With a metactric score of 49 when writing this review I might have passed this one by, but my affinity for pixely graphics and throwback gameplay compelled me to give this game a shot.
In Bad Bots, you play as Sam McRae aboard the Titan Hauler in this side-scrolling 'metrovania' style shooter. With a plot right out of an Asimov novel, Sam McRae finds himself the only survivor of a robotic uprising incited by a malevolent AI; a story we are all familiar with, but maybe originality isn't what this game is going for.
I've spent just about a half-hour in game by the time of doing this review, maybe that's too short but in my opinion it was easy to see where the game was going. In either case, feel free to take my review with a grain of salt due to my lack of time in the game.
In a very crowded market of side-scrollers does Bad Bots have what it takes to stand a head taller than the rest? Personally, I don't think so. Maybe it's just my affinity for this sort of games but I feel like Bad Bots could have been a good game but the game's overall lack of polish and thoughtfulness hold it back. First of all, there's very little music in the game, I even thought the game was broken at first. I suspect it was aiming for a Half-Life vibe but I don't think it achieves this. In Half-life there are many other sound effects and visuals to occupy your attention, but with Bad Bots you're left with an aural void that doesn't feel particularly artistic and more like the developers trying to save money. I mentioned previously that this game lacked thoughtfulness; unlike a well thought out game of this genre where every room and enemy is placed with intention, rooms in this game seem to be thrown in arbitrarily and filled with rows of identical enemies. It's also nearly impossible to avoid being hit as enemies shoot with laser precision (hey, they're robots after all) through all manner of platforms and other obstetrical. To compensate the level is loaded with copious amounts of ammo and health and in my book this is a sign of weak level design.
In my first 30 minutes of gameplay I was able to make it to the first boss; they actually busted out the music for this battle. The boss quickly fell to my weapon in the matter of seconds
. This lack of challenge doesn't inspire me to keep playing and leaves me with an empty gaming experience. I supect the challenge level would increase later on, but based on the previous gameplay how much of this challenge is derived from unavoidable damage taken from laser accurate gunfire.
Bad Bots appears to be a port of a Xbox game so it does support USB controllers. Conversely it seems they put minimal effort into doing a proper PC port as it lacks any options to rebind keys or even view what the keyboard controls art. Even the ingame control hits still show the Xbox buttons when you are using a keyboard/mouse. Playing with the keyboard and mouse literally required me to guess what the buttons are.
On the positive side, besides for the pixely graphics and retro gameplay (which is entirely subjective) the feel on destroying enemies is quite good. The game features storyboards that narrate the story and the overall presentation is decent but the previously mentioned flaws keep me from recommending this title. It's a shame as I feel this game did have potential.