Drunken Robot Pornography (PC) Preview
Drunken Robot Pornography is insane. But then, you probably guessed that already from the title alone – not to mention that it’s made by Dejobaan Games, whose apparently limitless supplies of lunacy have already produced such magnificently monikered marvels as ‘The Wonderful End of the World’, ‘AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity’ and ‘Monster Loves You’. With such a track record, it’s to be expected that this game is both bizarre and excitingly different, and it certainly delivers in that respect. It’s best described as a 3-D ‘bullet-hell’ first-person shooter, with a great sense of style and a heavy dose of ridiculousness. But it’s also unfinished, as it’s currently only available as an Early Access alpha on Steam.
The story of the game, insofar as there is one, is something broadly along the lines of: There are giant robots. You have a laser gun. You must apply the latter to the former, with the aid of your trusty jetpack, in a series of 3-dimensional arenas. Sounds simple, really, but add in constant waves of smaller robots, liberal powerups, meagre time-limits, and enough laser-fire filling the air to make even a bullet-hell veteran wince, and you end up with a game that’s fast-paced, hectic, and challenging.
Each level is a self-contained arena composed of blocks floating in the sky in increasingly confusing layouts, which must be navigated by jetpack. In most levels, multiple small enemies continually try to rearrange your face until a Titan spawns, which you must then try to destroy piece by piece while it throws all the lasers you could possibly want at you – all before the timer runs out. The game is deliberately overwhelming, throwing enemies and projectiles at you constantly, forcing you to keep moving and firing at all times – which can be either an adrenaline-inducing challenge or deeply frustrating depending on the type of gamer you are.
The controls and interface are very straightforward to anyone who’s experienced a jetpack-based FPS before, requiring only a handful of buttons, but an awful lot of precision and dexterity – which was problematic for me, since I’m as naturally skilled at bullet-hell-style shooters as an oyster is at gymnastics. Fortunately, since the game itself is split up into a considerable number of short, bite sized levels, there’s a gradual difficulty curve – but there are still inconsistencies, leading to the occasional frustratingly-difficult level which requires more attempts than many of the others combined, and others that seem absurdly easy.
As well as the frenetic central gameplay, there’s a lot more to do as well – the game comes with built-in editors allowing the player to create their own arenas to fight in, and, more importantly, their own giant robots to fight against, using a Spore-like modular designer. There’s already a wealth of user-created content available through the Steam Workshop – which is fortunate, because replayability is limited to online scoreboards in each level for the more score-fixated players.
Visually, the game is stylish and appealing, with crisp, colourful graphics and a lively, slightly cartoony style, which is complemented by a varied soundtrack that can only be described as funky. Overall the effect is of a clearly stylized, vibrant indie-game chic that suits it well.
However, the game is obviously unfinished at times. Some levels have ‘alpha is alpha’ messages from the developers, and some of the later levels lack music entirely. And that’s not the only criticism – the game is frequently visually overwhelming, and it’s often very hard for you to avoid enemies coming at you from all directions at once. But most of all, it’s based entirely around one (admittedly ludicrous and fun) idea turned up to 11, so not only is there a very narrow amount of variety from level to level, but the game’s central mechanic isn’t going to appeal to everybody. If you’re looking for anything in any way cerebral, story-driven or slow-paced, then this is not the game for you.
In conclusion then: Drunken Robot Pornography is already an addictive, challenging, stylish slice of ridiculousness that has the makings of a magnificently over-the-top game (not to mention one of the best theme songs since Portal), though at the moment it understandably lacks polish – hopefully Dejobaan will be able to keep up the early appeal as the development continues.