Game Review: Paper Cut Mansion

It’s Halloween once more and time for a spooky game review. Developer Space Lizard Studio and publisher Thunderful Games have a rather apt new game out just in time for the long dark nights and to help get you in the mood. But, is Paper Cut Mansion a worthy Halloween game with scares or is it just scarily bad?

Paper Cut Mansion is a roguelite horror set in a papercraft world. Play as Toby, a police detective arriving at a mysterious old mansion. Explore the mansion floor by floor as you seek to unravel the story behind this bizarre place, with each run giving you the opportunity to collect another piece of evidence to be added onto your Evidence Board. The Mansion also hosts a mysterious cast of characters who may help or hinder your progress on each run…

Now, I do have a weakness for a good roguelite, it is one of my favourite sub-genres of gaming, so this gets a big tick in the plus column before I even start. Paper Cut Mansion also gets bonus points for its art style. As the title may have clued you in (and the trailer definitely so), what you get here is a paper-cut-out aesthetic. Think, a children’s pop-up storybook and that is pretty much it. It looks great too with a mix of 2D paper cut-outs and 3D paper models.

PAPER CUT MANSION SCREEN 1

With this being a roguelite, expect to die, a lot. As is the norm for this sub-genre, dying just helps you learn more of what to do and further you to the end of the game. How Paper Cut Mansion plays is an action-puzzle-detective ’em up. You have a mansion with multiple floors to explore, objects to search, clues to find and a variety of NPCs to meet. What gives this game a USP is the addition of three different dimensions to explore. Each floor of the mansion will have a gateway to those dimensions. When you go into a gate, the map layout remains the same, but the graphics change, as does the gameplay mechanics of each dimension.

You have the NeoCortex and this is the ‘standard’ dimension that you will start your journey in. Here, your focus will be on clue-finding and puzzle-solving. Then, there is the Reptilian Complex which is much more fiery-hellish in its presentation. Overrun with monsters, this one is much more action based and will have you using weapons to fight off a multitude of evil apparitions and demons. Finally, there is the Limbic System, which is the opposite of the previous dimension. Icy cold and you will freeze to death if you can’t find a place to warm up, giving you a more survival style of gameplay. Really, what you get with Paper Cut Mansion is three distinctly different gameplay styles and mechanics that merge together to make one overall title.

PAPER CUT MANSION SCREEN 2

Now, I have to admit that this game put me in a bad mood right from the moment it started proper (after the walking introduction) because the first thing I had to do was solve a sliding puzzle… and I really don’t like sliding puzzles. I just felt that this was going to be an uninspiring and very cookie-cutter title with bog-standard puzzles. Gladly, I was very quickly proven wrong as the game really opened up to something far more worthy and enjoyable soon after. The puzzles here are wonderfully varied. Some are very familiar and some feel truly unique. The NeoCortex dimension is (as previously mentioned) the ‘standard’ one that you will start on as the game begins. Here, you have to search your surroundings and examine furniture for clues. You can rotate and explore the items, open drawers and such, to try and find whatever it is that you need to solve a puzzle. Even then, the clues themself can also be explored as many of them will have something hidden on them that will open up a solution that you may have missed. You really do need to keep your wits about you in this dimension and use detective skills.

PAPER CUT MANSION SCREEN 3

The Reptilian Complex dimension is a lot more action-based. Loads of enemies and you armed with (eventually) a variety of weapons to take them all out. This one plays much more like a shooter/brawler-dungeon crawler with a multitude of collectable upgrades and customisable equipment. The focus here is finding a loadout that suits you and fine-tuning your skills as you kill scary beasts and apparitions. The third dimension, Limbic System, is where you need to try to stay alive and not freeze to death. It is cold and unless you can find somewhere to keep warm, you’ll soon see your demise as you try to explore the mansion and find your way to the next floor.

All three of the dimensions play very differently from each other and yet, they are all still very much part of the same game. You will always have one main mission, and that is to find and open a talking door that will take you to the next floor of the mansion. However, the talking door will give you a mission to complete specific to one of the three dimensions. So, you’ll need to play in all three on each floor of the mansion to really get an understanding of what is going on and how to progress further into Paper Cut Mansion. At set points in the game’s story, you can make decisions that will affect just how things pan out, this leads to a whopping 27 different endings to discover. Thankfully, Paper Cut Mansion offers up gameplay that you will want to come back to and the replay value is high here and outside of the main mission, there’s plenty more to see and do. NPCs will give you side quests to complete based on one of the three dimensions, weapons and upgrades to find and more.

PAPER CUT MANSION SCREEN 4

The roguelite gameplay works very well here and you will always learn something new with each successive run. Perma-death and procedurally generated levels will keep you on your toes, as well as help to keep the game fresh and interesting each time you do die and restart. Then there is the atmosphere and overall style. The paper cut-out aesthetic may give you impressions of a child’s pop-up book, but don’t let that fool you. Paper Cut Mansion has a genuine feeling of dread and horror. Look, the game opens with a short intro where you have to do nothing more than walk along a path to the mansion itself. This short segment not only sets up the tone perfectly, it even made me jump at one point, and all I was doing was walking right. Then, when you do get into the mansion itself, the feeling of dread intensifies and you just have no idea what to expect. There are surprises everywhere, even doing something as simple as searching a bed can give you a scare.

PAPER CUT MANSION SCREEN 6

Priced at around £17 and available to buy now on PC and all the consoles, Paper Cut Mansion is a charming title that really has a lot more going on than it first seems. There is a real depth of gameplay here, the melding of three different game styles and mechanics via the different dimensions adds plenty of variety. That’s before you get into all the different weapons and upgrades. The art style is wonderful and lends its way to some really great and unexpected scary moments. A roguelite that’ll keep you coming back for more, a great title to play this Halloween and a fantastic example of why indie games can be creative and unique.

(Mini) Game Review: Chenso Club

Chesno Club sounds cute and fluffy, a place that you would happily send your kids to after school. It’s not, it’s really not at all. Chesno Club comes from developer Pixadome and publisher Curve Games, a game that looks and sounds cute and fluffy, but a title that is crammed with violence, blood and more violence.

“Aliens are attacking! Who will save us? Chenso Club will! Using chainsaws, hammers, and the aliens’ own life force against them – these fearless warriors will pulverise enemies on their way to victory. Go solo! Go co-op! Go hack those aliens in this action-packed, side-scrolling platform brawler!”

Right from the off, Chenso Club gave me major Master System vibes. The way it plays, the simple platforming mechanics used and even the graphics. Just look at the following screenshot and tell me it doesn’t scream Master System (in a higher resolution) at you.

CHENSO CLUB SCREEN 1

The bright and cheery colour palette, the design of the platforms and enemies. I can’t be the only person that thinks that this looks very 8-bit Sega. Pop Alex Kidd in there and nobody would notice. Anyway, Chenso Club is (if you hadn’t guessed) an action/platformer, with a bit of a Rogue-lite twist. With five different playable characters, though only one is unlocked at the start. Each of the characters are unique with their own skill sets and distinct weapon.

Along your journey, you will kill a great number of enemies, nab power-ups and upgrades to help you take out the various bosses. This is very much a traditional action/platformer with simple and very playable mechanics. Light and heavy attacks with a jump and dodge control scheme, standard stuff. In terms of the basics, one look at Chenso Club can tell you everything that you need to know about it. But, throw in some Rogue-lite elements and you have a very playable and challenging title.

CHENSO CLUB SCREEN 2

Periodically generated levels will keep you on your toes and mean that you’ll never know what is coming next, no matter how many times you play. Plus the longer you play, the harder the game becomes. Fortunately, you can buy upgrades from the shop that will pop up as you make your way through the game. Unfortunately, you have to pay for those upgrades with your blood. Yup, your very health meter is the in-game currency here and you will have to decide if having that extra damage power-up is worth you literally paying with your life. This adds an interesting strategy mechanic to the game as you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each purchase you make… or don’t make.

There’s an in-game social media platform called ‘Chirp’ (no idea what it is lampooning) and you can meet NPCs as you play, who will happily follow you on Chirp. Then, between levels, you can log onto Chirp and use those NPCs as helpers who will give you various gifts. There’s even a bonus stage where you have to fight and pose for photos to increase your Chirp follow count. The more followers you have, the better the help you can receive. Oh yeah, those bonus stages are another thing that made me think of Master System games.

CHENSO CLUB SCREEN 5

I have just read back on this (mini) review and I have managed to make Chenso Club sound awfully cookie-cutter. In many ways, I guess that it is. However, the devs have done a fine job of taking the basic action/platforming genre and making it their own. £12 is what this is going to cost you on the consoles but £16 on Steam? You know what? either way, it’s worth it. I genuinely really bloody enjoyed this one. It is basic and harks back to the ‘good old days’ of gaming. Yet, it also feels very modern and the Rogue-lite elements give it a wonderful edge over other similar games. With five different characters, a couch co-op option and some great boss fights, Chenso Club is an old-school romp that I have to give a big recommendation to.

(Mini) Game Review: Time On Frog Island

What is Frog Island and why am I spending time on it? I had no idea, that was why I requested a review code. The title alone got me interested. Time on Frog Island, from developer Half Past Yellow and publisher Merge Games is, well… it’s kind of… I don’t know. Here, take a look at the trailer while I try to work out how best to review this game.

“Cast away on an island paradise complete with a cast of friendly frogs. Enjoy sandbox island life and explore at your own pace, solving sticky situations for your new friends and trading your way to fixing your ship!”

So then, you play as a sailor who ends up shipwrecked on Frog Island. With your ship too damaged to sail, interact with the residents of Frog Island (would you believe that they are frogs?) to get the parts needed to repair your ship. Simple enough.

TIME ON FROG ISLAND SCREEN 1

Taking place in a medium-ish open-world Time on Frog Island is an adventure game that really is just one huge fetch quest. You pick up an item and swap it for another item from one of the resident frogs, with the aim being that you trade with the island’s many frogs until you have all the parts needed to repair your ship. There is no text, no dialogue between characters. ‘Conversations’ are carried out via pictures in speech bubbles, picture bubbles, I guess?

You can only hold one item at a time and this means a lot of backtracking to get the requested items to the right frogs. There is no map, which is an annoyance as you have to try to remember where each frog of the island is and it is very easy to get lost. There is no reminder or in-game list to tell you what item you are looking for either, so you’d better have a fantastic memory to recall what item it is that you are looking for too. You’ll lose track of what you are meant to be doing while getting lost.

TIME ON FROG ISLAND SCREEN 2

Some of the trading does involve puzzles and you do get clues… in the form of those picture bubbles. Some of these puzzles have multiple parts to them. As there is no way to keep track of what you are doing or the steps you need to follow for the puzzle, you’ll have to track down the frog who gave you the clues and go through the whole thing again. Time on Frog Island is, for want of a better word, frustrating. I don’t want a game to handhold or signpost everything, but just a little to-do list and a map really could’ve helped this game no end.

£20 is what Time on Frog Island is going to cost you on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and Steam (currently with 20% off on Switch and steam). You’ll get around a 5 hour playtime for that £20 too, but is it worth it? For me, no. This is just one huge fetch quest of a game and nobody (sane) likes fetch quests. There are things that I did enjoy about Time on Frog Island. I think the setting is wonderful, the game has a graphical charm and everything is wrapped up in a very likeable personality. There are a few things that you can do outside of the main quest of fixing your boat and there is no time limit, so you can take as long as you like. The island is a nice place to explore (would’ve been better with a map though) and the characters that you meet all have their own distinct personalities, all with no dialogue too.

TIME ON FROG ISLAND SCREEN 3

There is a lot to enjoy here. It is just that core gameplay of fetching items and swapping for more items, it just begins to grate after a short while. If you enjoy fetch quests in games, then Time on Frog Island is going to please you and then some, because that is what it is, one huge fetch quest of a game. I just found it too frustrating due to a lack of map and to-do list. An okay game in my eyes, but on that could’ve been so much better.

Game Review: Way Of The Hunter

Is there really anything better than shooting deer and bears in the face? Well yeah, quite a lot of things. But shooting deer and bears in the face in a digital environment can sometimes be good fun and enjoyable. The latest shooting deer and bears in the face game, Way of the Hunter, from developer Nine Rocks Games and publisher THQ Nordic is out now and I’m going to take a look at it.

“Way of the Hunter provides a highly immersive, completely integrated experience amongst stunning wildlife with true to live animal group behavior. Witness the changing of complex ecosystems that react and adapt to your input. Learn what it means to be a true hunter and put your skills to the test. Face the challenges of ethical hunting, supported by a compelling story, or simply enjoy hunting the rich environments freely.”

Look, I need to be honest before I start this one. I’m really not the audience for this type of game. I don’t play hunting games and the last time I played anything even remotely similar to this, I think it was Duck Hunt on the NES about 37 years ago. Still, I do like to review something that is outside of my comfort zone, try a genre that I’m not familiar with and broaden my horizons a tad.

WAY OF THE HUNTER SCREEN 2

Way of the Hunter gets off to a promising start and it surprised me by including an actual story, with you taking over your grandfather’s ranch. Surrounded by a big open-world environment (and wildlife), the ranch can be explored and interacted with. Check out taxidermy displays (which you can add to), there’s a weapons locker and a PC that is used as a shop, to read any emails and more. The game takes you through a basic tutorial covering how to equip guns, attach and use scopes, buy new gear and of course, how to hunt. First, taking you to a firing range so you can get used to squeezing off a few rounds. Then, you are sent out to kill your first live target, a badger.

The game sent me to a hunting stand and told me to shoot a badger, but there weren’t any around. I whipped out my binoculars and scouted the area of where I was sent and nothing. Of course, this is a hunting sim, so I can’t expect the place to be teeming with wildlife targets like I’m playing an action-based FPS title. I have to be patient and wait for my, soon to be dead, badger to appear. So I waited, periodically checking out the area with my binoculars… for about 40 minutes and still nothing. This is still the tutorial remember, you’d think the game would want to get you past the opening ASAP so you could get into the game proper. But no, this wants to drag things out. I get this is a sim, but seriously, 40 minutes of waiting and scouting for a badger?

WAY OF THE HUNTER SCREEN 5

Anyway, I gave it another 15 minutes and yes, finally, a badger. Only it didn’t scutter across the environment as a badger would do. It kind of stuttered and jerked around like someone playing multiplayer CoD with really, really bad latency issues. How was I supposed to slowly take aim and squeeze the trigger to claim my hunting prize when the little fucker is teleporting around? It did eventually stop and I did get to shoot it and yes, I scored my first dead animal to take my hunting cherry.

Now, to be honest, the terrible frame rates and stuttering are something that I should’ve anticipated. I mean, even during the opening cut scene of your character driving to the ranch, the frame rate dropped several times. If the opening cut scene was too much for this game to handle, there’s no way it could keep up with a small badger moving around. I’m reviewing this on a Series X too, not a console that is two generations old. Plus, I had it set to performance mode in the options.

WAY OF THE HUNTER SCREEN 4

Oh, before I forget, the jeep. Yes, you have a jeep to drive around in… and it’s a fucking joke. Some of the absolute worst driving controls I have ever experienced. The handling is ludicrous and the jeep turns as if it is glued to the floor, especially at low speeds. Not that you have much choice because it is stupidly slow no matter how much you hold down the accelerator button. Seriously, you can go flat out, fully on the accelerator and the jeep never seems to go over 10 mph.

Before I move on, I do have to bring up the fast travel option. The map is big, really big and fast-travel is a must. You find new fast-travel locations by exploring the map and you can fast-travel at any point when playing. This is my kind of fast-travel mechanic. Not one of those, you can only fast-travel from specific spots things. In the middle of nowhere and want to get back to the ranch? Just fast-travel with no restrictions. Great, I can instantly travel to anywhere on the map at any time, as long as I have found the fast-travel spot. Only, when you do fast-travel, you leave your jeep behind. What (in-game) sense does that make? My character was standing quite literally 2 inches away from his jeep, but chose to walk 5 miles via fast-travel instead of driving? And if there’s no fast-travel location near your jeep or you’ve not found one yet, you’re fucked because you now have to walk all the way back to get the jeep… rendering fast-travel pointless. I wrote ‘fast-travel’ a lot there.

WAY OF THE HUNTER SCREEN 6

You have this thing called hunter sense which you can switch on at the tap of a button. This highlights any nearby animal tracks, feeding locations, pooping locations and such. Very handy for when out hunting wild animals. However, the second you even move a millimetre, the hunting sense auto de-selects, so you can’t make out the tracks and so on. When on a hunt, you have to keep stopping every few seconds just to check your surroundings and ensure that you are still following the footprints (which are near impossible to see without the hunter sense). It’s just so laborious and time-consuming.

I mean, I spent 4 hours hunting deer and couldn’t even see one, never mind shoot one. I spent ages tracking, using my hunter sense, having to stop every few seconds. I found a nice hunting stand near where the deer (according to the map) are. I even found a few tracks and an eating spot for the deer, around 100m away. Yup, there are definitely deer nearby. 4 hours and nothing. I crawled around the area where the deer icon was, nothing. I waited in the hunting stand for ages, pulling out my binoculars and checking the area regularly, nothing. 4 hours! I know this is meant to be a sim and all (complete with the ability to highlight deer shit via your hunter sense, just like real life?) but it is still supposed to be a game, right?

Check out the following screenshot that I took. It is me looking through my binoculars, supposedly, at a deer.

DEER HUNT 2

Right there in the top right corner (highlighted for you), it tells you what you are looking at and shows an analysis of the animal. It says that it is a deer, age, female and it is calm. But there isn’t anything there. I know what you are thinking, the deer is hidden in the trees in the background. Nope. Look at the aiming reticle, I’m not looking at the trees, I’m looking at that open area right in front of me. There’s no fucking deer there. The game is telling me there is a deer there, but nope. Is this a glitch, is the game broken or are the animals meant to be invisible? Perhaps they have the Predator cloaking technology? Are there any animals even programmed into this game other than that one stuttering badger with a poor internet connection that I killed in the tutorial? 4 hours of me trying to try and find a deer that wasn’t invisible. I have other games that need reviewing, I had to give up.

Quick note: aside from that one screenshot of the invisible deer that I took myself and one at the end showing my one and only badger bullet-cam kill, I have had to source images from elsewhere for this review just to show some of the animals… because they refused to spawn in my game.

WAY OF THE HUNTER SCREEN 1

Coming with a £35 price tag on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S|X, that really is quite a chunk of money for such a mess. As I said at the very start of this, I’m not the target audience. I don’t play hunting games, so I can’t tell you if this is better or worse than any others on the market. However, I don’t have to play hunting games to know that this one is massively broken. Way of the Hunter is a mess on a technical and mechanical level. Plenty of frame rate drops, stuttering/low latency animals when they do eventually show, or they turn up invisible. Absolutely horrendous vehicle controls, a fast travel system that leaves you stranded with no jeep because the in-universe logic has the character walking long distances instead of driving.

This really is a shame too as I wanted to enjoy this. I really did like the opening of the game, the story and the exploring of the ranch and its surroundings. It even sounds amazing on paper here are some of the game’s features taken from the marketing blurb:

  • Hunt like a pro with features that highlight animal signs, blood splatter analysis, and shot review with the rewindable bullet camera.
  • Hunt your way through two unique and rich locations by car or by foot. Both the Pacific Northwest and Transylvania cover a terrain of 144 square km/55 square miles each.
  • Complex Trophy system generates unique antlers and horns based on multiple factors like fitness and age.
  • 4-hour day/night cycle with changing wind and weather.
  • Realistic ballistics and bullet physics simulation.
  • An in-game economy that lets you hunt game and sell the meat to purchase new gear, hunting passes, and taxidermy for your trophy stands.

WAY OF THE HUNTER SCREEN 3

Honestly, just exploring the in-game menu and there is loads of content here. An encyclopaedia crammed with information on everything such as the different guns, bullets, equipable gear, the various animals and their habits. A thorough perk/upgrade system, a taxidermy guide. You can even view a bullet-cam of your kills, or in my case, one jittery badger kill. This thing is amazing and shows the trajectory of the bullet, its impact, the damage it did and more. The bullet-cam itself is fully interactive too, it can be rewound, forwarded, zoom in and out, rotate the camera, etc. Honestly, Way of the Hunter seems to be deeply detailed and really intriguing. But when it comes to the actual hunting in this hunting game, it just does not work.

BADGER KILL

If you want a game where you can drive around in a fucking terrible-to-control jeep and take in the scenery with frame rate drops aplenty (even in performance mode), then this is the game for you. If you want a hunting game where you hunt animals, I’d suggest you avoid this right now, it is just so poorly optimised and broken on a bare basic level. Maybe it’ll be fixed in the future? But as of right now, give this one a miss,  like trying to shoot an invisible deer. And I didn’t even mention the terrible pop-up, textures not loading in and awful graphical glitches, especially when climbing up and down a ladder.

You’re Coming With Me: Robocop In Games – Part Two

Time for some more RoboCop games and we’re starting off with a game not based on any of the films for the first time (not even the not very good TV shows). It’s also a game that brought two classic 80s sci-fi icons together… because we never got a film version.

RoboCop Versus The Terminator

In keeping with tradition so far, again we have different games released on different platforms, just so I have more to cover than needed. There had already been some RoboCop Versus The Terminator comic books released in 1992. These various games were inspired by those comics and some much more directly than others. I’ll begin with the Sega versions of the game first. The Mega Drive version is that classic side-scrolling shooter stuff that the RoboCop games were famed for. With you playing as RoboCop in both the present and future batting T-800s and more. RoboCop Versus The Terminator on the Mega Drive is often looked on as one of the system’s better games and most definitely a fan favourite.

ROBOCOP VS TERMINATOR MEGA DRIVE

Of course, there were Master System and Game Gear ports too. As was typical for the time, the Master System version was a diluted port on the 16-bit game. It was still pretty damn good though, even if you could tell that it was most definitely time to leave the 8-bit era behind by 1993/94 when these games were released. The Game Gear was just the Master System game on a smaller screen. Both are good versions of the game and both are pretty playable… which isn’t something you can really say about the next game.

RoboCop Versus The Terminator on the SNES was not as good as the Sega games. It did do some things better. The presentation is excellent here and it uses a comic book style narrative, which works great seeing as the games were inspired by the comic books in the first place. The story is different to the Sega games and, to be honest, the gameplay is not as sharp and is made to be more ‘kid-friendly’ as was Nintendo’s stance in the 90s. The Mega Drive game had enemies turned into geysers of blood when they died. With the SNES version, they kind of explode into flames, no blood. The level interaction was far better on the SNES game though and the graphics had some great little details and lighting effects not found in Sega’s version.

ROBOCOP VS TERMINATOR SNES

But the SNES game just felt a bit slow and plodding overall. Even though they are very similar games, the Sega one just played better. The two 16-bit titles are still worth a look but I would definitely gravitate more towards the Mega Drive game over the SNES one. There was another version of RoboCop Versus The Terminator on the Game Boy. Here’s a playthrough of the Game Boy Color version of the game, it’s supposed to be a bit shit. There was even a version of the game on the NES. However, this game was never officially released despite being 100% finished. The ROM was eventually found and the game can be played… if you know how. Here’s a video of the NES version for your eyes and it doesn’t look too bad.

RoboCop

Back to basics now with some good old RoboCop… nothing else, just RoboCop. This version came from developer Titus and was released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color. In a change from the usual side-scrolling action, this game went for a top-down action-adventure type thing instead. It plays more like the first The Legend of Zelda game than an arcade action title. You have a (kind of) open-world map, items to find and missions to complete. Oh and a load of bad guys to shoot while trying not to kill the stupid civilians who just run around into your line of fire whilst waving their arms about. This one has some pretty good presentation for the Game Boy Color, you can interact and talk to characters like Lewis and Dr Lazarus, who first appeared in RoboCop 3. This doesn’t seem to be based on RoboCop 3 though (I mean, Lewis is alive). I think it is just a game based on the RoboCop lore over it being based on any particular film or TV show.

ROBOCOP GBC

There was another RoboCop game from Titus, this time for the Game Boy Advance. Set to be released in 2002, this one was ultimately cancelled. It looked and played like a reworking/pseudo-sequel of the original arcade game with a few bells and whistles. Aside from RoboCop’s walk cycle that makes him look like he’s taken a robodump in his robotrousers and a jump animation that looks ‘floaty’ considering how heavy he is supposed to be, it didn’t look too bad. There’s a bit of info on the game right here. It seems like it wasn’t finished and still needed some work, but the game was dumped onto the Interwebs earlier this year. Since then, it has been played. Bearing in mind that this game wasn’t finished, I don’t think it looked too bad for a GBA game. With a bit more work, it could’ve been fairly good.

RoboCop

Titus did have another RoboCop game released in 2003 though. A FPS game that had some great ideas… but was just poorly executed. I remember playing this on PC but it was also released on the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. I really wanted a good RoboCop game too but this one just failed to deliver. On the surface, RoboCop looked quite good. Big semi-open levels that you could explore. Main, secondary and even bonus objectives to complete. This played into the maps being somewhat open as you have to explore (a bit) to find the various objectives to complete. You could save hostages and even arrest some of the bad guys instead of killing them.

ROBOCOP 2003

Unfortunately, for a game released in 2003, it looked and felt very 1998. RoboCop felt dated the second you loaded it up, which really was a shame. FPS games were ten a penny back then and the market was definitely being oversaturated by the genre, with pretty much every developer trying to make the next Half-Life. Sadly, most of those FPS games from the early 2000s lacked any kind of depth and RoboCop was one of them. They even messed up the iconic sound of his gun. How do you do that? It’s just a very, very, very ‘meh’ game that is woefully uninteresting. A great concept that was let down by the people who also brought you Superman on the N64… ’nuff said.

RoboCop

They’re really knocking it out of the park with these incredibly creative titles eh? This game was one of those awful mobile games released on iOS and Android in 2004 and developed by Digital Bridges. Let the truly terrible intro music, in the linked video, set the tone for the rest of the game. Based on the first film (now the title makes sense) and this was basically a remake of the original arcade game… only a really, really shit remake. Even for a mobile game, this was terrible. Confusingly, IGN gave it 8.5 out of 10 and called it ‘great’ and recommended that you download it. Further proof that IGN are fucking clueless hacks.

ROBOCOP MOBILE 2004

This game is atrocious and when the 1988 arcade game from 16 years before looks and plays better than a game from 2004… even a mobile game, you know something is very wrong. I’d rather play the just covered Titus FPS game than this and I never want to play that game ever again after this retrospective. How and why did IGN rate this game so highly and recommend it… HOW!? Well, they did call the main villain ‘Clarence Boddiger’ in their review, multiple times. As I said, they’re fucking clueless hacks. IGN also said (and I quote) that they:

“…was surprised by how much the theme music evokes the visceral feeling of the movie.”

Just go back and listen to that intro music again in the video I linked to and tell me that it ‘evokes the visceral feeling of the movie’. So IGN are tone deaf as well as fucking clueless hacks. I don’t much like IGN.

RoboCop

So what we have here is a game based on the not very good remake. Would it come as a surprise if I told you it wasn’t a very good game? Released for iOS and Android in 2014, developed and published by Glu Mobile… and that should tell you all you need to know about this one. Glu make crappy, ‘freemium’, pay-to-win, tappy-tap-tap games with zero depth. I mean, they also made Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. So that is the level of crapness we are dealing with here.

A very shallow third-person shooter that you really have very little control over. Hide behind cover, shoot bad guys and that’s it. End the level and earn a very small amount of in-game currency to buy weapons and upgrades that you just can’t afford unless you grind the same levels over and over endlessly. Seriously, some of the stuff you can buy in this game, with real money, runs into the £100s. RoboCop was a microtransaction orgy of fuckery that would kill your wallet fast than Clarence Boddicker (take note IGN) killed Alex Murphy (too soon?). Unbelievably repetitive and shallow and so crap that I wouldn’t be surprised if IGN gave it a 10/10 ‘highly recommended’.

ROBOCOP REMAKE MOBILE

Is it really too much to ask for a good RoboCop game? I mean, those earlier efforts were mostly good, some of them even great. The 8 and 16-bit titles had some solid gameplay and a lot of them still hold up today. RoboCop 3 on the Amiga was probably the last truly great game and that was 31 years ago. Okay, I’ll give RoboCop Versus The Terminator on the Mega Drive its due, it was pretty good too. Then we’ve had three decades of shit. RoboCop is not a hard IP to get right in terms of a game either, is it? You what this IP needs? A really fantastic development team who has a track record of handing hugely popular 80s films and can turn them into high-quality games…

RoboCop: Rogue City

Coming in 2023 from Teyon… the same studio who gave us the absolutely, fucking atrocious and shouldn’t be played by anyone, Rambo: The Video Game. A title that was released in 2014 and yet it felt and played 20 years out of date. They followed that up with Terminator: Resistance in 2019. A game that most reviewers tend to describe as ‘not as shit as Rambo, but still shit’. Yes, let’s give the studio who have already messed up two much-loved 80s movie IPs another much-loved 80s movie IP to make a game out of.

ROBOCOP ROGUE CITY 1

I am trying to stay open-minded here… but it’s hard, so very hard when their previous track record has been pretty dire and when we’ve had 30 years of several poor RoboCop games. Even the teaser trailer that they put out for this looks unfinished and when the buildings pop up, they really do pop up. I know it is early days and I know that it is just a teaser and all but I really don’t see RoboCop: Rogue City being a good game at all. Am I going to try to get a review code? Yes, yes I am. Why? Because I love RoboCop and so desperately want to play a good game based on the lore. I just hope that this one can prove my pessimistic cynicism wrong.

News just in as I edit this article, a gameplay trailer has been released for RoboCop: Rogue City so I can get a better look at it than the previously linked terrible teaser…

Right, let’s get the best bit out of the way first. That’s Peter Weller! The original RoboCop is back and he lends his likeness and has recorded new dialogue for the game, which is a massive plus. A release date too and RoboCop: Rogue City will be here in just under a year. For me, it looks very typical Teyon though. I’m not getting my hopes up and I will be keeping my expectations low, based on their previous games. But I’ll happily admit that it doesn’t look as bad as Rambo: The Video Game was and possibly slightly better than Terminator: Resistance.

ROBOCOP ROGUE CITY 2

Wait a tick. Teyon have the RoboCop and Terminator IPs? If they pass this chance up…

Other RoboCop Game Appearances

So, just as with the finale of my RoboCop movie and TV retrospective, I wanted to look at some unusual RoboCop appearances in other games. I could only find two and they are hardly unusual either. The part man, part machine, all cop cyborg showed up in Mortal Kombat 11 and in a rather awesome bit of IP entanglement, he got to fight the T-800. I’m really not much of a fan of the Mortal Kombat games, so I never got into this, but even a non-fan like me can really appreciate how awesome it is. I love the reference to the RoboCop Versus The Terminator games when they clash and the fights between them are certainly brutal. The poor Arnie impersonation lets it down a tad, but that is made up by the fact that Peter Weller voiced RoboCop.

ROBOCOP MK 11

Fortnite is the other game that RoboCop had popped up in. At this point, I think that every IP that has ever been made has appeared in Fortnite. I don’t play Fortnite, I’m 100% sure that I will never play Fortnite and I’m fairly certain that even the addition of RoboCop won’t ever change that. But hey, there he is… in Fortnite.

The ‘Other’ RoboCop Games

Originally, this is where I ended this article and as I was taking a break from RoboCop for a while, I suddenly remembered playing some fan-made Robocop titles from a few (many) years ago. I completely forgot where I found them at first, but after a bit of trawling through my old memory brain-thing and some exploring of the Interwebs, I soon got on the right path. You can find all of the RoboCop (and other) games at Park Productions if you fancy a look. I’m going to just very quickly go through them here though.

First up, RoboCop Classic. A remake of the ZX Spectrum game… which was fantastic. Only now with some added extras such as the game running a lot smoother, being able to change the colour palette and even the option to play with the Amstrad CPC graphics… or even a mix between the two. This is a great ‘back to basics’ game that improves on an already great port of the arcade original. If you liked the ZX Spectrum port, then this remake is well worth a play.

RoboCop 2D is a remake of the arcade original that follows the film much more closely. This one even lifts clips from the film to stitch the plot together nicely. Classic side-scrolling action that is pure arcade action from start to finish. This remake adds some new features to the arcade game with an upgrade system when collecting gold OCP coins and a special attack that rains fire down on the bad guys. Yet, it still retains that classic gameplay that I love about the arcade game. There are some nice little graphical touches too such as lighting, shadows and reflections that really make this rather nice to look at.

ROBOCOP 2D 2

RoboCop 2D 2 takes what made the first remake good and improves on it… oh and it throws in the T-800 too. Yup, if you thought those RoboCop Versus The Terminator titles from the start of this article were the only ones, you were wrong. Just as with the last game, this one uses film clips to connect the story, only now it uses both RoboCop and The Terminator clips and some pretty good editing. Telling an original story that sees RoboCop taken from his own time and sent to the future to battle Skynet. Of all of these fan-made games, this one is the best.

Finally, there is Robocop 2D 3 and this one wasn’t as good. RoboCop could now walk up and down instead of just left and right, which really didn’t suit the game at all. This is just a ‘throw everything at you’ type of game with very little focus on gameplay. This one just feels very ‘messy’ over the last two and not as enjoyable to play at all. It’s not a bad game, it’s just not as good as the other two and seems like it was rushed out with very little thought. The entire RoboCop 2D Trilogy can be found here and yes, they are free.


And with that, my rather lengthy RoboCop retrospective is finished and it went on longer than I originally anticipated. Looking back on everything RoboCop, I think it’s a shame that the franchise hasn’t been treated with a bit more respect. In terms of games, I feel that Alex James Murphy hasn’t done too badly at all. There have been a few questionable titles, sure. But the good ones definitely outweigh the bad ones. The original arcade one is still pretty damn playable now too. Oh, please let RoboCop: Rogue City be good. It doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t have to be the best game ever made. It just needs to be a good RoboCop game.

ROBOCOP MIDDLE FINGER

In terms of movies and TV, RoboCop, as a franchise, has been fucking awful. An amazing first film, one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made. That was followed up with a half-decent sequel and a truly atrocious one after that. As for the remake? Meh, a wasted opportunity to make a great and adult RoboCop flick.  The live-action TV shows are bad for that first effort and pretty okay for the second one. With the animated shows, the first one was quite good and the second one was just terrible. Maybe some franchises just shouldn’t become a franchise in the first place?