What’s a robot to do? I’ve been told I have no purpose, yet I must have been created by someone, for something. These randomly generated “tests” lie in front of me, daring me to adapt. I use all my abilities to get through one after the other. Perhaps that is my purpose. I am the only playable character in this game. I am destined to play through these levels and beat them. I must do what nobody else can. This is the job I was created for.
I died several times in the first level while getting used to the controls. It’s not that it felt difficult, more a feeling of surprise that the controls are so responsive. You slide around fast and jump and fall quickly. The double jump allows you to make huge leaps and skip platforms entirely. This game has earned comparisons to Mario because of the galaxy-style stage layouts, but if I had to compare the controls to anything it’d be like a 3D Mega Man if that ever existed. You can change direction really fast, and there’s a wall jump that thrusts you upwards. It launches you straight up a wall rather than a kick, so you can scale heights. There’s also a triple jump which requires quite a bit of confidence to pull off in the stage. You can also hold ZR and unleash for a bigger jump from a standstill.
The overworld hub is a nice place to practice everything. There’s a big open space you can run around in and triple jump to your heart’s content. Oh wait, robots don’t have hearts. And you can’t speak, or feel anything. You simply do stuff and exist. A much bigger robot types on a keyboard in the sky and looks down on you with 6 eyes of judgement. Are you playing these levels, or testing them? He says there’s nothing out there except a gauntlet of humiliation and failure. If I’m a robot, then I can’t feel those things either, right?
The stages are randomly generated which is quite ambitious for a 3D platformer. We’ve seen a lot of randomly generated top-down or 2D games, but this is something else. Combined with traditional level-progression through 5 worlds, it’s quite an addictive formula because every playthrough is gonna be different. After a Game Over it’s very easy to jump back into because the next seed could be better. How far can you get this time? What kind of levels will you get? As a robot already flooded with existential doubt, you can’t get too attached to a level let alone your own sense of self-worth. If you do like a set of levels however, you can grab the seed code from the pause menu and enter it on the main menu, to always replay the same stages. There’s also a daily challenge that gives you one attempt to set a score, which I found pretty exciting. I’ve topped that for two days now, come at me bro.
Platforms come in all shapes and sizes in the levels, and with the nature of a randomly generated platformer, you’re gonna get some weird shapes and gaps that feel unnatural. Luckily the 3D camera is very responsive and accommodates the design very well. If you can’t judge height or depth while jumping to a floating platform, you can zoom to a different view mid-jump with relative ease. The controls are so fast that you can make a lot of adjustments. I’m grateful for the shadow over platforms as well, which makes it easy to land. Sometimes the controls are almost too responsive though and you can run off a platform after a seemingly successful landing. Just control your excitement a bit and you’ll be fine. The controls allow a lot of creativity in your route through a level, and sometimes with a bit of bravery you can skip obstacles by going around them. Pretty much any surface here you can land on or wall-jump off.
Once you get into a rhythm this game feels pretty amazing. Each level has one branching path that gives you a choice of getting a secret. Sometimes it’s an extra life, sometimes a customisation unlockable. There’s a ton of skins you can unlock for your robot, just to plunge its identity into question even further. You can mix and match different arms, legs, heads and change the colours too. If you only have one life left you might avoid the risk of additional danger, or try your luck getting more lives to build up a supply for the next world. It’s a fun structure and you can move the camera around a bit and judge for yourself if it’s worth getting an extra life, or if you might die trying to get it. I’ve had some branching path choices go badly but that’s part of the fun.
The graphics have a couple of issues, with a somewhat low-res look and a low framerate at times, but it’s still pretty consistent with its style and has good direction. I like the way the main robot animates, he kinda looks around and takes everything in while standing still. Then you can kinda make him dance on the spot with how fast you can rotate. It’s an expressive character, despite all the in-game jokes about him having no purpose. Unfortunately there’s quite a few glitches, whenever I play for a few hours the background starts to look pixelated and additional coins spawn out-of-bounds. It’s something that technically doesn’t affect gameplay, but it’s just a bit weird. I’ve also had the music stop for a stage or two, but then it came back. No actual crashes however. I got stuck in a wall once but the game ejected me out and I managed to save it with wall jumps.
Speaking of the music, it’s pretty bangin’ and one of Rogue Singularity’s big strengths. There are some really catchy techno beats that add to the motivation to replay the stages. The term “spacetechno” is pretty accurate. Despite the sarcastic voice acting from the head robot, the game has quite a positive vibe thanks to the upbeat music and colourful nature of the graphics. It really brings the hype with catchy melodies and very good compositions. You can have a listen here if you’re interested. I love seeing videogame music made available like this.
Rogue Singularity is a fun game with great controls, and high replayability with it’s never-ending supply of levels. It’s not the most polished experience but it is a lot of fun, and getting to World 5 is quite the journey with two terrifying boss fights thrown in the mix. Those were the two levels I struggled with the most actually. The game isn’t super difficult or demanding in terms of pure skill, but you’ll get far if you can adapt on the fly. It feels more rewarding for creative and patient players who can figure out new jumps in every playthrough. No jumps by themselves are super difficult, just the combination of everything mashing together. It gave me a refreshing feeling. What’s that, a feeling? I felt something? That’s how you know you’re playing a good game, when you’re having fun. I streamed this game for 3 straight hours earlier today without realising how much time had gone by.
If you’re a robot looking for meaning, then you won’t find it here because you have no soul or conscience. You will simply find an endless challenge you can play forever to keep your robot mind going. If you’re a human however, then this is one of the freshest platformers to come out in quite a while. It’s out now on Switch for US$14.99 / €14.99 / £13.49 / AU$22.50 / NZ$24.75.