When you see the name “Robot Squad Simulator” what immediately pops into your mind? For me, I was thinking this sounds like a great four-player co-op shooter where you control a robot of unique abilities that fight against throngs of evil robots in a post-apocalyptic setting, like Terminators versus Transformers. My assumption couldn’t be further from the truth, unfortunately, as Robot Squad Simulator is a boring robot bomb diffuser sim with frustratingly difficult controls.
Instead of fighting as a T-1000, the player takes control of one of those little bomb diffuser drone cars you see in the movies or on that lame Battlebots show. The first areas essentially act as tutorials as the game tries to familiarize the player with the challenging control scheme. Only if the player has a fierce sense of tenacity will different vehicles become playable like an underwater vessel or a flying drone. The opening stages challenge the player with guiding a remote control car with a pivoting arm to move blocks and cut wires. Unfortunately, the complicated and unresponsive controls make every action a chore.
For example, one early objective tasks the player with picking up a cube with the robot’s extending arm, then driving over to the other side of the room without dropping it, then placing it in a box to unlock the door to the next area. What should have taken seconds in any other game took me about half an hour of painfully frustrating trial-and-error. Not only is moving the car, then the arm, then the claw complex, the collision detection does not work in the player’s favor. Instead of being fun and intuitive, each and every action is work with little to no entertainment value. Then, to top off the level of annoyance, the soundtrack is essentially mocking the player. Caught in a short loop, the soundtrack is super serious and feels like it should be in Skyrim as opposed to a robot sim title. Long load screens and a terrible main menu (you cannot tell which option is selected) make this a frustrating experience from beginning to end. Also, one of the first pop-up messages the player will read welcomes the player to “Robot Squad Simulator 2017” which obviously indicates this is a straight port from the Steam version of a couple years ago and they didn’t bother updating. This game has also been available for a very, very low cost during Steam sales in the past (it was even free at one point).
At the very least, I know have a new found respect for professional bomb squad members. As if their job wasn’t stressful enough, fumbling through complicated controls to dismantle a bomb is beyond nerve-racking. Perhaps there is someone out there that will find pleasure in this niche title but I am definitely not one of them. The simulator aspect is taken a bit too far and would have benefited from some more game-like elements. To get my robot action fix, I guess I will stick with something like Robotron instead.
Also available on Steam.
Not As Good As: the Megaman games
Also Try: Gyromite or Stack-Up with R.O.B. (NES)
Wait For It: Metal Arms: Glitch in the System 2