To be honest, we really need every FPS rogue-lite we can get. The more of them there are, the more will get it right. As of now, most of them don’t quite get there, but that’s okay. Robo Quest, however, is one of the few that may very well make it worth your while to check out. It launches into Early Access on Steam today and I received the opportunity to put some time into it. So, let’s get blasting.
Robo Quest puts you in the shoes of a robot. The robot gets guns. The robot shoots things with the guns. The things it shoots are other robots. I doubt any of this is surprising. The first time you start the game, you’re taken directly into your first run. Also unsurprisingly, you get to go to your base camp after the first time you die, where you can upgrade. There, you’re always accompanied by a girl whose name I don’t know. She has a character model but it currently doesn’t animate and just stands there, perfectly still. Like a robot. But she’s not a robot!
Typical rogue-lite rules apply here. Every time you die, you lose everything except for a single thing represented by a wrench icon. You pick these up when you grab purple orbs. Defeated enemies drop blue orbs that level you up. When you level up, your health increases, your damage gets higher, and you get a perk. You initially start with just a quick-firing pistol but will constantly find new guns out in the field.
The guns are your standard assortment, but they’re fun to use. Pistols, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, rockets, lasers and flamethrowers make up the bulk of your choices. They come with different designations as well, each signified by a color. For instance, you’ve got assault, technology, explosive, and precision types. The names clue you in on the type of damage they do, but it also guides what cores you’ll want to equip.
Instead of the guns having different stats, you find new cores in chests that add a certain number of points to a specific damage category. If you’ve found tech and explosive weapons and want to stick with those for the whole run, you will of course want to prioritize explosive and tech cores. Cores add points to damage stats and you can equip up to three at once.
These also synergize with your perks, which grant additional types of damage when using certain weapon types. So far, Robo Quest has several different biomes and two bosses. You face a new boss at the end of an area’s second level. Beating the first boss earns you a new loadout. Upgrading your base grants another. Loadouts only change your melee attack and your special ability, though. My favorite is the engineer, which can summon two drones to help out.
The enemies in Robo Quest are fairly underwhelming. They’re all generic robots. What’s more, most of them just stand around and shoot at you. Some of them are turrets, some fly, and some have legs, but even the latter two barely move around. The shooting and movement feel very good, however. You get extra upgrade points if you beat a level quickly while grabbing additional skill orbs from defeated enemies.
These upgrade points are used to improve machines at your base, which can allow you to equip accessories as well as grant you access to increasingly variable starting weapons and cores once you begin the game’s first level. Robo Quest only has about 30% of its total content in place right now, but I’ve still found it easy to sink time into.
As for whether it’s worth it yet, I’d say it does offer enough to justify a purchase. The enemies might be disappointingly dull, but the movement and combat are very enjoyable and I like the guns a lot, too. If you’re a fan of FPS rogue-lites, this is one of the better ones, I’d say.