C’mon, little guy. Keep heading upwards.
Random Layers’ Upwards, Lonely Robot, published by Kasedo Games, has a simple premise. It is a puzzle platformer in which the player must keep moving their spherical little robot upwards, from platform to platform, ascending a tower to reach the top, before starting on the next tower, all the while avoiding enemies and traps.
It is not quite that simple though. Our little robot buddy is powered by fruit, and as such a meter is constantly depleting as the player makes their way up each tower. Each enemy touched and each trap triggered will further deplete the meter. There is fruit distributed among the platforms to top up the meter and keep powering the robot, but the availability of the fruit is such that finishing a tower will more often than not require very few mistakes.
Upwards, Lonely Robot is a casual platformer for the most part, offering a simple, relaxed gameplay style that will not cause too much stress to the average gamer through the 75 levels available in the story mode. Tweaking the difficulty will make the game more suited to the hardcore platform fans out there, but the core gameplay doesn’t change up much.
There is a story wrapped into the story mode, which is fortunate, and it is quite enjoyable. Told in small snippets between each of the levels, a man called Matt weaves an interesting tale of Humans being all but wiped out by robots, and survivors trapped in towers. The story takes a while to blossom, but eventually the player will discover the reason for this lonely robot’s constant tower climbing, which will add purpose to the game.
Visually, the game looks nice. While it is not going to pose a challenge for the current crop of new-gen titles, the aesthetic fits nicely with the simple gameplay. Our hero, the lonely robot, and all of the enemy robots, which come in a nice variety, are all fairly small and lack significant detail, but look good in the context of the game. The towers are impressive, and provide a lovely flow as the turn to keep the controlled character at the front, and the backdrops, while simple, really set the scene. It may not be that fancy, but there is something heartwarming about the visual style of Upwards, Lonely Robot.
They same could be said for the games’ soundtrack, which begins as impressively orchestral and mood setting. However, the lack of variety as the game progresses does make the soundtrack grate somewhat, with the idea of turning the volume off becoming quite attractive relatively early in the game. Turning off the volume will not leave the player missing anything, as the sound effects in the game are incredibly basic and minimal.
The most important aspects of a platformer are the controls, and Upwards, Lonely Robot manages to nail these. Admittedly, there is not much beyond jumping and moving, although a couple of tweaks pop up later in the game, but the controls feel precise enough, with the ability to change direction in mid jump, that any errors are down to the player.
The story mode manages to last for some 75 levels, and is great fun to play through. However, the game offers a couple of other modes that provide competition and bragging rights. Local or online competition brings an almost party-like mode to the game, and is pretty good fun. But the Endless mode is where all of the challenge is, with a very enticing leaderboard. Considering the low price of the game, only £7.99 on Steam, these extra modes make the Upwards, Lonely Robot package quite appealing.
Upwards, Lonely Robot is a simple platformer that will mostly appeal to casual gamers. However, tweaking the difficulty and the hugely addictive Endless mode mean that even hardcore platformer fans will find some enjoyment and challenge here. It may be lacking sparkles, bells or whistles, but Upwards, Lonely Robot is an enjoyable game that may be more impressive than first appearances. Definitely worth checking out.