I’ve always been a fan of Dejobaan Games. While they don’t always release the best products, their games are always interesting. They find ways to make first-person gameplay different than the run and gun styles of most shooters. Aaaah For the Awesome worked as a base jumping simulator and Drop the Beat Like an Ugly Baby was something like a first-person rhythm game. Now from them is Drunken Robot Pornography, and while the title maybe silly, the gameplay is as serious a challenge as they come.
Dejobaan’s latest shooter is a first-person bullet hell game akin to The Touhou Project and the Geometry Wars series. You play as Reuben Matsumoto, bar owner, and you and must fight against your renegade bartender Tim the robot who has raised an army of robots including your working staff. Paired with your trust suit and jetpack, you’re dropped into small arenas to blast your way to saving the world. In a word, it’s crazy. The story is mostly told through text blocks and voice mail messages you get after finishing a level. It has some fun lines from the Reuben, his suit and the messages, but the story is inconsequential to the gameplay.
Putting a bullet hell game in first-person is a unique idea and the team at Dejobaan have a highly engaging title. The levels are designed with a lot of verticality. Bounce pads throw you high into the air and platforms float at varying levels to allow you to jump and jet to get new vantage points. The jet pack is very helpful, giving you boosts to both height and distance, depending on how you chose to use it. Every level is different both in layout and color scheme. The challenge of each is also matched well to the structure. They never feel so spaced out as to be difficult to navigate, and never so cramped that you end up stuck.
Strewn around the level are temporary power ups that change the kinds of bullets you use. These are a mixed bag. They are a lot of fun with enough variety that you can strategize what you want to use in each instance. Sometimes they are spread out, forcing you to explore the maps a bit to find them. However, they are only temporary, set as coins you can pick up in the level. Yet they are so essential to being able to clear levels, and because you almost never run out of them, it seems like they could have been more rewarding had they been between level upgrades or unlocks. Picking up the power-ups feels more like a chore than an exciting moment of power gain.
Of course, the main element of any bullet hell is the shooting and dodging. The actual firing lacks the kinetic feed back and weight that many high-end military shooters give you. One reason for this is that, instead of shooting down a health bar, it is more similar to a puzzle where each robot is made of many connected parts that you have to shoot through, almost like peeling a shell off the robot. However, when paired with the movement and dodging, the experience becomes just as adrenaline filled and exciting. Like you would expect from a bullet hell, the level soon fills up with enemies and lasers trying to kill you. It takes a lot of skill to be able to dodge around a host of different bullet types while staying on platforms and being able to aim at the current enemy. However, and this can be a big problem, because it is in first-person, you can only see so much of the arena. In a typical bullet hell, you see everything and where all the bullets are coming from and going to. The kind of pinpoint maneuvering that this allows is lost in first-person. As such, sometimes a great run will be cut short simply because something you couldn’t see unloading into your back.
All this action is wrapped up in an excellent aesthetic. The music is an excellent techno set that keeps the pace pumping but sometimes switches to a more mellow selection that offers a great change of pace. Every level is brightly colored and the bullets stand out against the backdrops making it difficult to lose track of what you need to avoid. Excellent lighting effects and coloring make it all a dynamic show for the senses.
Drunken Robot Pornography is filed with excellent music, some witty writing, and the kind of hectic game play one would expect from a bullet hell game. Despite some rough transitions into first-person, the game is a solid experience that gamers who like a challenge and want to top score boards will keep coming back to. Combined with the free robot editor and user created content, and this game has the chance for a long life time.
Summary: Some mechanical challenges cause a bit of frustration, but it keeps on as a hectic and exciting challenge.
Verdict: 8 out of 10
Available on Steam