It’s an old story: Boy builds robot and gives it sentience. Robot burns down boy’s bar and starts a machine uprising. These events lead the boy to kick some robot behind all the while chewing that tasty bubblegum. This is the epic plot of Dejobaan’s Drunken Robot Pornography, and by epic I obviously mean silly. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Dejobaan have used goofy humor and off the wall antics in previous games as their selling point.
Drunken Robot Pornography, henceforth abbreviated as DRP, follows those same concepts and maybe even manages to crank it up a notch with jetpacks, talking suits, exotic robot dancers, and a main villain who is simply known as Tim. The game’s name is a dead giveaway that none of this should be taken seriously, and it constantly subverts the run-of-the-mill plot about a machine uprising by adding new, silly things into the mix. The neon-tinged backdrops and incredible soundtrack are also oozing style. So yes, this is indeed very much a Dejobaan title.
DRP has you hopping, dodging, and weaving through a multitude of gigantic well-designed arenas. Goals range from accumulating a certain score to destroying the level’s giant robots. However, your worst enemy is the clock, which is ticking down mercilessly and does not allow for many errors. You can also take one too many hits and die, which is where the game’s bullet hell element comes into play. With enemies following you around and various projectiles being flung in your direction, it’s all too easy to get cornered and succumb to this barrage.
There are a variety of power-ups scattered through each battlefield and strategic use of those will decide between victory and shameful defeat. Your trusty jet pack also helps you to get around and is a lot more fun than a simple jump button. Due to the use of said jetpack, the controls manage to be just the right kind of responsive and floaty in a good way. Hovering in mid-air is an essential move and it is thankfully rather easy to pull off. While DRP supports gamepad controls, I recommend playing the game with keyboard and mouse.
A few basic enemy types are continually homing in on you, but the game’s real stars are the so-called Titans. These giant robots who use a multitude of appendages, spewing lasers and bullets. The Titans are a sight to behold, and destroying their limbs in order to expose their vulnerable cores is one hell of a good time. When they finally explode with a big, blinding flash, it feels like an ample reward for the dangers you had to face. DRP’s main strength might be the variety on display. No two levels look or feel alike, and all of them are colorful and fun to move around in.
The same can be said of the Titans, which come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The big ones are obviously the most impressive; even more so when they fill out the entire stage and start laying down some lasery neon death maze that needs to be navigated. You’ll need to be constantly on the move, and as a result, the game manages to be fast-paced from start to finish. Even when you’re ridiculously outnumbered – which is most of the time – whizzing through the levels and taking down giant robots feels like something you could do all day long – provided that things are going your way. There are three difficulties in DRP, each with its own leaderboards, but even the easiest of those can at times be much too hard. There’s nothing wrong with a game being challenging, but if you fail too many times without seemingly making any progress, it just saps the motivation right out of you. I don’t remember a lot of games where the number of level retries reached double digits on a regular basis. For the sake of writing this review, I gritted my teeth and tried to make progress, but the game won in the end.
I conceded defeat about 20 levels into the game. Some of those felt like a breeze on normal, while others were almost impossible to beat on easy. Instead of having an evenly increasing difficulty curve, DRP feels like a roller coaster ride, and this is definitely not a good thing. It casts doubt upon your own abilities when you’re beaten into submission every few levels. In the end, it completely killed my motivation to go on. In light of the game’s overall quality, this is a shame. DRP could be so much fun, and a simple button to skip levels which are proving too challenging would make all the difference. The game has been built around leaderboards, after all, therefore missing an entry into the high-score table would be adequate punishment for the more committed players and only fair to the casual player.
I really hope this can still be patched since I’m generally having fun as long as the game lets me. I know Dejobaan wanted a hard game, but they might have overdone it a bit. If you can stomach that, DRP has so many good things going, such as weekly challenges, extra game modes, and Steam Workshop support for user-created content. The latter is integrated seamlessly into the game and potentially gives DRP infinite replayability. There is a small, dedicated community churning out new content, and while some of the custom levels I have played were a little rough around the edges, they are well worth exploring.
I didn’t encounter any technical issues, but I did experience rather long loading times of up to 66 seconds on startup. Level transitions were shorter, but still slightly aggravating. Despite the frantic on-screen action, there was no noticeable slowdown, not even when trying to play on my laptop with its lower-middle class Radeon HD 8670M.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
If it wasn’t for the uneven difficulty, Drunken Robot Pornography would be an easy game to recommend. Drunken Robot Pornography is a slick first person shooter. It dares to innovate and is a lot of fun to play so long as things are going your way. However, if you cannot be reconciled with the fact that the game is trying its best to beat you into submission, you will eventually be frustrated by the whole experience. Should you feel up to the challenge, by all means, go ahead and buy DRP. Everyone else, heed this warning: here be Drunken Robots, and they are kind of mean.