Give Up Robot 2
Some robots are programmed to build. Some are a bit more awesome and are programmed to destroy. Still others are programmed to love, though that's more creepy than awesome. The star of Give Up Robot 2, the latest invention from Matt Thorson for Adult Swim, is programmed to jump, grapple and die, and it's especially proficient at that last one. In this tough-as-nails platformer you'll guide Robot through 60 stages spread throughout three worlds, each of which is filled with a variety of deadly traps. Your only saving grace is Robot's built-in grappling hook, and you'll need to master its use quickly.
The basic goal of each stage is simple: you're on the left and you need to get to the right. How you actually accomplish this is slightly more complicated. Use the [arrow] keys to move, and [X], [S], or [up] to jump. How long you press the jump button will determine your height. To grapple, press [Z] or [A] to fire the hook at an angle and then [up] and [down] to adjust once you're attached to something. Collect coins to improve your score.
Robot was built using cheap imported parts and the slightest contact with anything hazardous will kill it. There's no shortage of hazards in each stage, either, as you'll be assaulted by spinning fans of death, electrified walls, moving platforms gleefully launching you into aforementioned fans and walls and so on. Fortunately, since Robot's cheap to build, he was mass-produced and you have infinite lives.
Unlike its predecessor, Give Up Robot 2 features a variety of settings. The game opens in the same psychedelic area as the first game. As you progress, you'll pass through a forested outdoor area and a city. Several new gameplay elements have been added as well, including grapple points that reverse your controls while you're attached and grapple-able conveyor belts. The most significant addition is a three-use jetpack that pops up in several levels to give Robot a boost. Give Up Robot 2 is also significantly more difficult than the previous game, so new players beware!
The game spans 60 stages, including three boss battles. After finishing these stages, another set of Hard levels opens up. These are, as the name might suggest, hard, so they're not for the faint of heart.
Analysis: Your enjoyment of Give Up Robot 2 is directly related to how well you can handle frustration platformers (like the Jumper series, also by Matt Thorson, for example). You'll be spending a lot of time dead, but unlike games like I Wanna Be The Guy, Give Up Robot 2 doesn't pull any "gotcha" tricks; when you die, it's your own fault rather than the game pulling a fast one, in other words. This helps to keep the game entertaining rather than purely frustrating.
While it's certainly difficult, patience and practice will see any player through Give Up Robot 2. This is due in large part to the tight, responsive controls, which are vital to a game like this. You won't find yourself missing grapples due to poor hit detection, for instance.
Games like this live and die by their level design, and Give Up Robot 2 has enough variety and challenge to keep players going. Some levels even play out like miniature puzzles, such as those involving numbered grapple points that must be hit in order. This gives the game lasting appeal and pushes the player to keep going just to see what's coming next.
Give Up Robot 2 is a solid platformer with enough neat tricks and visual appeal to set itself apart from the crowd (and its predecessor). It's worth a look for anyone who won't throw their computer through the nearest window after hammering away at a tough level. For the rest, well...maybe someone will program a robot to finish the game?