RobotoPrice: $0.99     Score: 10/10    Category: Games

Fenix Fire has achieved an amazing feat with the release of Roboto.

It’s an experience that rivals games of the same genre on dedicated gaming handhelds both in terms of gameplay and presentation. The brilliant HD animation and art style is what initially impresses, with eye-popping colors and smart design. But what will keep gamers coming back is the clever level design and challenging gameplay, which is all packed into bite-sized levels, perfectly suited for its platform.

Though some will chafe at the on-screen button configuration (myself included, to a certain degree), Roboto is able to overcome the input limitations of the iPhone by being one of the most enjoyable platform games on the App Store. This is a gaming experience not to be missed.

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Roboto is a tale of Robot love. At the beginning of the game, our hero sees a lovely female robot. As he tries to catch up with her, he must (for some reason) traverse through a series of challenging levels, fending off opposing robots and navigating through increasingly difficult obstacles.

Okay, so the story isn’t Roboto’s strong point. But it’s a platform game. After all, how many times has Mario saved the Princess from Bowser? What we’re interested in here is the gameplay, and that’s where Roboto excels.

Roboto is controlled via an on-screen “thumb stick”. Fortunately, this virtual analog stick appears wherever you place your thumb, guaranteeing you won’t be constantly looking down at the screen to make sure you’ve got your digit in the correct spot. In addition, there is a “shoot” button and a “jump” button. Roboto is able to shoot a limited number of energy bullets at enemies, but must be careful with his ammunition as it runs out quickly. Naturally, more ammo can be found throughout the levels.

The jump controls work quite well as Roboto can not only leap over various hurdles stacked in his way, but can also hover for short periods of time and use his rocket boost to climb up walls. You’ll do a lot of jumping in Roboto, and the way the game plays with gravity – flipping the game on its head – will make it deviously challenging at times.

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Roboto seriously pops to life on the screen with some of the most beautiful visuals seen on the iOS platform. Reminiscent of the colorful platform games of the 16-bit era, mixed with a bit of the aesthetic found in Sony’s Ratchet & Clank series, Roboto will amaze from the moment the title screen lights up. Though the radical early-90s-style music and dialog may be a bit over-the-top at times, it’s all done with good humor and does nothing to take away from the overall experience.

Bottom Line: Fans of classic platform games need look no further than Roboto. It’s simply one of the most well-designed and enjoyable games on the App Store.

Roboto is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

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