I recently got around to playing Gato Roboto, as I stumbled upon it on sale on Steam. My initial thought about this game was that it was reminiscent of an old Gameboy game in terms of art-style and playstyle. However, I eventually learned that the true comparison for this game was more along the lines of Super Metroid for the SNES, and it seemingly took some inspiration from that title, both in terms of level layout and that you actually obtained a “screw attack” style move at one point.
The story behind this game is relatively simple; an astronaut crash lands on a planet that has an abandoned laboratory on it, but as he is immobilized by debris, the only one who can rescue him is his faithful cat, Kiki (yes, the fact that you play as a cat is a massive plus!). Kiki must locate a large mech in order to gain the power necessary to rescue the astronaut.
A few of the mechanics in this game are pretty clever, as you must switch between Kiki and the mech (as well as a submarine) in order to traverse and complete the levels. Kiki can climb walls and fit in crawl spaces, but is otherwise vulnerable, and the mech gains a few different upgrades such as the screw attack and missiles with the ability to blow down certain walls. Some of the controls are a bit rigid, and I do not much care for operating the submarine, but otherwise the mechanics are mostly straightforward and usable.
Like most games of this genre (Metroidvania), your character must search for upgrades and healthkits in order to raise their maximum health, which works very well in games such as this. Otherwise there are a few collectibles you can also stumble upon such as audio logs and these cassettes that change the color of your screen, that I honestly did not care much for having to collect, as the payout was not anything too useful.
The music and art-style were very reminiscent of all school video games, such as other platformers for early Nintendo consoles and Gameboys, which is a plus. The music is mostly techno-esque, which is fitting for a game that takes place in a laboratory, and the artwork is pleasant and satisfying, as the base game is a fairly crisp black and white (unless you prefer to change it with one of the collectable cassettes), and Kiki the kitten is absolutely adorable, of course.
I would say that the most frustrating part about this game would be the boss fights. I have recently stated during my streams that I am not particularly good at boss fights, but I enjoy the ones that are objectively fun to do, and some of the games I have played recently had satisfying boss fights, such as Hollow Knight. However, I would classify Gato Roboto’s boss battles more as tedious and messy, where the difficult part of the fights stems from the fact that there is just so many obstacles on the screen at one time. The second boss fight, while you are in the submarine, relies almost exclusively on covering the entire battlefield in explosives, especially in the later stages of the encounter. I ended my time playing Gato Roboto at the third boss battle, where half of the screen was covered in lava, and there was very little room to stand without taking damage from the environment. And this is all coupled with the fact that the bosses have a relatively sizable health bar, and Kiki’s mech deals very little damage.
All in all, I would say that Gato Roboto definitely has merit as a game, especially if you are a fan of 2D Metroidvania style Indie games, particularly ones that are reminiscent of classic video games. I did not personally beat this game in my first opportunity playing the game, but I imagine it is a short game, and I would understand someone wanting to play it and beat it in one shot. It actually seemed like a great game for someone who wanted something pretty simple to speedrun, especially since the game has a built-in timer. Feel free to play Gato Roboto yourself and let me know where you agree or disagree with me!