OmegaBot was initially released by a single developer, Simon Carny, on Steam back in 2022. With the passage of time, the decision has been made to release the game onto console platforms, and so OmegaBot has rocked up at our door. Billed as a “tight action side scroller”, with the seemingly inevitable retro-style graphics, is the world of Microsoft’s big black box ready for what OmegaBot brings to the table, or have we seen it all before?
When it comes to retro-styled platform action games, you can’t really say that there has been a drought of games in the genre; I start to twitch when I see “retro-styled” at the moment. Still, the presentation of OmegaBot is quite nice, to be fair, with an almost disarming cuteness to the design of all the things in the game. The backdrops are nice and colourful, for a world that, once again, has been destroyed. Our hero is pretty cool looking too, whilst enemies are well designed, ranging from robotic frogs to giant bosses, and everything in between.
We can continue in the positive mindset when discussing the audio too, and OmegaBot comes with all the sound effects you’d expect from a game that focuses on a robot shooting all the others! And yes, there’s a heart-breaking squeak when you die; something which you may well hear a lot of. Suffice to say that while OmegaBot probably wouldn’t make an NES break a sweat, it all comes with a certain appeal.
But how about a story to all this gratuitous robot blasting? Well, there seems to be a reason for all this. It appears that the world used to be at peace, and everyone lived in jolly harmony until one day a mist arose. This was no ordinary mist, though, as it had the ability to turn anyone into a robotic killing machine with a bad attitude. Hence the creatures that we fight are sometimes just robots (looking a lot like those shiny chrome ones from the 80’s), whilst others are some kind of hybrid, like the frogs that have a half robot, half frog face. We’re doing them a favour by shooting them to be fair.
Anyway, if a robot enters the mist, it suffers no ill effects, and so the robot army was raised and sent in to find out what was happening. We are the OmegaBot, as the title makes plain, and now it is our turn to have a crack at the mission. Oh, and just to add a little spice, it appears that the mightiest warriors of the old world also tried to stop this mist, but succumbed to its clutches. Guess those will be the bosses then!
Now, OmegaBot has a neat trick up its sleeve, and it is one that has been mercilessly copied from Mega Man – defeat these bosses and you can acquire their weapons, leading you to be able to do more damage to the next boss, and so on and so forth. It’s not a new idea, but it is quite well done here.
This leads us on to combat as a whole, and here the news is pretty good. OmegaBot starts out with a gun that fires powerful bullets for a bit, then fires weaker bullets faster, and then fires nothing if you run out of energy. Think of it like the stamina bar in Elden Ring – all out attacks will leave you vulnerable and it is better to preserve your energy, attacking at the right time. Luckily, defeated foes will drop you health packs, in addition to flowers, for some reason. Why a killer robot on a rampage would stop to pick flowers I don’t know. Still, OmegaBot can shoot and jump, and even shoot and jump to get where he is going. Weirdly, the gun also acts as a traversal mechanic.
Yep, if you are faced with a jump that is a touch too long, or too high, then if OmegaBot jumps and fires his gun downwards, it will allow you to gain those extra yards you need to make it. It is a silly idea, as getting the movements in place for jumping, then switching to firing down and then landing on the other side is quite tricky. However, there’s a host of things to find in OmegaBot, just by exploring, and so you’ll be using this move more than you think; in fact, until you get the dash move, this is your best option.
Other than that, the platforming action on display is a tad too annoying, with a great deal of imprecision in the jumping, especially when trying to land on small pillars. OmegaBot also comes with that usual platforming trope in which he slides just a little bit after landing a jump; usually this is the difference between life and death as falling down a hole is an insta-kill and a ticket to the last checkpoint. And believe me, those checkpoints are usually some time ago, leading to you seeing the same bits of the same levels again and again.
While I’m complaining, why is OmegaBot’s gun too powerful for him? If you fire the gun while it is at full power, it will push our hero backwards, even into spikes or off edges if you aren’t paying attention. I won’t tell you how annoying that can be too.
Luckily, to even things out, there is a certain hook to the gameplay and it is that which may well keep you coming back, even if you are chewing through your controller as you do so. Once that hook kicks in, OmegaBot becomes one of those ‘one more try’ games.
It is by no means a bad game, but OmegaBot needs a little polish in the platforming sections to make it a great one. As it is, it is firmly middle of the pack.
OmegaBot is on the Xbox Store
- Cute graphical style
- Challenging gameplay
- Keeps you trying, just once more
- Jumping is imprecise
- Why does the gun push you back?
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to – Red Art Games
- Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, PS4, PS5, PC
- Version reviewed – Xbox One on Xbox Series X
- Release date – 20 January 2023
- Launch price from – £10.74