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Retrobot Box Art
System/s: Mobile
Developer: Monkube
Publisher: Endeavor Bros.
Genre: Action
Players: 1
GD Score: 86
Press Scores
Release Date:
N. America: Sep. 13, 2012
Europe: Sep. 13, 2012
Australia: Sep. 13, 2012
Japan: Sep. 13, 2012
ESRB: Everyone 10+

"The Missing Link Between Comics and Games"


Author: Neil Kapit  

Comic books and video games have quite a bit in common. Both are relatively new mediums, emerging within the twentieth century. Both have been looked down upon by the larger culture, treated as mindless entertainment at best and a corrupting influence at worst. Yet despite their respectively awful reputations, both have been host to some great work. So when the developers of Retrobot tout it as "a fusion between comic and game", they're drawing upon the strengths of both mediums. It is in this endeavor that Retrobot succeeds in creating a unique and fun experience.

Retrobot (iOS) Review Screenshot

Retrobot uses the "motion comic" technique to tell its story, using cutscenes composed of comic panel slideshows set to music and sound effects. This technique isn't new to comics, nor is it terra incognito for video games (as seen in classic handheld titles like The World Ends With You and Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker). However, Retrobot is one of the better examples of the motion comic yet, telling a simple yet charming story with its stylish drawings. The story stars the titular junky bronze automaton, who lives a humble life with his precocious young inventor, the inventor's grandmother, and a monkey named Toto. When the inventor is kidnapped by an evil corporation and their hordes of high-tech robotic monsters, it's up to Retrobot (and to a lesser extent Toto) to save his creator, destroy all the evil machines, and make clever references to other comics and games. 

The story of Retrobot is a lot of fun, and while it's not revolutionary, it's an enjoyable and humorous experience. This enjoyable familiarity is also reflected in the gameplay. The actual stages offer excellent two-dimensional shooting with a unique control set-up, where touching the left half of the screen moves Retrobot, while the right half moves his cannon. True to the character's junky nature, Retrobot's guns move in a fixed circular arc, like the cannon of a tank. While this would be awkward in lesser games, Retrobot makes it work in service the overall experience. Similarly, the upgrades Retrobot gets feel haphazardly tacked on because that's how he acquires them in the story. The robot hero finds gadgets and attached them to himself via jury-rigging, like a low-budget Mega Man.

Retrobot (iOS) Review Screenshots

The gameplay of Retrobot is excellently complimented by the comic cutscenes, and vice-versa. Some players might want to skip over the non-interactive footage so they can get straight to shooting, but doing so would cheapen the experience. With the added story, Retrobot goes from just being a good shooting game, and instead becomes an excellent tale of a robot and his boy. It's rare that iOS games have this kind of production quality, but when they do, it should be supported. Thanks to its endearing comic-style presentation, Retrobot stands at the front of the App Store pack.

GameDynamo's Score for Retrobot (Mobile)
The cutscenes are beautifully illustrated and full of character. The in-game graphics aren't nearly as impressive, but they're perfectly serviceable for a 2D shooter.
The music tracks are fairly limited, but they're well-composed and do a great job setting the mood.
Shooting in a 180 degree upward arc is a lot of fun, and the limits on Retrobot's aim only help reinforce the theme. Retrobot makes a great underdog hero.
Play Value
It's a fairly short game, but it's definitely worth the price. You're also likely to watch the cutscenes a second or even third time.
Final Score  86  
Retrobot is an excellent shooting game with a lot of personality, due in large part to the comic cutscenes. Retrobot is strongly recommended, especially at its low App Store price.

Posted on 09/21/2012 | Game Played on: iPhone
Neil Kapit

Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on

The views of GameDynamo's writers are not necessarily the views of the website as a whole. However, we support freedom of speech and enjoy diverse opinions about video games. Hopefully you do too!

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