Atlus Announces Robopon for Game Boy

Collected gamers, attempt to mask your incredible lack of surprise. Yes, Pokémon is incredibly successful and as such, it has bred imitators. But wait, there may be hope indeed for the "catch and raise" genre, for Atlus may be making a game that, though a bit lacking in story, offers some innovation in terms of gameplay.

Robopon (yes, Robopon) is the latest pretender to the throne of Pokémon. This time, instead of capturing and collecting cute little critters, the player builds robots and sends them off to do battle. Consider it a kinder, gentler cock fight. At least you're not beating up on cuddly forest creature and forcing them to engage in combat for your amusement.

The story goes as follows: taking place on Porombo Island, the protagonist, Cody, inherits the near-bankrupt Robopon Dispatching Factory from his Grandpa Hogle. In turn, he also inherits the generally useless Robopon of this factory. Since his company is on the brink of disaster, Cody sets out with his Robopon on a journey to save the factory. Apparently, Porombo Island is such a utopia that presidents of corporations can simply take off on a grand adventure to save a failing business. Practical business sense apparently has no place on this island and can be easily replaced with brute robotic force. At any rate, Cody gets caught up in Robopon fever and decides that he wants to become the Great Legend, the title given to the greatest Robopon trainer in the land. Of course, the people of the island are captivated by Robopon and there is quite the robotic craze about. There's even a main tournament to test the skills of the trainer, the BattleRobo Tournament. And of course, there's the obligatory over 150 Robopon to battle, collect, and trade over the course of the game.

Okay, so there's a general feeling of deja-vu. If you have Pokémon, why bother looking at Robopon? Surprisingly enough, there are quite a few nifty features that set it apart from its megalomaniacal forebearer. For one, the player can customize their robots. Don't like that arm? Pop it off and put in a new one. There are over one hundred different parts to choose from so the variety is almost limitless. So it's like Armored Core, only with cute mecha a nd an RPG engine. Gotcha. The game also features a built-in speaker and clock that will remind the players of special events even while their Game Boy is turned off. And if all of that wasn't enough, the game features its own IR port called the GB Kiss.

What's an IR port, you ask? Very simply put, it allows the game to read infrared signals sent to it by, say, your TV remote control. Robopon can read a variety of different IR signals and using various IR remotes in the game will result in different game effects. How does a player use their IR remotes in the game? Quite easy: point the remote at the game and start hammering away at buttons. According to Atlus, one can open treasure chests or even power-up a weak Robopon, amongst other things. Another nice feature of this is that if you lack a link cable, you can still trade your Robopon by using the GB Kiss.

In the end, despite the over-abundance of similarities in terms of plot, Robopon is shaping up to be quite interesting in the gameplay aspect. Robopon promises to allow for a great deal of customization and experimentation, so diehards can undoubtedly spend hours perfecting their preferred Robopon. And if Atlus keeps their promise, the GB Kiss will offer even more variety and play value to their game.

Robopon is set for release this upcoming winter and is compatible with all Game Boy systems. It is rated E and will retail for $34.99. More information is certain to be forthcoming. In fact, check out the official Robopon website for constant updates on this developing game. And if you truly loved us, you'd stay tuned to RPGamer for the incoming news. And you do love RPGamer, don't you?

by Christopher Koeppel    
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