Malfunction Guaranteed
November 21, 2012 4:47 AM   Subscribe

Randobot [Flash] is a "reimagined" take on the Rockman/Mega Man Saga: the player must guide a defective automaton through a fortified compound, while collecting energy cores and dodging enemies. As the machine was rushed out of development, software patches will have to be transmitted wirelessly to the unit at critical points of the enemy base. In spite of any and all modifications performed, there will still be a chance of the drone failing to perform the most rudimentary tasks.
posted by Smart Dalek (25 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I like the look of this. I was slightly afraid it was going to simulate an argument with a college freshman who had read a lot of Ayn Ran in high school. Every time you get close to the end of a "level," -- i.e. make a cogent case for the errors in the philosophy -- the Randobot resets to the start of the level.

This was more fun than that, although I did fall down a well a lot.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:08 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Bug as game mechanic. Interesting idea.

Also interesting is that I'm not finding it that disconcerting when the controls don't work. I think this is how I always play video games. Don't rely on the controls working every time (i.e. having the timing right). Set up situations that are failsafe (shooting from behind a barrier, etc).
posted by DU at 5:09 AM on November 21, 2012

And naturally after unpausing the game, I take 3 steps and find the game designer has anticipated my failsafery and defeated it. Curse you!
posted by DU at 5:10 AM on November 21, 2012

Just too annoying for me - I want to explore everywhere and that's just too slow with controls that can kill you at any moment with a failed jump.
posted by YAMWAK at 5:12 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I shouldn't have fully debugged my RIGHT/LEFT at the cost of leaving CROUCH at 30%. It's just impossible to even start the next level that way.
posted by DU at 5:16 AM on November 21, 2012

This is how the robot uprising begins - when we turn their pain into sport, it's only a matter of time.
posted by Tehhund at 5:30 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

DU: I made exactly the same mistake. Now, with my reliable lefting, righting, and jumping, I shall be undefeatable, unless I get cornered. Dammit.
posted by 256 at 5:35 AM on November 21, 2012

Sadly, this is EXACTLY why I don't like twitch games. Half the time I either get the timing a half-millisecond wrong and mess up. And with this game falling or simply touching the hovering robots is instant death.

I'm not a fan of this particular game, but I do like the idea that they've gone with this. Perhaps if they made some sort of buffer to the mistakes early on it'd be much better.
posted by Blue_Villain at 5:38 AM on November 21, 2012

I like the concept, but I think it was done better in K.O.L.M.

You start out missing many of your robot body parts, but once you get a part, it works all the time. Just as Mother intended.
posted by Georgina at 5:51 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the concept, but I think it was done better in K.O.L.M....once you get a part, it works all the time

The typical misunderstanding of bugfix vs upgrade. This is why maintenance releases exist. I don't want new bugs, I want the old bugs fixed. I'm looking at you, Firefox.
posted by DU at 6:01 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

That was fun. I thought I couldn't get any worse at these kind of games.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:24 AM on November 21, 2012

God that was incredibly annoying. A game mechanic that incorporates bugs = clever. A game mechanic that specifically annoys the player = bad.
posted by milkb0at at 6:38 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

It gets much much easier if you know how to distribute your bugfixes, which it only lets you do if you quit the game and go back in.

The final level gets pretty annoying without a reliable jet pack.

I couldn't find all the energies at the end.
posted by All Out of Lulz at 7:19 AM on November 21, 2012

General bugfix advice that worked well for me:
*If you get a new ability, put lots of points in it because it's going to be used a lot in the next level
*There are many situations where failing to crouch will outright kill you. Crouch is good.
*Reliably moving left or right is the least necessary thing. If you jump in steps, i.e. jump, and then if successful move left/right, you should be fine.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:27 AM on November 21, 2012

This is like taking my existing inadequacies and irritations as a player of video games and cubing them.

So, yeah, interesting idea, but not at all fun in actual gameplay.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:35 AM on November 21, 2012

No no this is the opposite of what I wanted.
posted by Mizu at 7:47 AM on November 21, 2012

Yeah, this is just stupid. A game that demands reflexes and careful timing, and then deliberately, as a design choice, doesn't do what you want it to do?

I guess some of you are having fun with it, but after a few minutes with this, I just want to slap the programmer.
posted by Malor at 7:47 AM on November 21, 2012

Love the idea, and with souped-up graphics and sound (more like Megaman, say), I think this could do well. Also, I think the "+5%" mechanic would be better with graphical representation (bars/pellets) rather than numbers.
posted by duffell at 7:54 AM on November 21, 2012

I loved this as art and commentary on software design and corporate life.

The way I played it was to de-prioritize the gun. As long as you're setting up sustainable loops that incrementally do damage to the enemy, you don't need a faster rate of fire.

You also don't actually need a reliable crouch until the middle-late game. The level where you start cornered is beatable if you start shooting right away. Don't even try to crouch, or only do it once if the robot gets a shot off.

Don't skip any of the energy dots. You may have to backtrack a bit to find them all. Be on the lookout for secret passages in the walls. They're all marked somehow.

Ideally, by the last level, everything is 100% reliable, but, again, you can get away with a less reliable gun.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:55 AM on November 21, 2012

fwiw I didn't find that there was much twitch gameplay or precise timing until the last level. The one time I died in the first seven, something that I thought required precise timing actually had a solution that required no timing whatsoever.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:56 AM on November 21, 2012

This is a satire on Windows 8, right?
posted by jamjam at 8:55 AM on November 21, 2012

I read "Randobot" as "Randbot" and expected game play to consist of kicking homeless people in the face and pissing in your neighbors water supply.

This was fun too though.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:48 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Came back to it after reading the comments - it does get less frustrating as the commands get more reliable, but the final level doesn't really gel for me. Up until then, forethought and carefulness seems to allow you to get through unscathed - for the final level (in which I died many, many times), it does rely more on skill, particularly timing with the jetpack. As far as game design goes, I feel that is a mistake - the final level should test what you've learned up to that point, not test a completely different suite of skills.

Overall not a bad game though - thanks for the post.
posted by YAMWAK at 10:23 AM on November 21, 2012

This was not fun for me. I'll stick to my trogdor the burninator.
posted by Somnolent Jack at 11:15 AM on November 21, 2012

I completed it after dying like only seven times in all. The following notes should be of use to people having trouble with it:

1. The least important stat is SHOOTING. Everything else has the power to kill you instantly if it doesn't work, in some situations, but shooting just means you have to effectively take more shots. It starts at 30%; don't take it above 50% until everything else is at maximum.

2. Left, Right and Jumping are of utmost importance. Crouching can wait a little. Before you max it out, there aren't any places you need the Jetpack to work on a time-sensitive basis (that is, while you're over a death pit), which means, so long as you're prepared to spend some time, it's okay if it's not perfectly reliable, since when it starts working it'll continue to work until you stop thrusting. And take note: most places where you'd want to crouch, you can substitute jumping.

3. There's a sweet spot where, if you're one block below an enemy bot, your shots can hit it but its can't hit you. Take advantage of those spots when you find them.

4. About halfway through you find an energy point buried in a wall. That should be your clue that the game will start throwing fake walls at you, so hug barriers to find them. To fully power up everything you must discover a few more fake walls in the remaining levels of the game.

5. In the last level, there's a shaft with purple bots (the ones that shoot the most) along the side on ledges. These are best handled by thrusting up past them shooting, then falling back down after its shot has passed, shooting some more, and repeating that until it's destroyed.
posted by JHarris at 2:25 AM on November 25, 2012

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