A kitty named Kiki in a mech suit! Yes, Meowbile Suit Purrdam!!

Gato Roboto, A metroidvania game available for Nintendo Switch and Steam, The peeps over at Devolver Digital sent us a code and well, it would be rude not to share our or more specifically my thoughts on…wait for it, a kitty named Kiki in a mech suit! Yes, Meowbile Suit Purrdam.

Gato Reboto opens with Kiki and her pet human Gary, cruising through space towards a distress signal emanating from a deep space research station. Why is there a kitty in deep space? Well, why not? Kitty and her pet arrive at the research station and Kiki happens to hop up the control panel (and isn’t hurled across the room by the human) and what I’m assuming is a coincidence their ship crashes into the research station and Gary (pet human) is pinned inside the ship, injured and unable to move. 

Now, you may be wondering why I keep referring to Gary as the pet, well, it’s because as will become painfully clear over the course of Gato Roboto, Gary is useless and if they are going to get out of this mess alive it’s all resting on Kiki’s feline shoulders.

In Gato Roboto you control Kiki the cat, I know that a select few of you that’s reason enough to pick up the game and that’s great, thanks for reading this far and I wish you luck against that blasted mouse (you’ll see).

Still here? 

Great. As I said at the start, Gato Roboto is a mertroidvania game, I’ll assume you know what that means and it will be made abundantly clear the moment you look at the games world map. 

Navigating any deep space research station is dangerous, more so for a kitty. Cats are rumored to have nine lives, that’s not the case in Gato Roboto, almost everything in this game is out to kill our feline heroine. Poor Kiki will die from any single hit suffered, be that from an enemy or any environmental hazard. Worry not though, Kiki is equipped with her very own mech suit! The mech or Roboto has its own health bar, weapons systems, and environmental protections to help Kiki on her mission.

Fear not, a what feels like fairly placed intervals across the games wold are huge tubes containing floppy disks, these serve as the games save points and you’ll return to the last one visited upon each death you suffer in this run-down research station. They also restore you mech suits health, which is great but you’ll often ending losing just as much health traveling back and forth, so my advice is to soldier on and just respawn, after all, all good dogs go to heaven and all great cats come back for revenge.

There are chambers hidden thought the game’s world, these chambers either contain upgrades necessary to access certain areas and process in the game. Collectibles such as colour filters to change the pallet of the game, I’d often find myself changing the colours of the game after once again facing defeat by that blasted mouse! 

Which mouse? Oh, you’ll get to know and hate this cute eared menace. This rotten rodent is the game’s antagonist and you’ll face him many a time in a range of situations ranging in difficulty from a nice challenge to Switch snapping frustration.

As far as the foes of Kiki are concerned they are all lovingly designed even if the theme of said design seems confused at times. From frogs, fish and other organic beasties to robots, drones and gun turrets with faces the baddies you’ll come across don’t change much across the course of the game…oh apart from the oddly sentient boiler system in the heating core area of the world, that thing came way out of left field.  The lack of variety in foes isn’t a huge issue as their placement and the games amazing level design manage to keep you sharp on your toes, well, paws most of the time. 

Gato Roboto is a true metroidvania right down to its visuals. It’s 16-bit pixel design, the soundtrack and its sounds in general, from the chunk chunk chunk of the Kiki’s steps while inside the mighty mech or the clipped sounds of its weapons. The entire aesthetic of Gato Roboto brings to mind a simpler time when gaming was done for the sole joy of enjoying the experience, something captured perfectly by the Nintendo Switch.

The game isn’t the longest game I’ve ever played, in fact, it’s far from it. I finished the game (admittedly I’d only unlocked 46% of the games secrets) in just under 5 hours. There it is again, a true metroidvania, I’d defeated the games final boss, but I hadn’t seen everything the game had to offer. What had I missed? Was it something obvious? Did the mech have more upgrades available? I didn’t know, and it’s fantastic. I can now play through the game again, explore every nook and cranny of the weirdly techno-organic feeling research faculty. 

I’d, of course, be repeating the game’s story again, which is surprisingly deep for this style of game. I admit that the stories big plot twist can be somewhat ruined by the background information hidden throughout the game, now this, of course, depends on how much of it you actually manage to find, but the game isn’t chock full of exposition dumps that would be a chore to see again and like any metroidvania game you’re here for the gameplay. Gato Roboto is challenging, fast-paced and enjoyable throughout.

Gato Roboto is a great little gem of a game and at only £7.19 at the time of writing I can’t recommend it enough, just you wait for that ending, you’ll love it.