If you're an arcade action addict then today's application should attract you, as you control an articulated android who is tasked with anti-virus duties across the globe. Yes, as strange as it might sound, this game puts you in control of a virtual robot who wonders the plains of cyberspace dispatching viruses and other nasty bits of code lurking here and there.
Usually, the description and title graphic of a game give me some sort of clue as to how a game will work before I start playing it. Super Robot was different, it gave nothing away about its game mechanics. Fortunately, you are given instructions when you play for the first time.
Instructions reveal this is Bomberman in disguise!
Those instructions explain to you how you have a D-pad for wondering around the game's two dimensional maze-like levels, and another touchscreen button for planting bombs. It was at this point that the game formula began to look somewhat familiar to me.
Yes, they mean you!
Indeed this game is actually a remake of the classic Bomberman (also known as Dyna Blaster). This is no bad thing, as it was a brilliant game that many people who are my age will remember fondly.
Super Robot in action
The trick with Bomberman was to plant bombs, which would explode in four directions, to both take out enemies and to blast away temporary blocks. Doing the latter lets you get to otherwise inaccessible parts of each map, which enables you get to power-ups and the exit (which becomes active when you kill all of the baddies).
The campaign takes you across the globe
Your little robot has a certain amount of health, but coming into contact with viruses or being hit by his own bombs will deplete that health until it hits zero. At that point you can replay the level or restart the campaign. You can avoid death by employing several strategies. The most obvious is to stay out of harm's way; the other is careful use of power-ups, which we'll come back to later. Avoiding damage is trickier than it might sound as the bombs you plant have a time delay. Therefore, to actually catch an enemy you need to study its patrol route, and not get so close that it deviates to come after you. Then you need to time the planting of your bomb so that it goes off at just the right moment when your target is passing by.
Example of a power-up
Easy eh? Well possibly, if you have a good sense of timing. However, Super Robot shares a playability issue with the old ZX Spectrum incarnations of Bomberman – a severe lack of fluidity. For example, you cannot drop a bomb while moving, and it feels as if it takes longer than intuition would suggest for the robot to start moving again after stopping. In turn, this leads to frequent contact with the digital bad guys and being hit by your own bombs. With that complaint in mind, there's a paradoxical sense of enjoyment in trying to overcome adversity, and to get your brain working in time with the game engine.
The Super Robot Shop!
To make things more interesting there is an inventory of power-ups at your disposal. These can increase your blast range, top up your health, and more. There's a limited supply of each so you have to be careful with how you use them, and make a bee-line for picking up replacements. However, if you do hit a dry spell, you can visit the shop between levels (and sometimes in-level shops too), in which you can spend "memory points", which is something else you can pick up during gameplay.
Overall, this is good fun, and not bad for £1.00 in the Nokia Store, and while I enjoyed playing it, the lack of fluidity was a little too frustrating for me to recommend this one.