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Don’t Die, Mr. Robot review for PS Vita


Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Infinite State
Developer: Infinite State
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Don’t Die, Mr. Robot — or, as it was called until its developers became skittish about potential lawsuits, Avoid Droid — seems like the sort of game that could’ve been released at virtually any time in the history of video games. It may be a Vita game now, but I’m pretty sure that it could’ve been released on a mobile device, PS360, or NES, and no one would’ve batted an eye. Obviously, depending on the system there’d probably be some graphical upgrades or downgrades, but all in all, that tells you something about the timelessness of Don’t Die, Mr. Robot’s gameplay.dont-die-mr-robot-12

Whether that something is good or bad, of course, is open to a little debate. For the most part, I’d say it’s good. Don’t Die, Mr. Robot (which I’ll just call DDMR from here on out in the interests of space) is built around one simple mechanic: as its former title implied, helping the titular droid (er, Robot) avoid enemies. That’s pretty much the extent of the whole game. There are wrinkles here and there — some levels ask you to last as long as you can, others call for X number of kills in X time, still others are score-based, and so on – but in general, what you’re doing on the first level of the game is pretty similar to what you’re doing hours and hours later.

Which is where the bad — or, at least, the sort of bad — comes in. DDMR is definitely a little repetitive. If you don’t enjoy the act of avoiding enemies and snatching up explosive fruits at first, it’s not like the game introduces some crazy new mechanics later on that will make you rethink everything you know about DDMR. What you see at first is, more or less, what you get.

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To which I say: that’s a big part of the appeal. DDMR is the sort of game you can pick up for a couple of minutes at a time. You’re guaranteed to instantly remember exactly what you’re supposed to do (it’s practically in the title!), and you can chase high scores between classes or bus stops without worrying about having to remember a bunch of stuff.

And that’s really what makes it such a timeless game. Much like like Pong, or Pac-Man, or Tetris, DDMR only really does one thing, but it does that one thing extraordinarily well. I mean, Don’t Die, Mr. Robot is nowhere near as essential as those games…but at the same time, it’s at least addictive enough that you can mention it in a not-too-distant proximity to them and not have it sound like the craziest thing ever.

Grade: B+