ReviewsReview: Sun Wukong VS Robot

Review: Sun Wukong VS Robot

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Game genres come in and out of fashion all the time. One that has been ever-popular and a mainstay around the indie world is platforming and Metroidvania. These tough precision titles ask you to wander around labyrinthine worlds with little guidance or knowledge of what you will encounter. The monsters you face are evil and love nothing more than to kill you on the spot. Sun Wukong VS Robot captures each of these elements in its pixelated gameplay.

Developed by Indienova and Bitca and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a mini retro pixelated Metroidvania game inspired by old-school classics. You must run, jump, fight and explore the dank surrounding dungeons. The world you live in is dangerous and every new corridor and room could be your last. You must observe each section, think fast, and make it out alive.

Sun Wukong VS Robot is short but horribly difficult.

Now, I’ve always enjoyed this genre of game, but sadly it’s not my forte. My lack of skills compound the difficulty and this probably took me much longer to play than the standard gamer. The precision, accuracy, and dexterity required to succeed evaded me. So I took a methodical approach, slowly annihilated my foes and patiently worked my way through the maze-like levels.

Metroidvania games are renowned for their difficulty, and this one is no different. With foes that shoot, smash, and crush you where you stand, you must learn their attack pattern and avoid their strikes. This is compounded further with gigantic bosses that require both accuracy and tactics to overcome. Add in the requirement to have unlocked certain skills and you will lose your mind as you constantly search the dungeon you are trapped in.

Duck and jump.

Wukong is trapped in a mechanical maze.

Having to fight for your life is one thing, but being trapped by four jewels attached to your head is something altogether different. Each gem represents one of the four bosses you must defeat. These gargantuan robots are the key to unlocking the mechanical maze you are trapped in. The aim is simple, but achieving it is anything but straightforward. This is a title that will push the best Metroidvania fans and one that will keep you playing for hours.

The gameplay follows the standard approach for this genre. An unmarked map gives you no hints to the direction to take. You are free to explore with no idea about which path is easier or harder. You will backtrack to find each ability and new routes to each of the bosses. It’s confusing, frustrating, but above all an enjoyable challenge that keeps you coming back for more.

The skills allow you to take down your foes from afar and using them at the right time is essential. Failure to make the most of the abilities bestowed on you makes the game much harder and you are unlikely to progress. Alongside the abilities, you can spend your experience points on power-ups. These expensive boosts are essential to defeating the overpowered bosses, so grind out the XP and make Wukong as strong as possible.

Can you defeat the boss and his pet?

Sun Wukong VS Robot is a wonderful to look at retro title.

For all the realistic games that are coming out, I still love retro pixelated titles. The garish colours, blocky graphics and simple yet varied worlds are always great to look at. The sprites vary in size and shape and contain enough details to make them interesting to watch. I loved each of the bosses as they were absurd in both appearance and stature. The OTT nature of their build made the tiny hero look even smaller, and it was terrifying and amusing to witness. Sun Wukong VS Robot is the perfect representation of the modern Metroidvania title, with smooth gameplay and interesting stage designs.

The audio worked brilliantly to support the dark atmosphere and the ominous graphics. A haunting minor toned soundtrack plays out constantly, giving you an eerie and uneasy feeling. The music breaks away from this when facing each of the bosses. The beat picks up, and the atmosphere becomes aggressive. This change in style is instantly noticeable and helps to set the main fights apart from the rest of the action. The sound effects, however, were as expected. Loud noises accompany each of your weapons, and your jumps are met with thuds as you slam to the floor. The audio is well delivered and is one of the key elements that make this work so well.

Bats, robots and lasers….

Typical straightforward control setup.

Though there are many skills and power-ups to unlock, this is straightforward to play. Flicking through your abilities is easy to achieve, and moving accurately from each surface is helped by responsive controls. If it wasn’t for the games overbearing difficulty level, Sun Wukong VS Robot would be an easy title to complete.

On the face of it, this is a short game to play. The maze isn’t massive, and each section you explore is relatively small. You are held up by the army of enemies you must slay or avoid, and the constant supply of dead ends. Once you overcome the bosses and break the mind locker, there is little else to do. The achievements will all be unlocked and the only reason to return is if you loved the first playthrough. Sadly, this affects the replay value but as it’s inexpensive, it’s still great value for money.

Sun Wukong VS Robot a great little indie title.

If I didn’t suck at Metroidvania games so much I would have loved this! As it is, I still enjoyed my time and the challenge that is presented. I strangely wanted it to last longer and was disappointed when I defeated each boss. It’s a great little indie title that will push the best of players in the genre. With an unusual story and nice mechanics, I recommend you to buy it here! Sun Wukong VS Robot is an old-school inspired title that will have you addicted to its retro charms. Defeat the bosses, remove the gems, and escape the mechanical maze.

SUMMARY

Sun Wukong VS Robot is a retro pixelated Metroidvania title inspired by old-school classics. Search a never-ending maze, destroy your foes, and defeat four robot bosses. It's challenging, addictive, and everything you'd expect from the genre.

+ Old-school pixelated graphics.
+ An excellent soundtrack.
+ Easy to pick up.
+ Addictive and challenging.
- It may be too hard for some.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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