Collected gamers, attempt to mask your incredible lack of surprise. Yes,
Pokémon is incredibly successful and as such, it has bred imitators.
But wait, there may be hope indeed for the "catch and raise" genre, for Atlus
may be making a game that, though a bit lacking in story, offers some innovation
in terms of gameplay.
Robopon (yes, Robopon) is the latest pretender to the throne of Pokémon.
This time, instead of capturing and collecting cute little critters, the player
builds robots and sends them off to do battle. Consider it a kinder, gentler
cock fight. At least you're not beating up on cuddly forest creature and forcing
them to engage in combat for your amusement.
The story goes as follows: taking place on Porombo Island, the protagonist, Cody,
inherits the near-bankrupt Robopon Dispatching Factory from his Grandpa Hogle. In
turn, he also inherits the generally useless Robopon of this factory. Since his
company is on the brink of disaster, Cody sets out with his Robopon on a journey
to save the factory. Apparently, Porombo Island is such a utopia that presidents
of corporations can simply take off on a grand adventure to save a failing business.
Practical business sense apparently has no place on this island and can be easily
replaced with brute robotic force. At any rate, Cody gets caught up in Robopon
fever and decides that he wants to become the Great Legend, the title given to
the greatest Robopon trainer in the land. Of course, the people of the island are
captivated by Robopon and there is quite the robotic craze about. There's even a
main tournament to test the skills of the trainer, the BattleRobo Tournament. And
of course, there's the obligatory over 150 Robopon to battle, collect, and trade
over the course of the game.
Okay, so there's a general feeling of deja-vu. If you have Pokémon, why
bother looking at Robopon? Surprisingly enough, there are quite a few nifty
features that set it apart from its megalomaniacal forebearer. For one, the
player can customize their robots. Don't like that arm? Pop it off and put in
a new one. There are over one hundred different parts to choose from so the
variety is almost limitless. So it's like Armored Core, only with cute mecha a
nd an RPG engine. Gotcha. The game also features a built-in speaker and clock
that will remind the players of special events even while their Game Boy is
turned off. And if all of that wasn't enough, the game features its own IR port
called the GB Kiss.
What's an IR port, you ask? Very simply put, it allows the game to read infrared
signals sent to it by, say, your TV remote control. Robopon can read a variety of
different IR signals and using various IR remotes in the game will result in different
game effects. How does a player use their IR remotes in the game? Quite easy: point
the remote at the game and start hammering away at buttons. According to Atlus, one
can open treasure chests or even power-up a weak Robopon, amongst other things. Another
nice feature of this is that if you lack a link cable, you can still trade your Robopon
by using the GB Kiss.
In the end, despite the over-abundance of similarities in terms of plot, Robopon
is shaping up to be quite interesting in the gameplay aspect. Robopon promises to
allow for a great deal of customization and experimentation, so diehards can undoubtedly
spend hours perfecting their preferred Robopon. And if Atlus keeps their promise, the
GB Kiss will offer even more variety and play value to their game.
Robopon is set for release this upcoming winter and is compatible with all Game Boy
systems. It is rated E and will retail for $34.99. More information is certain to be
forthcoming. In fact, check out the official
Robopon website for constant updates on this developing game. And if you truly
loved us, you'd stay tuned to RPGamer for the incoming news. And you do love RPGamer, don't you?