17:09:00Z
2024-04-06T17:09:00Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
wallrooseyes Gato Roboto 2024-04-06T00:39:02Z
2024-04-06T00:39:02Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
NibiruShiranui Gato Roboto 2024-03-24T05:41:19Z
2024-03-24T05:41:19Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eliottstaten Gato Roboto 2024-03-14T07:33:31Z
2024-03-14T07:33:31Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Action52 Gato Roboto 2024-03-11T12:53:37Z
2024-03-11T12:53:37Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bigcrunchbar Gato Roboto 2024-03-11T06:31:43Z
2024-03-11T06:31:43Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PurpLeCatO2 Gato Roboto 2024-03-07T21:02:03Z
2024-03-07T21:02:03Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Helyion Gato Roboto 2024-02-25T22:15:23Z
2024-02-25T22:15:23Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Jaxijin 2019-06-26 22:30:50.356883+00
    Need a release of the soundtrack for this asap
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  • Xionus 2020-11-03 01:55:40.032039+00
    The sound design of this game is top-notch
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  • Matthew008 2022-04-10 06:21:04.330983+00
    feel like I havent played metroid enough to enjoy this game
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  • Marmalade88 2022-12-24 04:33:57.712672+00
    neato
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  • watercolour 2023-07-09 22:08:15.352491+00
    gato
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  • orhunbalkaya 2024-02-09 20:42:12.085309+00
    gato roboto
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