Drunken Robot Pornography – Review (PC)

Drunken Robot Developers?

While heavy on the drunken robots, Drunken Robot Pornography is, to our  chagrin, quite light on the pornography. Developer Dejobaan may not be serving up hot metallic ass, but they have pieced together a first person arcade shooter that is often humorous but is hit or miss in terms of gameplay.

The story revolves around your robot bartender, Tim. As a result of gaining sentience he has determined that working for the man (you) is a bullshit proposition and has exacted revenge by commandeering your other robot servants to destroy your city. Told through voice messages left by Tim and other equally wacky characters, placards between loading screens, and anecdotal and amusing level descriptions these parts of the game set the tone for what is otherwise an abstract exercise.

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The game has a very “Sega arcade” aesthetic and feel – lots of straight lines, clean graphics, loud vibrant colours, and is a joy to look at. The mechanics are a simple and straight forward FPS affair but lack any accoutrements such as crouching or strafing – abilities you’re going to miss when surrounded by the many randomly generated bad guys flying toward you. You do get a limited propulsion jet-pack though, so… there’s that.

The levels are broken down into different “events” that Tim has orchestrated within the city. They all take place in an arena like environment and can be simple “score this amount of points” scenarios or Boss like battles where you’re pitted against a laser wielding giant robot of some kind. As you defeat a level the next one opens up and you progress through the game this way until the end, uncovering extra features along the way like visiting your apartment or playing  2D Flash versions of DRP. These “distractions” are fun and break up the monotony of replaying a level 30 times but that is where DRP falls off the rails. The first handfuls of levels are so easy I thought I was going to beat the entire game within twenty minutes. And then…there is level 6.

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Perhaps it speaks more to my ability than the game’s design but what literally took us less than a minute or two in previous levels was now suddenly unattainable. We played and replayed this level for an hour – mind you it’s only 100 seconds long and we just couldn’t get the required points in the requisite time or we just plain died. The “creatures” you’re there to kill  appear out of nowhere and from every direction. Without a strafe or speed boost it’s difficult not to run into them and lose health making the controls feel hampered – and in a game without any kind of health regeneration, frustrating as well. And who thought putting light posts in the middle of the runways was a good idea? Fortunately there are weapon power-ups spread throughout the levels that once stacked provide great visuals and a feeling of “bad-ass-ery.”  Those feelings are few and far between though as it seems the levels are designed to get in the way and frustrate the player, making the act of playing difficult, never mind the objective.

A string of less than stellar engagements followed by a level rife with bad design and seemingly insurmountable goals is the template that permeates throughout all of DRP. Even the robots you’re tasked to kill are nothing more than rotating shapes that don’t really move or confront you other than shooting lasers in all directions and defeating them is simple and offers little sense of accomplishment. The levels also take some time to load and while you can use a gamepad in-game the menus require you to use the keyboard/mouse. Certainly not a deal breaker but it would be nice to lie back in a chair without having to get up every 90 seconds to progress.

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While the story and presentation of Drunken Robot Pornography is bursting with personality the underlying game is, at best, dull and, at worst, frustrating. We’re reminded that no matter how much you polish a turd – you’re still holding shit. We have no doubt that the developers have the talent and means to produce something really special but this is not it and we cannot recommend this game.

Drunken Robot Pornography is now available on Steam