I have a real love/hate relationship with Don’t Die Mr Robot DX, and I can’t put my finger on why. The nearest I have come to explaining it to myself goes something like this: “I hate it because it looks so cheap and lazy, like a C-grade Flash game from the 90’s. But it’s just so fucking addictive and I cannot put it down” See, I’m not one for judging a book by its cover, usually, but Don’t Die Mr Robot DX’s presentation is just so sub-par that I found it difficult to get hyped up to play it. Fuck my life if I didn’t love it when I gave it a try, though!
At its core, Mr Robot DX is a single screen arcade score attack game where you destroy enemies by collecting fruit. Each piece of fruit you come into contact with has an area of effect that will destroy nearby enemies, and set off other exploding fruits if they are in proximity. The challenge comes from the gradual increase in difficulty, with enemy numbers increasing dramatically, becoming much faster and more lethal. Fortunately, Mr Robot, seemingly, resides in a fruit market, and the fruit spawn rate increases in line with the amount of enemies on-screen. Why does Mr Robot have a penchant for explosive fruit? Mind your own business, that’s why!
The typical game loop goes something like this:
- Avoid enemies for as long as possible, allowing the screen become as dense with enemies and fruit as possible
- Set off a chain of explosions, wiping out as many enemies as you can
- Go to (1)
Such a simple design delivers some genuinely exhilarating gameplay, once you get the hang of things.
There’s a few gameplay modifiers thrown in to keep things from getting stale, and you can buy various upgrades to make Mr Robot faster, more resilient and magnetic – for picking up coins at a distance. If you’re good enough, the coins you’ve collected can be redeemed for new cosmetic items, power ups and guest characters.
I haven’t bought all the characters yet, though I have unlocked the greatest, possibly most niche, game character of all time called “Eggsy”. Not Eggsy of Kingsman fame, but of Goldie Lookin’ Chain fame – err…infamy.
Besides Arcade mode, you can put Mr Robot and gang through their paces in Time Attack, Chill Out and a Remix Mode that switches the game’s rules up a bit. They’re nice inclusions, but I never found them as compelling or addictive as the standard game mode.
It’s understandably easy to brush Don’t Die Mr Robot DX aside. It’s ugly, seemingly shallow and not exactly original. Give it some time and you’ll find a game that’s shamefully addictive, has a surprising amount of depth, and bound to have you coming back for more. Somewhat reminiscent of a Goldie Lookin’ Chain album, then.