One of the highlights of this past year's PAX East was trying out the still-in development Frobot from Fugazo (a company more known for its online titles). Its blend of Wii Tanks and classic Zelda (two titles that the game's creators took heavy inspiration from) made it one downloadable title that Wii owners should've put on their must-own list. At the time there were still a couple kinks noticeable in Frobot (not reading the Wiimote in some places, aiming a bit difficult), but after playing the full version of the game it's easy to say that they not just fixed the kinks but also made Frobot one of the year's best WiiWare titles.
With a premise right out of a blaxploitation film the game follows the smack-talking title character as he rescues his robotic girlfriends (or "ho-bots," as I called them) and take down the evil Botblocker Corporation, using any means necessary to "choke a bot." Players also use Frobot's special moves to solve puzzles, shoot up evil robots and maneuver through the levels to safety. Some puzzles will be fairly easy, whereas others will require some Black Dynamite-inspired sleuthing. You can even have the afro-sporting android do a little dance just for the hell of it, which proves to be entertaining thanks to the proper disco funk music playing in the background.
In the beginning you start out with all your weapons, ranging from a simple blaster to exploding disco balls, but once your girls get kidnapped you lose everything except the energy blast and remote mine. At first it would seem that you'll be walking on a difficult path to begin with, but fortunately the levels are catered to what you currently have on your person (or robot, if you wanted to get technical). What's also good is that while there are many challenges to take into in each level, the tasks never reach the feeling of frustration; in fact once you take the time to defeat all the evil bots on the screen it gives your brain the proper focus needed to solve the puzzles quicker. Each level ends when you charge up the warp pad, which could use between one and three power-ups to initiate it.
Frobot is split into four worlds with five levels each, all of them ending with a boss battle. I had issue with the boss battles as I found them to be too easy. While there's a slice of challenge in them once you figure out secret behind how to defeat the vile jive turkey it no longer showcases a true test of brains and hand-eye coordination. Of course the final final boss battle is a worthy challenge, and might take a while to figure out how to fully beat the game.
Controlling Frobot throughout the levels is fairly easy, and once you regain the Robo Hustle (a quick speed boost) you'll be able to roll past enemies with little worry. Aiming and shooting your weapons is also simple to figure out, although there may be times where you'll accidentally press the A-button and accidentally blow yourself up with a rocket when you really wanted to use a regular energy blast to deal some pain on your villains. Switching weapons, too, is easy as 1-2-3, as you use the D-pad to choose whether you want to use your Dynomine or the disco-balled Jive Stalker.
For a first-time title for Fugazo Frobot looks pretty good. Granted it's not the sexiest-looking WiiWare title to date, but for the most part its cartoonish yet groovy graphics fit well with the world of this boogie bot. Props also must be given to its story writers, which featured some of the funniest lines you'll read all year. (Shame there's no voice acting, as I could easily picture Michael Jai White playing the title character.) The funky music also works, but at times can be a little repetitive.
The regular story mode may take you about four hours to defeat, but its multiplayer mode will add a few more hours of fun gameplay with friends; where you will battle it out with up to three others to see who is the last bot standing. If you don't have many Wii loving friends then you might feel shafted by the short story mode, but if you do then you'll feel the gaming love that is coming off of this game. There's also fun in going back to the past levels and trying to beat your previous times, as well as looking for hidden items and afro power picks. In short: Frobot brings a good funk to the Wii console.
- Challenging, frustration-free puzzles
- Simple control scheme
- Funny dialogue, clever writing
- Story mode is kinda short
- Boss battles are too easy
- Music gets old quickly
With the world of WiiWare suffering something of a dry spell it's good to finally see a game like Frobot make its way to the console. It's fun, easy and filled with plenty of good laughs, and while it may be a bit too short for its own good Frobot has proven itself worthy of being considered this year's best downloadable title on the Wii. So what are you waiting for? Shake your mammer-jammer and groove out with the baddest robot since the Kwanzaa-bot made his debut on Futurama.
FINAL GRADE: 8.4 (out of 10)