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Are you a fan of cute kittens and Mech Robots? What about cute kittens inside Mech robots? Well, with Gato Roboto, you can get the best of both worlds! Developed by Doinksoft, Gato Roboto is an old-school platformer about a soldier and his cat Kiki who become stranded on a planet after their ship crashes. The soldier is stuck in the ship but Kiki managed to escape and must now complete their mission: investigating the planet.
This seems like a strange premise because, well, it is! You are controlling a cat who does not do much at the start other than climb walls and apparently can hold her breath for a long time. However, shortly into the game you stumble upon a mech suit that will grant you the ability to start facing your fears and take out all the hostile life forms the planet has to offer. Successfully having a theme like this takes a level of charm that I feel they nailed just right. The dialogue felt goofy and a cat in a mech suit makes no sense, and yet the game felt so natural.
From a gameplay perspective, Gato Roboto is very quick and snappy. You are easily able to run and jump from room to room exploring all that the abandoned facility on this planet has to offer. This was great since, as usual in the Metroidvania genre, there is a bit of backtracking as you pick up new abilities or unlock areas. This never felt boring though, as much of the backtracking revolved around finding those additional power ups and audio logs scattered throughout.
The combat felt very fluid and similar to something you would see in an old school Metroid game. Jump, dash and shoot your way through all the various enemies. The game does not add anything groundbreaking to the genre, but it highlights some of the best aspects of why this game style can be so satisfying. Once you get the hang of your mech suit, you really feel powerful and ready to take on anything. That’s when they hit you with the bosses! Each boss is designed in a way to perfect one of the many mechanics in the game making you feel like more of a pro once you mastered that technique. The bosses are definitely much tougher than the various minions you fight but after a few attempts can be taken out easily once you learn their patterns.
I also enjoyed the variation of using your suit and other contraptions throughout the world. Certain areas would be too small for the suit requiring you to step out and risk your life since you can’t get hit at all without your suit, whereas other times you would need to enter a submarine if you were traversing through water. It added a nuance of diversity in a game that otherwise would just be jump and shoot that I appreciated. I do, however, wish that there would have been more emphasis on upgrading other vehicles than just the suit since it felt debilitating jumping in anything else.
All in all, Gato Roboto may not be one that will change the way we think about Metroidvanias but it was a damn good time. It was a short 3 hour run that left me wanting more and I can’t wait to see what else comes from this team. Besides, where else can you play as a kitten fighting a mouse in a giant Dr. Robotnik-esque machine?