This holiday Xbox Live Arcade has produced a hit in Small Arms. Can Xbox Live Arcade produce two excellent titles in a row? Roboblitz is the first Unreal Engine 3 Xbox Live Arcade game by Naked Sky Entertainment costing 1200 Microsoft Points ($15 USD) - a hefty price tag. Find out in the Live Gamer Review whether it is worth the price of the admission or is not.
In Roboblitz you play as the robot Blitz. Everything is fine on your space station and home planet until your space ship gets invaded by Robot Space Pirates who are going to attack your home planet. To save your ship and planet, with the help of Karl who allows you to purchase upgrades, you must fix the ship’s six sectors to fire off a missile and destroy the orbiting MegaNOED.
The ship has six sectors with three levels in each sector. To access the levels you are in what I began to call the main lobby of the ship. From the main lobby there are six doors, all of which access a sector. There is also an additional door where the main boss battle is once you complete all the puzzles in the six sectors. You enter the sector and press a button in the sector to be transported to the level. The presentation of the title is superb because you actually feel like you are on a ship the whole time and the selection of levels is simple yet elegant and intuitive.
Roboblitz appears as an action game because of the title but is actually a puzzle game. Every level has you completing a puzzle that takes about fifteen minutes to thirty minutes long. The puzzles require various things and there is not one that is too much like another with new puzzles on everyone. With every puzzle be unique they are all fun and challenging. The last level requires you to use all knowledge you learn from solving the other puzzles making a very enjoyable last level.
Karl helps you by allowing you to access his lab. He can’t come fix the space station with you because he is on a cord connected to the wall. In the lab you can purchase upgrades. To purchase the upgrades you pick up upgradium during the levels. Karl has various weapons that can be attached to everyone’s favorite robot Blitz. The weapons are used to attack the space pirates or stun them. Every weapon makes you play differently; the first weapon you get is the EMP Rifle. The EMP Rifle is used to stun enemies, on one level you are required to carry the enemy over to a shaft in which they are dropped into and destroyed to create metal. As the game progresses and you collect more upgradium you will revisit the lab to purchase more items such as the Tractor Beam to use on other levels.
The one weapon that you get the whole time is the most frustrating though. Blitz’s arms can be used to pick up lots of items in the game but they are short and you need to be exactly near the item to pick it up. In my experience I had to try five times to pick up a barrel the one time. You’ll notice how short his arms are because when something is overtop you in tight spaces your camera switches to a first person view in which you see the short arms and also get very frustrated because it is harder to see and can be disorienting at some points during the game (in my case a lot of times.)
Roboblitz is a pleasure to play the whole time, the only downside is that the game is only about 4 to 6 hours long. Naked Sky included two difficulties to add some replay value in it though. The modes are Normal and Master Technician. During Normal mode’s play when you die on a level you respawn with everything you did so far being saved and you continue. During Master Technician you have to start the entire level again. For all the people who need to fully complete a game this adds a few hours of play to the package and 40 achievement points also. According to the developers in the future there will be some added multiplayer and more for FREE which will certainly warrant a re-review by me if it does happen in the future.
What sticks out in Roboblitz and probably is the reason it costs so much is how stunning the visuals are. The Unreal Engine 3 is put to excellent work in this game. This game is by far the best looking in terms of visuals on Xbox Live Arcade so far. It actually betters the visuals of some retails games so far. The game only suffers a framerate hiccup when entering a level through the transporter and sometimes the textures are a bit bland in the environments. Roboblitz is clearly a technical achievement because the game fits under the 50 MB Xbox Live Arcade download limit.
When Roboblitz is compared to other Xbox Live Arcade entries you might be hesitant because of the hefty price tag of 1200 Microsoft points (the points do go a long way considering there will be multiplayer in the future for free.) If you know you are only getting about 4-6 hours of play and you enjoy puzzles this is a great choice for an Xbox Live Arcade game this holiday season. It proves an independent studio (Naked Sky Entertainment) can produce a solid game and proves once again that Xbox Live Arcade is an extraordinary idea as it has produced another memorable title.
Final Verdict – 7.5 Out Of 10 Stars