Well, folks, it’s Shark Week, and our friends at Bolder Games have the perfect mobile game to celebrate. Robo Shark Rampage is an endless cave swimming game that is easy to pick up, but hard to master. The premise is exactly what it sounds like. You control a robotic shark with friggin’ armor and laser beams that would bring a single tear to Doctor Evil’s eye or make any SyFy original movie proud.
Visuals – 5/5
Robo Shark Rampage includes five levels in four science-fiction locations that masterfully depict a nautical, yet industrial landscape. I especially love the use of silhouette and layers to create sense of depth as you navigate each treacherous level. From bio-luminescent plants to the mazes of some lost, sunken platformer game, each level is detailed enough to be interesting, but not too much as to be distracting. After all, it’s hard enough to keep track of your shark when the chum hits the fan and you’re surrounded by mines!
The Robo Shark, itself is a really cool design, crafted by talented artist, Sean Weilage. The Tron-like style and use of light conveys a mechanical, yet living creature that has somehow survived the experiments of a mad man. Although we don’t know the story of Robo Shark, the great design gets our imagination working. Each weapon, armor or pet upgrade has a unique, but equally bad ass look that feels like a step up and not just an aesthetic add-on. I especially enjoyed my pet, who I named Monty.
Controls – 4/5
Since Robo Shark Rampage is played on mobile devices, all you need is a finger, but don’t think it’s that easy! You’ll need one hand to hold the device and the other to navigate through obstacles and trust me—you will die a lot! As I said, this game is easy to pick up but hard to master and that’s okay. With each attempt, I could get the hang of things a little easier. But I still die. A LOT.
Pro tip: Adjust the sensitivity to find a level that works for you. I had to play with this setting a number of times before I stopped instantly crashing. If you jump in and repeatedly die before you can do anything, try the settings!
Gameplay – 4.5/5
Although you’ll find a tutorial button under Settings, players will find a chart of what’s what. Talk about jumping in the deep end, once you hit “Insert Coin,” you are on your own, buddy. The concept is simple; earn enough points while avoiding obstacles and enemy attacks. Last as long as possible, earn as many points as you can and upgrade your gear to customize your experience. Although the levels are tough, you keep the credits you earn regardless of whether or not you pass. That means you can keep trying, use those credits to upgrade your gear and then use that new-found advantage to pass the level.
Pro Tip: Be patient! Take your time, be aware of your surroundings and choose your battles wisely. The level isn’t going to end until you’re out of armor, so don’t be afraid to avoid trouble if it seems too risky. If you’re having trouble passing a level, use those credits to try new upgrades combinations.
The only reason this section doesn’t get a perfect score is because there is a significant load time when selecting a level—so long, in fact that I kept thinking the game crashed. This problem could be fixed, I imagine, so it’s not a deal breaker. (Just FYI in case you experience this problem, yourself.)
Sound – 5/5
The music in this game is so perfect for the look and feel that I was shocked to find that it was licensed and not personally composed! The mysterious and driving electronic tracks feel futuristic and totally appropriate for the genre. If you find yourself tired of the music or on the go without headphones, players can turn the volume down in the settings screen.
Value – 5/5
Four areas doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me, you will have to earn your way to each one! As of this posting, you can pick up Robo Shark Rampage for only 99¢ and there are ZERO in-app purchases. The more you play, the more you can upgrade. Disclaimer: I was given this game free of charge in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
Replay Value – 5/5
Hope you didn’t have any plans, because this game is seriously addicting. Once you get the hang of the controls, it’s on. Each level randomly creates enemies and fish you can slay for points, so every play-through is different. The game also comes with a ton of achievements, upgrades to earn and scores to beat. I’ve had a lot of fun testing out different upgrade combinations and custom-tailoring them to the levels at hand.
Overall – 4.5/5
Robo Shark Rampage is what you might call a hardcore casual game. It takes skill and patience to master this gem, and is well worth the small price. Also, it’s worth noting that this game is highly therapeutic when you’ve had a hard day. (Yeah, GET SOME)