One of my favourite arcade-like indie games finally has a brand new iteration more than three years after its initial release. The question is: does Don't Die, Mr. Robot! DX offer enough new content to warrant another purchase?
Considering I already reviewed Don't Die, Mr. Robot! back in 2014, I won't go in too much depth in this review but I will provide a brief summary for those who are unfamiliar with the game and don't want to read a few year old review. Basically, you play as a square with eyes who's named Mr. Robot. You slide him around a rectangular play area while avoiding enemies and hazards and collecting fruit in order to explode nearby foes and other pieces of fruit. The more fruit and enemies pile up, the better the resulting combo will be so the best strategy is to let everything pile up as much as possible before you decide to set off your next chain reaction. In this sense, it plays a lot like Kanta Matsuhisa's classic Every Extend. Anyway, the gameplay is super-addictive and simple to play which is all you can ask for when it comes to an indie arcade-like experience.
This version of Don't Die, Mr. Robot! is virtually identical to the PlayStation 4 / Vita release although it does feature some graphical and musical enhancements. For starters, the fruit looks completely different and the visuals are generally smoother. Plus, there's some groovy new menu music. On the other hand, the fact that the arenas themselves still all look the same is a bit of a letdown. Thankfully, the incredible music from the original remains intact. It goes with the onscreen chaos in that when enemies attack and spawn, different audio cues play that blend in to the music. When things get more hectic, the music speeds up and it all comes together to make a toe-tapping and immersive soundscape. In the end, the presentational changes are minimal but definitely welcome.
Another addition to Don't Die, Mr. Robot! DX is the fact that you can hold down a shoulder button to move slower. Seeing as you get bonus points when you graze enemies, this is a fantastic inclusion that'll help you acquire a higher score. Unfortunately, those points don't really mean much because the leaderboards from the original version are completely removed. I asked the developers about this and they said that they might consider adding them in an update if it sells well but as of right now, their absence is severely missed. In fact, the most amount of fun that I had with the original game was playing through the arcade mode over and over again in order to climb the online rankings. There's also a lack of control options as the PlayStation Vita version had touch controls and even motion controls but this Switch version forces you to just use the buttons, even in the menus while undocked.
The modes are the same as the PlayStation version, too. Arcade mode acts as a basic survival challenge, Time Attack grants you infinite lives, and Chill Out mode is exactly like Arcade mode but slower. Finally, there's Remix mode which includes ten areas with five stages in each. Every stage acts as a mini challenge and has you accomplishing tasks to earn trophies. This is a lot of content that'll surely keep you busy for a long time but it's also the exact same content that was in the 2014 version.
If you own a PlayStation 4 or Vita then at this point, you're better off purchasing the superior original Don't Die, Mr. Robot! However, for those who only own a Switch, what's here is definitely worth checking out, especially if you love unique arcade-style experiences.
- + Same addictive dodge 'em up gameplay
- + Awesome dynamic toe-tapping music
- + Plenty of content to work through and high scores to beat / minor improvements
- - Currently no leaderboards
- - Removed different control options
- - Same issues as the original (occasional surprise deaths and unvaried visuals)