I really enjoyed it. It’s mental, but it’s so much fun to play. OK, so the number of times you fight the same baddies is perhaps a bit too high, and drawing Unite Morphs in a narrow or enclosed space is sometimes a little tricky, but there’s just too much to love about it.
It’s so bright and happy, with plenty of funny conversations (like Red’s ability to remember and repeat everything he’s told, Green and Black having a wager on who would win “mumble mumble mumble something something with Pink” if they destroyed more bad guys than the other, and so on), and somehow manages to be a little dark and sinister too. The way the action ramps up (as does the size of the foes) towards the end of the game is brilliant – when you realise that Platinum Robo dwarfs your team, but he then is essentially microscopic compared to other enemies later on. Amazing.
The levels are varied too, with some isometric shooter sections, a couple of Rez-like into-the-screen bits (complete with lockons), and even a few bosses you have to beat Punch-Out!! style.
I should mention the number of references to Platinum (the team who made the game) too, as there are a lot. Platinum Robo itself wears the developers’ logo on its head, and the massive super computer that controls Earth’s defence shield is called “Mother Platinum”, and is the shape of the “Platinum 4 Point Star”. You even collect said stars as powerups in some of the levels, and there are 5 hidden Platinum Coins on each level as well.
Sadly, there’s one nasty fly in the ointment. Each “Operation” is made up of three sections (A, B and C), with each of these covering many missions (destroy a large enemy, traverse a dangerous bit, solve a puzzle, etc.). Each of the three Operation sections takes, roughly, 20-30 minutes. The problem is, that the game only saves after each section, not after each smaller mission (even though the game actually says it’s saving, and the manual says it does so). What it seems to do is save your record for that mission, with your score and rating, but not actually your progress. This means there’s 30 minutes between save points. Which is bad.
What is worse, though, is the final Operation section – 009C. It’s not 30 minutes long, being final boss after final boss (he has something like 5 or 6 forms, plus other bits and cutscenes between them). In fact, it took me almost three hours. That’s too long without a save point, took me well past my bedtime, and soured what should have been an epic final battle as I was rushing to get it done.
Still, this probably would only be an issue if you don’t have the time, or you’re shooting for high scores so have to do the 3 hour final run over and over (because you get a terrible rating if you die), but it’s something they should have fixed. Why no “quick save” after every mission, Platinum? You craft such a fantastic game and then threaten to ruin it with a silly decision. Oh well.