RoboBlitz Review

Epic Games’ various iterations of its Unreal Engine have powered games for many years, and in itself has grown to be a very popular and versatile middleware renderer. With the third version of the engine powering some fantastic upcoming games, you might expect that the first game that’ll unveil its power and universality will be a massive debut. But to many people’s surprise (and amazement), the first game that uses the Unreal Engine 3 is a relatively quaint and easy puzzle game called RoboBlitz. Developed by a small independent company in L.A. called Naked Sky Entertainment, the game uses the engine’s physics system to simulate its game play and its various puzzles. In a nutshell, RoboBlitz is part puzzle and part action. The visuals are very stunning (especially the textures and lighting) and even though this game is short, it’s sweet and gives folks a preview of what the Unreal Engine 3 can portray.

The story revolves around the routines of a small robot named Blitz aboard an abandoned space station. One day (or night, since it’s always dark in space) the station comes under attack from space "pirates" called the megaNODED. With the help of a robot pal (named Carl), it’s your job to power up the space cannon that your space station houses, which is weird. Why would this station be abandoned if it houses a huge cannon? Anyway, there are seven levels and there are three to four sections in each level. Each level pertains to powering or fixing some aspect of the space cannon, and they can be completed in any order.

The first level I tried takes place in the Ammunition Building, where you build and load the shell for the cannon. The first section of the level has Blitz gathering and mashing scrap metal to physically build the shell. You gather metal from barrels that are strewn around the level, or from a few tiny enemy robot drones that infest the station’s venting system, and feed it to the huge metal crusher where its melted down and molded. The next section is to transport the completed shell to the actual cannon; Blitz has to open various doors to bring the shell to where it has to go. The last section has a fight against an actual megaNODE, and then you load the shell.

As I stated, the gameplay mainly encompasses physics. Blitz is a pretty small robot, so combat can be pretty daunting at times. But through some pretty clever puzzles and environmental interactions, the gameplay opens up. For example, in the level above you can have Blitz physically pick up barrels and drop them onto the conveyer belt to the metal crusher, or you can use Blitz’s small EMP rifle to shoot down the little enemy robots so they’ll drop right into the crusher. The size of the object will be taken into account if Blitz tries to carry it. An object like a barrel or a box Blitz will carry with ease, but with something like a vent cap or a large box, Blitz can only drag along. The weight of the carried object also comes into play when attacking with it. When Blitz carries a decently sized box, he can use it to crush smaller enemies or use it in a spin-attack. In a little neat trick, when you crush one of the smaller robot drones, the rest will scamper off in fear.

Speaking of Blitz’s weaponry, you’ll gain access to his weapons and special items through the gathering of little chips called Upgradium, which is hidden throughout the levels. Some weapons include the already mentioned EMP rifle, a standard plasma rifle or a little fireworks-like rocket launcher. This weapon is your typical rocket launcher, but when you fire the rockets at, say, a barrel or smaller-sized enemies, the rockets will grab it and hoist it up in the air before exploding in a beautifully colorized explosion. Another weapon is the hover gun, which, of course, makes things hover. Attach it to crates and cross over dangerous environments with ease.

The visuals are a strong plus in this game. Even at first glance, the textures and the lighting are great. Different surfaces will reflect depending on how much light is in the room, and explosions or any bright casts of light will sear your eyeballs (in a good way). For example, when you create your different weapons, the searing light of the building process encases the whole room in a bright glow. Blitz himself is shown in great detail too; take too much damage and Blitz will start smoking and searing or if he’s fine, you can see the light shine right off his paint-job. The game uses procedural textures, so that means the game looks great but doesn’t use a lot of space. RoboBlitz is incredibly small space-wise, but still has the visuals of games that are over several gigs. Keep in mind, though, that for the PC version you need a video card that supports Shader Model 3.0.

One of the largest downfalls is that the action gameplay is pretty dwarfed when compared to the puzzle gameplay. There are also some minor annoyances with the physics gameplay. For example, I found it pretty hard to get Blitz to jump over certain things, mainly elevated platforms in the earlier areas. Blitz can’t jump very high, and when you’re stuck in a small pit where you don’t have a lot of run to move, you’re pretty much screwed. Sound is nothing to go ape for, but it’s not horrendous. There is virtually no dialogue (since they’re robots) so you’ll have some reading to do.

All and all, RoboBlitz is a fun, beautiful, and fairly simple puzzle game. You’re given plenty of chances to do puzzles, so if you die at a place, you can just instantly respawn a few moments before the events. The game also has some neat charm; have Blitz idle for a little while and he’ll look around, look at you with a questioned expression and eventually, he’ll fall asleep. The visual style is pretty neat, as it combines a small cute-factor with some awesome textures. Combine all these features with the $15 price tag on Steam and a 1200 point price tag on Xbox Live Arcade, and you’ve got some cheap fun for a few evenings.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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