Gato Roboto is Doinksoft’s first game. The gameplay follows the classic tradition of the Metroidvania genre — er, sorry, “Meowtroidvania.” The hook here is that Kiki the cat can enter different vehicles to facilitate exploration and combat. The trailer alone shows a mech, a submarine, and emplaced cannons. Each suit has its own abilities, such as dashing, double jumps, or underwater travel.
Additionally, you’ll traverse the game world without any suit. Kiki will need to… shed… the safety of her mech to access smaller pathways, as well as to gain the ability to claw your way up walls and use a wall jump. You’ll need to do this to find new weapons and upgrades. However, without a suit, you can’t shoot. The risk-reward gimmick on display here should prove interesting enough to set this game apart from the sea of other Metroidvania games that have released over the last few years.
Gato Roboto tells a tale as old as time. Spaceman Gary is out patrolling the galaxy when he gets a strange signal from a small planet. He calls it into mission control. His cat Kiki jumps up on his keyboard, however, sending their ship crashing down to the planet below. It’s basically Shakespeare, really. Truthfully, this setup is delivered in a strange yet charming fashion, as is typical of publisher Devolver Digital. The game’s website alone is worth a visit.
Feel the Years
The game’s style is right out of the original Game Boy era, being entirely monochrome with simple designs. Aesthetically, it reminds me a lot of Downwell, mixed with enemy designs reminiscent of Bomberman of all things. Hopefully, Gato Roboto will follow the example set by aesthetically similar games like Return of the Obra Dinn and Downwell by allowing different visual themes to match your particular flavor of nostalgia.
I’m also a sucker for the fact that Kiki can’t say anything other than “meow.” The music in the trailer is the grungy, popping electronic soundscape you’d expect from an early-90s space game, but it doesn’t really fit with the cutesy aesthetic in my opinion.
Devolver Digital has a history of publishing stylish games. Really, the only real question is if Doinksoft’s maiden effort will deliver purrfect gameplay. If you can’t get enough cat content in your life, Gato Roboto launches on Steam and Switch on May 30 for $7.99.