Welcome back to Big Mean Flash Gamer, and after last week's vitriol I'm sure you're all set for awesomeness. Well, I've got it in spades with today's game, a wonderful little puzzle/platformer from our good friends Max Games entitled Robot Wants Kitty.
Sometimes it really is the simplest concepts that make for the best games. Take Robot Wants Kitty, for instance. There's a robot and a cat. The robot really wants the cat. Like, really wants it. But there's a snag. The cat is stuck at the end of a hallway which has been bricked over by monsters. Why did they do that? They're just assholes, I guess.
When the game begins you're not able to do much more than run left and right. You don't even have the ability to jump, so all you can do at first is try to avoid the baddies completely. Fortunately there's an upgrade that gives you a spring in your step not too far away; others are dotted around the large, labyrinthine level and you'll need every one if you're going to rescue that kitty. Better get a move on, though, because time is of the essence and your score is dependent on how quickly you can complete the game. The bad news is that dying adds twenty seconds to your final time. The good news is that you can cut a second for every monster you kill with the laser upgrade.
As if I ever needed a reason to shoot red monsters with a laser gun. But once you've got the laser in your little metallic paws none of the beasties are particularly troublesome, allowing you to figure your way around the many twists and turns of the level as you try to locate keys, upgrade your system and get to that cat.
Which isn't to say Robot Wants Kitty becomes a cakewalk as soon as you have some firepower. You still need to watch your step, lest you fall into a pit of boiling acid or get caught off guard by a roaming monster. But checkpoints have been kindly placed throughout the game to save you having to march all the way across the level to get back to wherever it was you died. Other games should take note of this - it saves time and keeps the player from screaming curses to your good name late into the night.
Don't tell me I'm not the only one who does that because I'm not.
The look and feel of the game is charmingly retro, with clunky 8-bit graphics and a plinking MIDI soundtrack that amazingly doesn't make one want to swallow their own tongue in annoyance. I will admit that if you don't pay attention you can get the controls mixed up; on more than one occasion I rocketed towards an enemy when I had planned to vaporise it. If you ever kicked back on a Spectrum or Amstrad, however, Robot Wants Kitty should bring back fond memories.
Death is naturally inevitable and, to be honest, some areas just set you up to fail. For example, don't shoot at the giant multi-eyed blue blob that spits laser bubbles into the air. Just don't do it. You can't kill it, even with rapid-fire shots. You're just going to piss it off and then it's going to crush you. Likewise, the ceiling decked out in acid-spitting stalactites is just taking the piss. You can get through there with a rocket pack but if you don't figure out the almost non-existent pattern of drops you'll be melted before you ever get close to the other side of the room. And no, you don't have to run through that room, but what are ya, chicken?
Still, it's all worth it when you reach that end game scene and see the robot happily hugging his kitty. Squeezing it ever so tightly, kitty's eyes bulging out of its sockets... um, maybe we should take the kitty away from the robot? We can't? The lasers? Oh, right.
So, yes, Robot Wants Kitty - proving once and for all that even metal men are capable of love.