OmegaBot (Xbox One) Review

OmegaBot is an action platformer that offers a straightforward retro-style run-and-gun experience. It plays sort of like Mega Man only with linear stages but has the kickback gunplay of something like Cave Story. It is a simple 2D side-scroller, one that I appreciate because it isn’t another frustrating random roguelite

You play as a robot on a quest to save the world. The chunky pixel art provides plenty of personality and works hand-in-hand with the gameplay.  With one button to jump and other to shoot, anyone can play it. The gimmick, however, comes from the gun’s power meter. With each shot, the gun’s meter in the upper corner will start to decrease and then regenerate when not in use. The first few seconds of rapid-fire shots are the most power and fly the furthest. Be wary though because the gun’s range and strength will diminish if it that meter reaches the lower level.  In fact, some obstacles and enemies can only be harmed when the tank is full, adding a layer of depth to the combat. There are plenty of times that waiting for the gun to re-juice left me feeling annoyingly vulnerable, but I guess that is the point. At times, it slows down the gameplay and can be frustrating.

The gun also reacts to the player with each shot thanks to the heavy recoil.  Even when shooting up, something that should keep the player stationary, causes a jolt to the player’s positioning.  While this can make movement tricky on purpose, it can be used to your advantage when platforming. If shot downward, it releases a short bump in distance and can be used as a hover technique that reminded me a lot of the machine gun in Cave Story

In time, the player will unlock a double jump and a dash move but it doesn’t fully alleviate repetition.  Levels are very linear and are too long even if they are divided into checkpoints. There is also some cheap enemy placement and misleading environmental clues that can harm the player, like having a ladder than climbs down into an insta-death pit when you think there is just more level down there. Some enemies, like the shield enemies, are way more annoying than they are fun to kill, especially when compounded with fast moving conveyor belts and gun power that takes time to recharge.  On a rare occasion, there are some vehicles to drive which does help break up the jump-shoot-jump gameplay. Defeated enemies drop money that can be spent to increase the health and gun meter but it takes a hefty amount to unlock those last few tiers but it is a solid incentive to make players kill each baddie instead of just jumping over them. 

The thick pixels that compose the world and character sprites definitely generate a retro vibe, right down the difficult to read yellow on yellow text boxes. The soundtrack is also good, but it is just sort of weird and unexpected. The ambient nature of each long looping tune feels like it should play in the background of a spa instead of during robot combat.

OmegaBot is a pleasantly straightforward, uncomplicated action platformer that is approachable and a decent way to burn a weekend. It might not have much depth but it doesn’t need any and achieves exactly what it is trying to do – create an approachable retro experience on modern consoles.

SCORE: 7/10

Also Try: Grapple Dog

Better Than: Panda Punch

Don’t Forget About: Bot Gaiden

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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