Automa-ton of fun
2D action-platformers are a dime a dozen these days. There’s so many of them out there that it can be quite the challenge to keep track of them all - let alone the quality ones. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve randomly come across a YouTube video or Twitch stream of a really good game of this genre, only to discover that it was released a few years ago. So, dear readers, I present to you a quality 2D action-platformer that is brand-new to the market - OmegaBot.
In OmegaBot, you play as a scrappy little robot on a mission to save the world. A familiar concept, but it works well. In this world, humankind and machines live together side-by-side in a perfect society. That is, until one day, when an ominous mist descends on the world, infecting all organic life and turning humans and animals into half-robotic monstrosities.
Four champions of humanity were then sent out to discover the source of this apocalyptic event and put an end to it, only to succumb to the virus themselves. OmegaBot picks up right at this point; our little robotic buddy’s adventure begins on the outskirts of the ruined city. The story unfolds throughout the game while the robot battles enemies, takes on the corrupted champions, and makes several friends along the way.
The story is surprisingly deep, and can get a little dark at times. For such a small game there’s a lot of world-building: from the opening cinematic, to the stories of the characters you meet along the way, to environmental cues, you learn a lot about the true devastation this virus caused. And don’t be fooled by OmegaBot’s charming aesthetic: there are some pretty sad moments. One in particular has to do with a lost child you meet in one of the stages. I must say I was pretty surprised when that story unfolded.
OmegaBot plays like a 2D platformer that any gamer should be familiar with. You’re traversing stages from left to right, blasting enemies and avoiding hazards with well-timed jumps. At the end of each stage you’ll go toe-to-toe against a boss. Once that boss is defeated, you’ll earn a power-up, such as a dash ability and a double-jump, to help you as you continue your battle against the corruption. There’s also hidden areas to find, characters to meet, and different weapons to unlock.
While I did say that OmegaBot treads familiar territory, there’s some fresh aspects of gameplay that sets it apart from your traditional action-platformer. You have both a life bar and an energy bar. Every time you fire your weapon, your energy bar depletes. If the bar goes below 50%, you’ll start firing a weaker variant of your gun. If the bar fully depletes, you can’t shoot, and move slower. You’ll have to avoid fights while your energy recharges. Enemies you destroy will leave behind mechanical parts, which you can then collect and use to upgrade either your health or your energy level. Finally, whenever you shot an enemy, a number pops above their head. Every time you land a hit, the number goes up - but given time, that number starts to go down. The higher the number when the enemy is defeated, the more health and parts that enemy drops. So in order to get the most out of your battles, it’s beneficial to be on the offensive.
The levels themselves are quite the challenge. There is some real precision-platforming evident in OmegaBot. You need to time your jumps, avoid falling objects, and navigate moving platforms all the while battling enemies. There’s also sections where progress is blocked by a door, and the only way to proceed is to defeat a wave of baddies. One mechanic worth pointing out is that when you shoot, the kickback pushes you backwards. This can get frustrating if you’re on the edge of a platform, but it can be beneficial too, as you can shoot down and “pogo jump” your way across some hazards. You’ll find yourself dying quite a bit in OmegaBot; luckily there’s checkpoints placed throughout each level. If I were to compare the levels and gameplay to another game, I’d say it’s a good mix of the NES Mega Man games and Shovel Knight.
OmegaBot’s boss battles also have just the right amount of challenge. Each of the four champions have patterns that you need to learn and counter-attack in order to be victorious. It takes a few tries to get everything down, but I never found boss battles to be unfair. Even during the final boss battle, every time I died (and it was a lot) was only due to my mistakes. The controls are tight and responsive, and work perfectly for a game like this that requires such precise movement and attacks.
The game is relatively short though; I was able to complete my first playthrough in about four hours. Thankfully, there’s a New Game Plus mode, which carries all your upgrades into a new playthrough. Other than that, there’s not much here in terms of replayability. There were also several grammatical errors during the dialogue scenes, which did make things confusing at times. The game also retails at $12.99 USD for consoles, which feels like just a bit too much. I’d be much more comfortable in the $7.99 - $9.99 range.
Final Grade: B
OmegaBot is a fun game. It doesn’t do anything revolutionary; but then again it doesn’t have to. It’s a familiar experience for anyone who’s played a 2D action-platformer, and while it doesn’t break any new ground, it’s still an enjoyable ride. The story is interesting and emotional, the characters are memorable, and the gameplay is challenging. If you’re in the market for a good, albeit short experience and have some cash to spare, you can’t go wrong with OmegaBot
OmegaBot is available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PS4, and PC
Review code provided by the publisher.