Nintendad

[Review] Gato Roboto – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: doinksoft
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Release Date: 30/05/2019
  • Price: $7.99/ £7.19
  • Review code provided by Devolver Digital

All Right Meow

If the internet, in its infinite wisdom has taught me anything, it’s that people genuinely like cats. Especially if they are doing mischievous, funny or cute things. Another thing the internet taught me is that many indie developers like making metroidvania games, and thankfully I love this genre. It was only a matter of time before the mad scientists at doinksoft put these two together and created what is a self-described “meowtroidvania”. Now the moment of truth, does Gato Roboto stand on its own paws or is it stale like left over cat food? Read on to find out!

Gato Roboto starts with Gary and his cat, Kiki, heading for a distress signal, when everything goes wrong! The ship crashes and Gary is stuck in the wreckage. He encourages Kiki to search for help, when what would be found, but a giant mech that is perfect for a cat to control. I love the absurdity of this concept, thinking that a cat would listen to its owner and then control a robot to help him escape. But it does work, and you help Kiki explore this deserted space station in search of what has caused the distress signal.

The story of Gato Roboto helps to move the game forward, and is intriguing, seeing the pieces play out. What really makes the story better is how funny the writing is, as Gary quite often wonders if Kiki is actually listening to him and Kiki will either offer an enthusiastic meow or stare blankly. It’s not the most compelling story, but you can tell that doinksoft just wanted to make something fun and I appreciate it.

The Cat’s Pyjamas

As mentioned previously, Gato Roboto is a metroidvania game, with more leanings towards Metroid than Castlevania. You control Kiki in and out of the mech suit. While out of the suit, you are very fast and able to fit into tight spaces and climb walls with ease. What’s the downside? You cannot defend yourself and are killed in one hit. The mech suit offers higher defense and real offense with reduced mobility. Like any good Metroid inspired game, you will find power ups for your suit, making you stronger and allowing you to explore once unreachable locations.

One of my only complaints with Gato Roboto is that there isn’t enough of it. I finished my playthrough with a 75% completion rate and a time of almost 3 hours. I could have spent a bit more time finding the other collectibles and getting the final suit power up, but I wanted more areas to explore and more bosses to fight. That part of this game was spot on. Each new area felt different and lived in, while the bosses for each area felt intimidating in their own way. So while the shortness of the game was a downfall, the brevity made sure every new area and encounter felt fresh.

Playing Cat and Mouse

Gato Roboto has a very simple art style akin to early Gameboy games. The animation is better than most of those games as it can be quite detailed, but it keeps a monochromatic colour scheme. One really interesting touch is that you can unlock different filters in the game to emulate different eras of retro video games, such as the green of the original Gameboy or the red and black of the Virtual Boy.

The sound design of Gato Roboto is a real treat. Most of the music is very reminiscent of the first Metroid game. Further in we are introduced to more funky and odd pieces that sound like they could have been pulled from the Earthbound/Mother series. It’s an interesting design choice as the composer for both Metroid and Mother was Hip Tanaka. I thought both fit perfectly with the game, as it seems like a mix of both Earthbound with the absurdity of a cat driving a mech, and Metroid with the loneliness of exploring an alien filled world.

Cats and the Cradle

Gato Roboto ran flawlessly during my whole playtime. While I did prefer to play it docked to take full advantage of the larger viewing experience; playing in handheld was still enjoyable. Cheers to doinksoft, as I encountered zero glitches, bugs or issues in my playthrough.

Final Thoughts

My playtime with Gato Roboto was short and sweet. Every minute spent exploring was a joy. The humor and writing were witty, fun and unexpected. Everything seemed perfectly paced and now all I can wish for is that doinksoft will eventually make a sequel or spiritual successor to this game.

Pros

  • Perfect Pacing / Difficulty Curve
  • Great Music
  • Cat Driving Mech Suit

Cons

  • Game is short

Verdict

Gato Roboto is my new favorite indie Metroidvania, and it’s soon to be your new favorite too.

5/5

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