In Gato Roboto, you’re a cat in a mech suit. What more do I need to say? It’s already a 10/10 from me… I’m kidding, but the general premise won me over as soon as I read the game’s description. That being said, did the game itself actually live up to my already high expectations?
The story of Gato Roboto is pretty simple, you crash land on a planet after attempting to respond to a mysterious signal at an abandoned facility and the ship’s captain becomes trapped in the wreckage. Fortunately, the ship’s cat can run free and is given the monumental task of saving the day. The good news is that the facility is home to a mech suit which is perfectly suited to our kitty hero – how convenient.
From here you’re presented with a fairly simplistic Metroidvania game exploring different areas, defeating an array of interesting and unique enemies, and taking on bosses in order to complete your mission.
Those familiar with Metroidvania titles will likely feel right at home with this quaint little title. To begin with, you’re limited in what and where you can access, however as you progress and upgrade the mech suit, you’ll be able to access locations you couldn’t before. Rooms that were previously inaccessible become accessible and usually contain the missing piece of the overall puzzle.
All of this is presented in probably the most simplistic fashion too. There’s no color palette, it’s just an incredibly retro monochrome experience, likely to enhance the fact that the cat isn’t actually in control of the mech, it’s the captain who’s stranded in the wreckage observing through the ship’s panel and communicating with it via his headset.
Throughout the game, there are hidden areas which contain cartridges that allow players to change the color scheme of their display which is a nice touch, though for some reason I found most of the other schemes hurt my eyes a fair bit and mostly stuck with the default black and white configuration.
While the story in Gato Roboto isn’t much to write home about, it is there and acts mostly as a way to precede and conclude each area you explore. It does have some slight intrigue with the mystery around the abandoned facility, which ultimately isn’t abandoned at all. It offers a nice little twist on the whole “the cat is the hero” concept of the game, at least.
Gato Roboto also has a pretty interesting way of introducing new enemy types to you. Rather than just chucking it into the mix and hoping you figure shit out, fast, it essentially traps you in a room until you defeat all of the enemies. While it’s not a unique concept, it’s definitely a nice way to get to grips with the sheer array of different enemies the game eventually throws at you.
One thing that I certainly discovered with this game is that patience is a virtue. I’ll admit, I’m the type of player that just dives into things with little to no regard for my health. For the most part, this just makes games more difficult. With Gato Roboto, this mentality makes the game practically impossible especially when facing boss fights as they usually have a pattern to follow, which, if you’re patient, you can figure out and take down the boss much quicker than simply going in all-guns-blazing.
There are some boss fights that I found close-to-impossible at first, with no idea how the hell I was supposed to beat them. That was until I spend time figuring out that it changes its pattern halfway through becoming more vulnerable. Yes, I get that this is a general trope of video game bosses, I’m bad at video games, okay?
Aside from blasting away enemies with your mech, Gato Roboto also has you exploring certain areas only accessible as your vulnerable cat self. While you can survive a handful of hits in the mech, as the fragile kitty one hit can end it all. This obviously makes things a lot tenser, especially in areas where you’re unable to use the mech and you’re surrounded by enemies.
Fortunately, this is where that patience comes back in, observing patterns and finding those well-timed windows of opportunity. That is until you’re being chased down by a manic rat with a giant motorized spike wall.
Overall, Gato Roboto is a run-of-the-mill Metroidvania that features all of the usual tropes from this style of game. Locked progression that’s only unlocked once you’ve acquired an upgrade, the room-to-room navigation, good traversal mechanics – especially later in the game, and some pretty interesting areas to explore.
Given the fairly limiting design of the game, the developers managed to do a great job of adding variety between different levels and areas.
If you’re looking for a pure Metroidvania to sink some decent time into, then I’d definitely recommend Gato Roboto. It’s also a fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch and plays perfectly on the console’s screen and when docked, though I’m sure it’s much better playing on a controller that has a more substantial D-Pad than the Switch.