While the world goes crazy for Call of Duty this week, we bring you a preview about a game that has you targeting white and red blood cells with a miniature robot. …yeah, we like to buck the trends. But we also enjoy unique downloadable titles and try to keep you apprised of current and upcoming PSN offerings. In EA’s MicroBot, the player jumps into a bizarre twin-stick shooter where a company called MicroHexon has perfected microscopic robots that help fight diseases and boost your immune system. In other words, they just inject patients with the “MicroBot” and it goes to work, nailing invaders and basically supporting the body’s defense systems. Unsurprisingly, this very smart AI is causing problems: the first round of MicroBots got a little too comfortable in their new homes, and will now attack anything that comes their way. It’s their turf now.
It must totally suck to know you’re slowly being killed by tiny robots floating about in your bloodstream. But the new bots are capable of dealing with the problem; you will take control with one that is equipped with a gun, all the while eliminating the unwanted usurpers. As you flow along, you’ll grab atoms to replenish health and upgrade your MicroBot’s capabilities. If you think there can’t be much involved in an infinitesimally small machine, think again: you can unlock up to 22 different parts that can be used to increase performance. Such parts can be located at data pads so stay on the lookout for those handy things…how they got to be in the human body is beyond us, but that’s okay. Also, be wary of incubation sacks; they will either present you with a gift of atoms or you’ll be facing a bunch of enemies. The concept is quite unique but the gameplay reminds us of PixelJunk Shooter.
Now, you can imagine that given the diverse areas of the human body, the MicroBot can travel through many interesting locations. The game features four total levels, each of which focuses on a different area and how you play will change depending on your surroundings. For instance, it’s one thing sort of floating around in the more open blood levels, where you have some room to negotiate, but it’s a very different experience when lodged within a bone. Everything is very dark and compact and you have to find new and painful ways of eliminating your foes; i.e., shooting tendons to snap bones, thereby crushing any unfortunate enemy MicroBots beneath them. From this angle, the adventure seems to hold more in the way of puzzle-solving and/or strategic elements when compared to other twin-stick shooters. …as if the very idea behind the game wasn’t enough to make it stand out.
MicroBot will also offer local cooperative play so you can team up with a friend, and we’ll have the benefit of a Challenge Mode, too. If you’re up to it, you simply head out with a regular MicroBot – incapable of upgrading – and just see how long you last. By the way, when we say there are four levels, you shouldn’t interpret that as meaning the game will be crazy short; it seems there will be plenty of individual missions or goals within each of the four levels. Downloadable titles may be rapidly expanding in terms of size and technical proficiency but there will always be a market for simple, accessible, entertaining games like this. We’ll be interested to see how MicroBot turns out. It’ll come this winter to the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace.
11/9/2010 Ben Dutka