CUSTOM ROBO ARENA / Nintendo / DS
Custom Robo Arena is really Pokemon warmed over again by Nintendo, but this time giving you spazzy action-oriented arena battles in the style of Sonic Battle and Virtual On instead of turn-based RPG fights with cutesy monsters.
You begin in a house that looks suspiciously like something from the old GB original Pokemon games, and the story is total Lazy Kiddie Animu Clichesville aimed at pre-teens. You're a kid who just moved to a new town with his family, the local school is obsessed with Robo Battling (to the point that no one ever seems to study or do anything else), you fight to become Big Champion. The robots are even kept in little cubes that have to be thrown onto the battlefield and open up. Dalek, I choose YOU!
The story is just an afterthought really, to shuttle you between battles and opportunities to Level Up. The system here is extremely basic; first you pick a base robot frame, then you can pile whatever gun, missile, leg type and armor type you want onto them from what you've scrounged through your journeys.
The actual action is alright, but super spastic and a bit rough around the edges. The high speed devalues specific strategy, jumping around like a crackmonkey while doing constant side-dashes and firing a homing weapon nonstop seems to be the order of the day here.
I understand that the game is aimed squarely at the 8-to-15 age bracket so I'm trying not to be too harsh on it, but I think even that age group will be bored by the lazy story and the early-SNES-caliber RPG framework it uses. The emphasis here is really on multiplayer, either directly with someone else or through some sort of online component. I didn't feel like the spazzy action merited bothering with that though. Maybe when seen through the lens of a 13 year old hopped up on Mt. Dew? I dunno. Anyway, there's a lot of other giant robo games out there that offer both better action, a more compelling single-player campaign, and more strategic depth in how you build and equip your Deathbot. This one seems a bit superfluous. The music is also annoying as shit.
* Gameplay Video