STAFF REVIEW of OmegaBot (Xbox One)

Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
by Adam Dileva

OmegaBot Box art Having released on PC last June, it’s time for OmegaBot to make its entry into the console market for a wider audience to play and hopefully enjoy. Games that come from a solo developer always impress me, as I can’t imagine the amount of work and tireless nights that went into creating an idea into an actual playable product, and OmegaBot from Simon Carny is no different. Even more impressive is that it’s his first game and he clearly took a lot of influence from the iconic Mega Man series, full of side scrolling platforming and shooting action.

Everything was fine, the world was at peace, but then a mysterious mist arrived. Anyone who went near the mist somehow turned into a robot that aimed at destroying anyone in their path. So the world’s mightiest warriors that were supposed to save the world from this mist ventured out to do just that, but it seems they have failed, also changing into some sort of half robot. This is where you come in, as robots are unaffected by the mist, and although it seems other robotic heroes have come before you, you’re surely going to be the one to set thing right... Right? Those warriors that came before are seemingly the gatekeepers and will need to be defeated to venture further, but you’re such a small statured robot, what can you possibly do? It won’t be easy but you’ll gain new weaponry, abilities and dare I say, friends, along your adventure.

Much like its inspiration of early Mega Man games, OmegaBot is mechanically very similar in many ways. A side scrolling platformer, you’ll need to jump and shoot your way to the end of each stage, generally on the right side of the screen. You begin with just a singular jump and a basic blaster, eventually unlocking new weapons and abilities. Just like Mega Man, when you defeat the main bosses you’ll gain a new weapon or ability, allowing you to get through the dangerous world of killer robots and tons of pits and spike traps.

While enemies are going to be the thing that generally kills you the most, there’s plenty of traps all over, from spikes, fireballs, pits and more. Navigating these are just as important as defeating your enemies and you’ll do so in a few different ways, from small ‘tap’ jumps, gaining a little extra height on your jumps by using your blaster for a boost, and of course using your double jump and dash ability to get across gaps or out of danger quickly. Using your blaster to kind of ‘rocket jump’ takes some practice, as you need to aim downwards and fire to either slow your descent or gain a little bit more of a boost at the peak of your jump. This can be a bit tricky to get used to and I’ve had more than my fair share of deaths from not being as accurate as needed to land on moving platforms or avoiding enemies.

As you venture through forests, cities, castles and a number of other biomes, each new stage provided a unique challenge that progressively becomes more difficult as you go. As you gain new weapons and abilities you’ll need to combine all that you’ve learned to that point, but that is of course easier said than done. Thankfully there’s plenty of checkpoints that you’ll respawn at when you inevitably get destroyed, usually one every few screens or so. But sometimes these tend to be just a little TOO far apart, causing a lot of sections to be replayed until you manage to live long enough to make it to the next checkpoint.

You begin by facing off against robotic frogs, snails and other cute animal creatures that seem to have been a victim of the mist, but soon enough you’ll be battling against full on robots that will continuously fire and trying to destroy you once you’re noticed. While there’s no jumping on enemy heads to defeat them, you’ll need to rely on your trusty blaster. This required energy to do so though, so every now and then you’ll need to hold off on shooting so it can recharge, as if you let it deplete completely you’ll be slowed and unable to fire for a short while, surely to get you killed in a battle.

Your energy is split into two halves, where your first bit of firing shoots more powerful shots, but then eventually gets weaker in the last section of your energy bar. It’s kind of like a stamina bar in other games, and what makes this tricky is that your dash ability also requires energy to do so, so it takes a bit of getting used to so you don’t find yourself vulnerable often. As you gain new weapons from downed bosses, they vary in strength and type, so it will take some trial and error to find what works best for you and the situation you find yourself in.

Being part platformer as well, you’ll need to be accurate with your jumping abilities, which in itself isn’t too difficult, but anytime you shoot your blaster you’ll be knocked back slightly, as if his weapons are too powerful for his small frame. This can make things very challenging when standing on a small platform but having to fire and destroy an enemy, all while slightly adjusting to not slip and fall off. Boss fights are clearly the highlight, some more challenging than others, though not unfair once you learn their attack patterns across usually two main phases.

With checkpoints being spread out a bit too far at times, sometimes it’s difficult to stay alive long enough to reach the next respawn point. Thankfully enemies will also drop health orbs in varying sizes based on how high the shot counter above their head is when they are defeated. This is a little confusing and misleading though, as you need to gather a number of different orbs to fill the health meter completely to simply get a slight health replenish, something that wasn’t explained very well. Usually it’s just easier to respawn at the last checkpoint with full health, or if you find full heal orbs around the stage you know you’re in for a big battle or boss fight next.

Enemies will also drop gears/sprockets when defeated, also sitting and floating around the stage for you to collect. This is essentially your currency which you can use when at the hub between levels to purchase more health or energy with each upgrade increasing in price. There’s also some special icons to collect that can be used to upgrade your robot to have special perks, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

For being created by a solo developer, the world of OmegaBot is very cute and colorful, utilizing a pixel art aesthetic that is easy on the eyes, even when it gets chaotic at times. Even more impressive is that all the background items can be destroyed with your shots, purely for visual flair but a wonderful touch. While the soundtrack sets a tone and never becomes grating, it also doesn’t really stand out either, opting to try and listen to the sounds of enemy shots and tells.

OmegaBot is cute and charming, and while it may not reach the same level as its Mega Man inspiration, it’s priced decently for its 4-8 hours of gameplay depending on your skill level. A fun and challenging action platformer that was longer than I initially expected, OmegaBot was clearly made with heart and passion, and that comes across well in such a small and cute robot.

**OmegaBot was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 6.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.5 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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