Once upon a time on a PlayStation Vita far, far away lived a fast-paced 2D puzzler named Don’t Die, Mr. Robot!. The little ‘bot looked around at all of the other arcade games on the PlayStation Network and couldn’t help but feel that he was different from the rest. With their polished visuals and flashy lighting effects, his simplicity caused many of the other titles to laugh at him. Little did they know that inside he had the potential to transform into a beautiful cyborg swan – or something.
Fairytales aside, this game’s biggest flaw is its visuals. With a dizzying amount of money being thrown at even the dullest gameplay ideas these days, this looks like an App Store freebie from screenshots alone. Fortunately, looks can be deceiving, and this release’s minimalistic presentation actually paves the way for a very enjoyable arcade time sink.
As mentioned, you play as a cute yellow robot that is being pursued by waves of enemies intent on bringing you to an untimely demise. What’s your weapon against this deadly fate? Fruit, which when collected on the grid causes the foes next to it to explode, keeping you safe for a few extra seconds. Survival isn’t the only name of the game, however, as you’ll be racking up a humongous score along the way to put the title’s leaderboards to shame.
There’s an underlying depth here which isn’t explicitly outlined at first, but stick with it and you’ll become a master organically. From dodging maniacal monstrosities to stockpiling fruit for the biggest combo chains possible, you’ll find yourself coming back to this time and time again in order to better your increasingly enormous scores.
Should you ever tire of the simple arcade mode, there’s a remix option available to spice things up. Here you’ll earn trophies dependent on how well you do in 50 different challenges, all of which vary in difficulty. These range from surviving for a set length of time to obtaining a specific score quota and more. While only minor, these subtle tweaks force you to play the game in a slightly different way, and keep the action interesting enough to ensure that you’re hooked.
Adding to this compulsive loop, you’ll earn coins as you progress which can be spent in the title’s shop. There are various buffs available here, as well as special characters which change the appearance of your robot. Playing as stars from other indie titles such as Death Ray Mantra is a brilliant touch, and these typically come with gameplay perks to boot.
Don’t Die, Mr. Robot! doesn’t look especially impressive, but its classic gameplay is engaging enough to keep you hooked in short bursts. While it never attempts to re-invent the wheel, there’s a competent arcade experience here – and it’s that fruity core that will keep you coming back for more.