Sawbuck Gamer

Broken Robot Love

Not That Into You

The dumped automaton in Broken Robot Love had it coming.

By Anthony John Agnello • October 22, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Adult Swim, as a larger entity, doesn’t typically trade in sentimentality. Old reruns of Cowboy Bebop might drift into wistful stoicism, but the quasi-network’s cartoons, games, and other sundries are more often concerned with gleeful irony and the surreal. Broken Robot Love, on the contrary, is pretty damn earnest. The story of a little blue robot tossed away by his owner in favor of some hot new thing, Love is like a Lunchables pack of nostalgic boyhood heroism. The underdog triumph, pixel graphics, lava-soaked caves, and Legend-era Tangerine Dreamy score all make for a musical game of survival.

Despite these sentimental trappings, the level design is more akin to the streamlined, twitchy Super Meat Boy than the languid Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery. The robot has to jump to a skull-shaped exit in each of Love’s many single-screen stages, but the exit’s often high up on a ledge or obscured by obstacles like buzzsaws and lava. Fortunately, you have a supply of free-floating crates at your disposal—just push a button to pause the action and position one on the screen. You can use one of these magical blocks to block the lava, say, or reflect a laser to activate a switch.

It’s easy to misplace a block, and you can’t move it again once it’s in place. These duds can be pretty troubling when you’re paused in midair over deadly water and you’ve placed your next landing platform just a tiny bit out of reach. The problem in a nutshell: The block controls don’t just frustrate success, they end up shattering the atmosphere that is the game’s best attribute. The robot’s owner might have been right to toss the robot away. He is, as the title suggests, a little busted.

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557 Responses to “Not That Into You”

  1. WorldCivilizations says:

    I’m up to level 38. I don’t agree with the review, I find the controls to be very responsive and the difficulty curved perfectly – I’d even go so far as to say that it’s one of the best flash puzzle/platformers I’ve played. Not surprising considering Adult Swim’s track record.