Saturday, February 2

Review: Robothorium [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Roguelikes have certainly done well on the Switch and pairing that style with different genres is always a little exciting to see how things turn out. In the case of Robothorium the target genre happens to be the dungeon-crawling RPG. Providing plentiful choices in the composition of your party and how you then upgrade their skills, it has opportunities to shine but as you go the combat can be a bit too repetitive and bland and the story just doesn’t offer a great enough hook to compensate.

Starting out you’ll get to choose from a relatively small pool of robots to make up your initial part of three. This is a good start and while perhaps you won’t be able to do anything too crazy with your base composition at least you get to make some decisions right away. Working through each dungeon you’ll hit random choices at times, deciding how to deal with a specific situation and hoping to keep a low profile, not attracting attention. The percentages on individual choices can often seem a bit random and odd, but perhaps that’s the point.

Combat can be fun, especially as your party grows, and gets to be quite strategic. While perhaps the game is a bit buff happy, you’ll have times where you’ve got such a substantial stack of buffs on your characters you lose track of what they all mean, there’s quite a substantial number of varied skills with different effects that are vital to learn to use effectively. Attacks that hit columns or rows require some strategy, and skills that can spread buffs between enemies are specific ones to look out for. Unfortunately, these tactics you can work out may work a bit too well too consistently because once you get into a good groove you don’t tend to deviate from form.

You will acquire and even have opportunities to craft new gear to further juice up your team but this is an area where mostly it felt linear. Many pieces of equipment are specific only to certain robots so there aren’t as many critical decisions opportunities as there could be. Throw in a story that is often talked through but just never really clicked enough to be of interest and it was hard not to have my interest wane as I went, even as the fights got a bit bigger and more intense.

Robothorium doesn’t have any particularly glaring flaws, and for people who think a roguelike RPG in and of itself sounds fun it may well be worth the price of admission. Perhaps if you’re determined not to just follow the path of what works and stick with it, instead continuing to try new combinations and experimenting, it can keep your level of interest sustained for a while. While I wouldn’t say there’s clearly any major details of issues that stand out, in the end it’s just hard to be enthusiastic about nonetheless.

Score: 6.5

  • Plenty of opportunities to customize your group by members and with individual skills
  • Combat has a definite strategic component to it, and you can pull of powerful combinations of attacks and buffs once you get rolling

  • Once you latch onto effective combat tactics they can be a hard set of habits to break, generally leading to combat becoming more generic at times
  • While there’s a story involving multiple factions that responds to choices you make it never sucked me in