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Robopon 2: Ring and Cross Version - Review

A Step in the Right Direction

By: Jake Alley


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 4
   Interface 5
   Music/Sound 5
   Originality 6
   Plot 2
   Localization 6
   Replay Value 4
   Visuals 4
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

25-50 hours

 
Overall
5
Criteria

Title Screen
 

   After the enormous success of Nintendo's Pokémon, countless others have attempted to cash in on the same formula. By far, the worst attempt at emulating the monster catching adventure to see an international release was the appalling Robopon. Therefore, it was with much horror that the world faced the prospect of a Robopon 2.

   Thankfully, Robopon 2 suffers little of sins of its predecessor. Development has been turned over to an entirely new team, with this new title being brought to us by the same people as Illusion of Gaia, as can be clearly seen in the utterly bizarre details of the story.

   Perhaps even more refreshing, Robopon 2 casts off the now vastly overused mechanics of Pokémon. There is no capturing of wild monsters here, and your entire party participates in every battle. With the increasing prevalence of these elements in most recent hand held RPGs, this comes as a delightful breath of fresh air.


Parties: Endangered species on the GBA.
Parties: Endangered species on the GBA.  

   The biggest improvement over the original Robopon is the translation. Coming off a localization rife with errors and poor grammar, Robopon 2 has an error free translation, sprinkled with a good number of pop cultural references, and NPCs named after members of the gaming press.

   Unfortunately, not everything about the original Robopon has been left behind. While the graphics are perfectly fine in terms of quality, most character designs have been held over from the first game, leaving a fair share of eyesores all around. The plot is also something of a holdover, following the simple formula of find Robopon champion, challenge him, repeat.

   In lieu of the monster catching approach, this time around the player acquires new Robopon by finding and combining batteries. Any combination of two battery types yields a different Robopon. While this makes for a nice change of pace, it does however have the unfortunate side effect of starting all new Robopon on extremely low levels.


Yes, that IS a bucket on your head.
Yes, that IS a bucket on your head.  

   On a related note, Robopon 2 features a rather strange difficulty curve. For most of the game, players can generally expect to get by every fight before enemies even get a turn. Upon reaching the last dungeon however, the tables turn quite abruptly, necessitating several hours of solid level building to continue.

   All in all, Robopon 2 is a solid but lackluster title, better suited for the casual gamer than one looking for an exciting new title. Still, if this level of improvement is maintained, should there ever be a third entry in the series, one can expect a breathtaking experience.





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