DS

North America

Custom Robo Arena

by Jeff Shirley - March 27, 2007, 3:34 pm PDT
Total comments: 17

8.5

Oh come on, protagonist. Don’t look so ticked off. You are in a great game.

Custom Robo Arena is the continuation of the series Nintendo localized with the GameCube game Custom Robo. The concept is simple enough. These tiny robots called “Robos" fight each other with, at least the game says, real weapons. And that’s the rub, really. I have both the GC and DS versions, and the games are quite similar, although the DS game lacks analog control, which is not a big issue to me really. So uhh… that’s it folks. Custom Robo Arena = Custom Robo on the GC, in gameplay and execution. If you enjoyed Custom Robo, which I did, and are ready for more options, parts, robos, and online play, then dive in. You won’t regret it.

The rest of this review will be the things of interest I found while playing the game. Firstly, the main character is chronically pissed-off. His sprite on the world map shows a constant downturn in his eyebrows. He shouldn’t be like this. In fact, his art in the instruction manual seems to indicate a gentle, mild-mannered boy, maybe even a Mama’s boy (more on that later.) So why is he peeved to be here? He gets to walk around like a King because of his abilities in Custom Robo-ing, he meets new and saucy characters that become his friends, and to top it all off, he isn’t stuck in some terrible game. It must be contractual issues. Maybe he isn’t paid enough… but that can’t be it. The earnings from his Robo battles are quite lucrative. But wait!

I believe I may have found a solution. He might be a little angry that his art actually did not make it into the game itself. The game’s graphics show their diploid nature here. The fights in Custom Robo look great, even on par with the GC version if zoomed out enough, but the world map and the people in it look quite plain. I have seen Flash games with better graphics. This trade-off is fine however, for the main characters have goodly detailed art that pops up when they are spoken to or fought. Indeed, that's true except for the player character. Since talking to himself would be impossible to do in the third person, he is stuck with only his overworld sprite for the entire game. I think that would make me a little miffed, to say the least, but not to his extreme. Chill out, Player Character.

Another thing of interest is the unusual family dynamic in the Geary household (that’s you, by the way.) I have been interested in how families are portrayed in videogames ever since the “Robot Wife/Genetic Clone" Duel Masters: Sempai Legends incident. Is there something as sinister present here? No, but something intriguing is. The father is a typical salaryman, a head researcher at NeoBrain, which researches these deadly Custom Robo things, and the mother is a typical housewife, dinner-on-the-table-when-you-get-home type. But Mr. AngryFace has an older sister, Tamara, who luckily escapes being named a “title" that “Mom" and “Dad" have to endure. Furthermore, she works with the father at the big corporation, and both have the title of “Doctor." Since Mr. Irritated is a freshman in high school, that would make older sister at the very least 7 years older than him, and that’s if she spent all of those years locked away in study and didn’t stop until she achieved her doctorate. Usually the male main character has a younger sister full of pep. Here he has an older sister who not only is way more educated, but also has made her way in the world, while Mr. Livid seems content to play with toy robots all day. Maybe Tamara takes after her father, whereas Mr. Incensed takes after his mother, as evidenced by the big poofy blazing red hair that he sports, which is thankfully genetically possible (Duel Masters bullet dodged, whew.) The mother obviously cornered the market on big poofy hair, even to the point where she has a big “hair tumor" on her right temple. It sometimes disturbs me.

I think this game is trying to make the player some kind of model-robot geek. Polishing your Robo is required in order to keep it clean and pristine for combat. If dirt gets on your Robo, which will happen from regular combat, it will not be as responsive. This is where the stylus use comes in. The stylus is also used to pose your Robo in unique ways, especially when positioned against a diorama. The dioramas in the game are great. Some are interesting, like the Steampunk one, and some are hilarious, like my personal favorite, Hungry Dino, which places your Robo on a jeep speeding through a jungle with a vicious T-Rex right behind him, chasing him down, hoping to feast on… metal. It doesn’t have to make sense, does it?

I did try the online play out and it seems fast and reliable. There is only one opponent to process, so it’s all simple. The strategies for victory are nearly endless, as you have a wealth of new parts to access and new robos to pilot. I was victorious over my opponent by zooming right up to him and blasting him with my Magnum, while he tried to hit me with his long-range Dragon Gun. It was fast and fun, and I really enjoyed myself. If I wasn’t so online-inclined, there are other multiplayer options, even a single-card download mode. Custom Robo is a worthwhile purchase if you want to get your robot-fighting groove on.

And the single-player game isn’t half bad either!

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 8 9 8.5 9 8.5
Graphics
8

Finely detailed character sprites and fast 3-D combat offset a particularly bland world map.

Sound
8

There is a hard-rockin’ soundtrack to Custom Robo that sometimes feels out of place, but is nevertheless hard-rockin’.

Control
9

The control is perfect really, and the only problem that can arise is a feeling of unresponsiveness if you don't know to clean the robo because the game should have probably made a little clearer. But hey, read the manual, dude.

Gameplay
8.5

It can get a little one-sided, and sometimes in the single-player game you are forced to do some hurtfully tedious things on the world map before you enter the fights, but the fights themselves are great. Multiplayer is where this game is at, even though the single-player game isn’t half-bad.

Lastability
9

With WiFi, you can always find a person willing to fight robots with you. And if you have a Custom Robo fan brother, like myself, it becomes a regular multiplayer game even without online.

Final
8.5

I found this game more interesting than good, but that’s not to say it isn’t good. I was addicted to it even after writing this review. So maybe that little twerp can stop being angry now.

Summary

Pros
  • Fast, furious, and fun mech-combat
  • Lots of content and unlockables
  • WiFi is clean and quick
Cons
  • Main character’s testing name was probably “Irk.” Seriously, lighten up.
  • World map defines “simple.”
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusMarch 27, 2007

A follow-up comment for some of the other reviewers out there that attempt to make this game something childish and whatnot... I don't understand what you are saying. I mean... what's childish about it?

I'm not getting this "mature games" movement's point where it must infect games like Custom Robo. What's Custom Robo done to anybody to deserve such crap?

I'm sick of 27-year-old reviewers reliving their insecure adolescent days by piling this "childish" crap onto games that don't deserve it. I'm tired of brown color palettes and blood spatters. It's quite disturbing that these things are linked with adulthood, and that link may warp a young child's mind even more than the actual violence itself.

So Custom Robo is good. And not childish. Whatever that word even MEANS nowadays.

UltimatePartyBearMarch 27, 2007

Usually, the funny reviews are for really bad games. This turn of events is unsettling, and may cause nightmares.

How tedious is the cleaning? That sounds like a major turnoff to me.

DasmosMarch 27, 2007

I honestly gained nothing from this review, apart from that it is apparently very similar to Custom Robo.

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusMarch 27, 2007

No, the cleaning and stuff is done in a snap. And it only happens sparingly.

And you gained nothing from the review? Well I'm sorry, mister. Maybe I should make my reviews exactly like the way everybody else does theirs?

"The graphics look good with good textures now is the time I talk about the framerate the framerate is now is the time where I talk about the controls the controls are good"

Maybe you should learn to appreciate difference when it surfaces, rather than beat it back down with the other nails, philistine.

ShyGuyMarch 27, 2007

Svevan would have scored this much lower

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusMarch 27, 2007

But this review is by Jeff Ultimate Banzai Extraodinaire Shirley.

KDR_11kMarch 27, 2007

I know CR GC got panned by the critics and since you don't describe the gameplay beyond "it's like CR GC" should I assume that it sucks?

DeguelloJeff Shirley, Staff AlumnusMarch 28, 2007

I dunno. You'll have to try it out for yourself. I can't tell you what you think.

I have to agree here, Jeff. It's fine to be a crazy-like and funny, but I (and many others) never played Custom Robo on GC. I have no idea how it really plays, and I'm a little annoyed ******* ***** (Mr. Editor) didn't ask you to make room for a description of what is fun about the gameplay. For one, explaining how fights are balanced/weapons....

NephilimMarch 28, 2007

Aww you didnt mention, u HAVE to rub your robot's groin, its like the best feature of the game face-icon-small-happy.gif

also loved the stolen megaman exe storyline

DasmosMarch 28, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Deguello
And you gained nothing from the review? Well I'm sorry, mister. Maybe I should make my reviews exactly like the way everybody else does theirs?

"The graphics look good with good textures now is the time I talk about the framerate the framerate is now is the time where I talk about the controls the controls are good"

Maybe you should learn to appreciate difference when it surfaces, rather than beat it back down with the other nails, philistine.
Difference can be good, but not when it interferes with purpose. This wasn't a review, this was a chance to make a funny about the main characters apparent anger.

KDR_11kMarch 28, 2007

Does it play like Gotcha Force?

KhushrenadaMarch 28, 2007

You don't see reviews like this too often.

The best comparison I can make is in regards to movie reviews. Every once in a while, a movie reviewer will write a movie review just like this where instead of talking about the movie, they just start to reflect on a detail here or there in it that got them thinking about other stuff.

Usually though, the movie reviewer only does this when they feel the movie is going to be such a success, it doesn't matter what they or say. I'm not sure Custom Robo is going to be a big success though. So becuase of that, I think it might have been worth it to write a bit more of a traditional review. If you like the game and series, this would have been a good way to promote it since it seems many people here want to know more details about it.

Actually, the only thing you really need to add in the review is expand on the gameplay element a bit more. You do cover pretty much everything else in the review (except maybe sound) but the gameplay element is only listed as lacking analog and same as GC.


Well, to sum up, I don't think Deg did anything wrong with this type of review except that he did it for the wrong game. This type of review would be good for a game like Zelda or Mario becuase most likely they are already getting a ton of reviews in the traditional sense and scoring high. Doing a review like this would be a nice change of past. But doing it for this game doesn't work because people are looking for more information on it. There is not a lot fo talk or reviews already available about the game to let people decide already if they want to buy it or pass.

CericMarch 28, 2007

I enjoyed the review but I could have used a little more match information or maybe some good quotes from the Gamecube review where they are similar.

UltimatePartyBearMarch 28, 2007

I just noticed that the links in this review go to the right places when followed from the main article, but when followed from the forum post, they just go to the NWR homepage. I checked a few other articles, but couldn't find any others with this problem, so I'm guessing it's a fluke.

That was user error. And by user error I mean staff error. I've fixed the article's links. Thanks for the heads up.

KDR_11kMarch 28, 2007

Either way I demand to know if it plays like Gotcha Force!

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Custom Robo Arena Box Art

Genre Action
Developer NOISE
Players1 - 2
Online1 - 2
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Custom Robo Arena
Release Mar 19, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Custom Robo Rumble
Release Oct 19, 2006
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: Custom Robo Arena
Release May 25, 2007
PublisherNintendo
Rating7+
aus: Custom Robo Arena
Release Sep 20, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingGeneral

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