Robot Rescue 2
DSiWare | Teyon | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
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19th November 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
While the original featured a medium-sized batch separated only by difficulty setting, this game's devilish puzzles are split up into multiple groups with different contexts being applied to the mechanics. Beyond the ten Tutorial stages, there are 20 stages devoted to what's called "Painting Fun", while the remaining 30 are found in the Arcade, Classic, and Hardcore modes. With this organization already making for much better direction, the positives are furthered by the presence of new ideas that add to the strength of the original premise as being more than just an uninteresting spread of brain-testing puzzles, but rather something that shows subdued growth in what it produces. Fans of the original will call to mind the repeated use of ordinary elements like switch-activated doors, conveyor belts and cloning devices, but the foremost of the new touches they've implemented this time around involves the use of paint panels and colour-specific doors. Related to this are coloured barriers that will only affect robots of the same colour, so there's that to keep in mind as well. Though the depth may initially appear superficial, in comparison to the last title Robot Rescue 2 feels like a more confident version, unafraid to play mind games with any who attempt to strike a dialogue with.
No longer can you always rely on the strategy of guiding everyone to one specific exit whenever there are multiple present, as you must now also ensure that the particular robot you may be focusing on arrives at the exit that matches its body colour. There will be times, however, where taking on a paint application may leave you in a hopeless situation later on, and the game likes to play with this risk of taking choices in a way that will be especially hard-hitting for anyone who has a habit of acting before thinking. Following a system is that much more important here because of how overwhelming it can seem at first, as is treating each element you interact with as putting you one step closer to the solution.
As you'll quickly discover, the correct paths to the goal will elude you on a number of occasions. In the original, it was a lot less common for players to feel like they had to break each puzzle down to its bare elements, perhaps itemizing each element on a list in your head as possibilities sprung to the surface. Now it's practically a requirement. If you don't take into account every little detail in relation to the default positions of each robot, it'll be all too easy to get caught up zeroing-in on a particular fellow, not realizing that another member of the group, in moving as a whole, is liable to get zapped or will otherwise leave you with little options by the time you reach the end of your chosen path.
Robot Rescue 2 doesn't play around as much as the first game in terms of easing you into the deception surrounding its challenge. It relays this as a bold trait and thus makes no hesitation of forcing you to think along the lines of using walls and glue traps to separate two or more robots from following the exact same space pattern on either ends of the level. It helps, then, that some puzzles can be solved in a number of ways, even though the ones that do won't give obvious indications of such until you approach the end. More and more, the game moves players out of a shell they may be accustomed to based on prior experience, and while it never reaches a point that would suggest a complete breakthrough, there is a sense of adequacy in the subtle ways this comes out.
Even in levels that don't seem all that much different from before, it's often the addition of this singular colour element that places further emphasis on planning one's route, but doing so on an incremental basis. What I remember worked for the original was how balanced it was in leading players to progressively more challenging solutions at a comfortable pace, and this was in spite of the game not feeling all that strong creation-wise and having a very linear progression that prevented you from advancing if you got stuck. This, on the other hand, is like a similar class of logic-based challenges that feels, not completely new, but new enough that the motivation to carry on doesn't dissolve quickly by reason of a lack of continued interest.
One more thing I will say is that patience is mandatory here -- definitely more so than in Robot Rescue. While the trial-and-error methods you'll doubtlessly employ may be to the irritation of some, it should be underlined that they are not the worst of their kind. Admittedly, as with original, the absence of a hint system is a feature that will be longed for, as will an undo function. But at least in line with the revised stage unlock system, it's not as damaging as it might've been before. For a certainty, it can still be upsetting when, as was true in my case, the first stage directly following the final Tutorial stage leaves you stumped, or other situations like these leave you with practically no way out of the situation in that you don't have another puzzle you can focus on to motivate you.
The sequel behaves more like an expansion than anything else, and that much can be gleaned just in looking at the presentation. The robots still have big grins, they animate with a rather basic movement, and the handheld itself still produces a blind spot down the middle in line with the horizontally-arranged gameplay. The only real difference is the change of colour on the stage floors and the new tunes, and both of these are for the better, albeit they're not significant.
For only $2, Robot Rescue 2 is of similarly great value like its predecessor, but even if that were not a big part of the equation, there's a nice set of tools through which challenging puzzles have been designed. While the improvements are not drastic, the expansion seen in the mechanics is enough to pull fans of the original back for another go while also satisfying newcomers who enjoy a good head-scratcher now and again.
20/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Improvements demonstrate a measure of growth while amping up the difficulty, puzzles are more involved and detail-oriented
Presentation 6/10 - Much has remained the same compared to the original's setup, basic look and animations with a few colour changes, music isn't bad
Enjoyment 3/5 - Not for everyone due to the patience required, some may be put off by the emphasis on trial and error, not as balanced as before
Extra Content 4/5 - More levels with better organization to classify them all, good value for the price, not as short as the original
Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System