Microbot offers a solid mix of dual-thumbstick shooting, customization, vivid environments, and exploration. Play it.
When I first saw Microbot on Xbox Live Arcade, I read the description and it sounded interesting so I downloaded the demo. After playing this for just a few moments, I quickly realized that it was going to be a fun, highly addictive shooter, and immediately bought the game without even finishing the demo. Now, onto the review...
Ah, the meat of any review. I have yet to beat Microbot as of this date, but my impressions thus far are great. First, I'll explain how the game works: You are a tiny, microscopic robot that has been injected into a (presumably) human's blood system, and your task is to locate and eliminate the robotic viruses that are plaguing the host. The game plays as a dual-stick shooter, which would be familiar to people who have played other XBLA games such as Geometry Wars and Zombie Apacolypse. One stick moves, and the other stick shoots in whichever direction.
As you progress through the game, you will encounter various new enemies. Every time you find (and kill) a new enemy, you can gather "data" from that enemy. Once enough data is collected, you will unlock new parts that you can use for your ship, whether it be lasers, bombs, missiles, and the like. Which brings me to the best part about Microbot: The customization.
Your ship comes equipped with 3 ports (you can attain more ports as the game progresses) to which you can attach a variety of different parts to tweak the performance of your ship. In each port, you can choose to attach various weapons or propulsion devices that allow you to move quicker and with more precision. This adds a tremendous level of variety and uniqueness to the gameplay.
For instance, you could forget about a propulsion device, and decide to arm your ship with nothing but cannons. Therefore, you will move very slowly, but will become a death-dealing tank that shambles through levels.
Contrastly, you could attach your ship with multiple propulsion devices, and then a lancet (a small needle) to another port, allowing you to zip around levels and ram into enemies with the needle before they can get a hit on you. The possibilities of customization are endless.
On top of that, each weapon/defense system/ propulsion system etc is upgradable with atoms that you collect throughout the game to enhance your damage/range/speed etc.
There are just enough enemy types to keep the action varied and interesting, and the action comes in just the right amount before giving you a nice breather to explore.
The game throws a nice mix of exploration into the game, which is nicely complimented by the intriguing environments throughout.
Great graphics for an XBLA game, and the internal environment of the body is very well designed, whether it be from the various blood cells and macrophages floating about, or the beautiful physics of veins and capillaries pumping blood and other fluids into the arena which can also push onto your ship and other enemies. This game is a joy to watch.
The lowest part of the game. The ambiant music is great, and the sound effects are well made, however during the bigger action sequences the music is drowned out by your constant firing and the lack of a sound option ruins the music and corresponding feeling that entails.
Don't listen to the reviews. This game is great, the gameplay is varied, the customization/ upgrade options really keep the game fresh and permit multiple playthroughs. You at least owe it to yourself to download the demo, and for the measly price of 400 Microsoft Points ($5), this game is a steal and I could see many of you purchasing the game before even finishing the demo, just like I did.