Bad Bots is about as classic of a platform shooter as there can be, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the sandwich world, it would be comparable to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s not exactly nutritious, nor is it anything innovative, but you know exactly what you’re getting. Bad Bots gives you a few guns, an ax, and robots. It does not try to be anything more than what it is – a game providing the cathartic effect that comes from shooting robots into tiny little pieces.
Bad Bots‘ plot is solely a mechanic that exists to push you to destroy more robots. It does do a good job of not being too cookie-cutter, but it’s not particularly intriguing. Of course, if you’re playing Bad Bots, you are probably more concerned with blasting robots into piles of scrap metal, and for that, I recommend using all of the optional weapons you can find. It’s much more fun to go through all of the ammo of the rocket launchers, shotguns, and more, because there’s not much reason to hoard them. I’ll do you a favor and tell you right now that the green plasma gun (integral to several boss fights) recharges its ammo, so don’t think you are out of options when it runs out. I only mention this because I didn’t know it recharged, and was stuck on a boss for a bit, trying to hack a hole in its metal frame with my ax. As you’ll find if you play through the game, you almost never run out of ammo or health, and I’m sure most people could easily reach the final boss without saving.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really pick up until the last 30 minutes of playtime. Before then, it is interspersed with chaotic moments when dozens of knife-wielding robots rush out to try to kill you at once, but once you pass those events, you go back to the somewhat tedious screens with just a few bots that are laughably easy to kill. I never once feared that I would die in my playthrough, partially because of the overfrequent health boosts, but also because of the weakness of all the enemies. In my opinion, if Bad Bots had been filled with more hectic scenarios of robots pouring out of the doors like angry ants trying to tear you apart, the game would have been much more fun. As it was, it was satisfactory, yet not something that I would return to after I beat it.
The graphics did a great job of placing you in a space ship setting, and it is impressive that one person could both code and draw everything about the game. However, level design ended up just getting repetitive, and I got lost once or twice on the ship when trying to complete the plot’s objectives. This could have easily been solved with maps, or even plot objectives telling you roughly where to go. I’ve actually played similar games that had a map when you paused the game, which showed your location and the objective. Bad Bots would have benefited greatly from such a device.
The game also has a challenge mode if you just want to shoot things. Even the hardest mode isn’t difficult if you know what you are doing, but I imagine that if you are playing this on a phone it might be a task that requires fairly deft fingers. Even so, I found the challenges to be the best of the gameplay that Bad Bots has to offer. If 90% of the game were these fast-paced, frenzied battles against waves of robots, it would have made a far more profound impression on me.
All in all, keeping in mind that this game had only one developer, Bad Bots was an enjoyable return to a simpler time when you could just run around shooting things. The game doesn’t try to step beyond any of its boundaries; it delivers a generic platform shooter. My only real complaint was that it wasn’t hard enough.