Way in the future, mechanical Gods have ascended to rule the heavens and peaceful robots run the world. Suddenly, their entire existence is threatened when the Megabeast, ‘a moon-sized orb of flesh and countless eyes, mouths and reproductive organs, penetrates the stratosphere and spills its children unto the world’...
Many games have paid homage to Metroid, but for our money none have done so as effectively as A Robot Named Fight. While most Metroidvanias follow a linear yet labyrinthine route that encourages exploration, ARNF takes things one step further by randomly generating its layout each time you play. A roguelite Metroidvania sounds like the sort of thing that really shouldn't work, but good God it really does!
Set in a stunning pixel art world, players control Fight as he makes his way through four distinctive environments on his quest to find the Megabeast's lair. Certain weapons and upgrades will be needed to navigate obstacles or unlock through certain doors, but with each run being entirely different from the last you're never sure what you might come across, so every adventure is completely different. Adding to the replayability is the game achievement system which is linked to unlockable items - defeating bosses, reaching certain locations, and performing various other tasks for the first time will always add something useful to the item pool which may (or may not) be picked up in future runs.
Killing any of the suitably meaty alien enemies rewards Fight with health, power for additional weapons, or scrap that can be spent on additional weapons and items if you're able to find one of the many in-game shopkeepers. Further upgrades can be found hidden within the environment itself, giving players a reason to pay attention to their surroundings. Amassing the best upgrades and weapons will always be your main concern, as you won't last long without the necessary equipment. If Fight dies, it's game over and you start again from scratch with a new robot. On the plus side, if you feel like you've been particularly successful in a certain run, the game provides seeds, basically passwords that allow you to reload the exact same layout for another attempt. A word of warning though - this will disable achievements and item unlocks, so you won't be earning anything useful!
On a technical level, the fact that every single aspect of ARNF was completely developed by one single person is absolutely mind-blowing. It's difficult to fathom how much effort has been poured into the game, and we certainly appreciate the lengths developer Matt Bitner has gone to. Attempting to create something like this alongside a whole team of programmers would probably be seen as a brave move, but doing it alone - and resulting in one of the most addictive side-scrollers we've seen in years - is truly an outstanding achievement indeed.
If you're into retro games, roguelites, Metroidvanias, or any combination of all three, we can't recommend ARNF highly enough. It looks great, sounds great (the main theme in particular wouldn't sound out of place on a prime-era Alan Silvestri soundtrack), and plays great, and the more time you put into it, the better it gets. We tried really hard to find any downsides, but even after 15 or so hours there just doesn't seem to be any. As a retro-inspired explore 'em up, we're pretty certain it's totally flawless. ARNF totally succeeds in paying homage to an all-time classic while reinvigorating a genre that's been in need of freshening up for a while now. A thoroughly memorable adventure that's sure to keep you going back for one more try.
A ROBOT NAMED FIGHT! / DEVELOPER: MATT BITNER GAMES / PLATFORM: PC, SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW