As soon as we saw Haiku, the Robot a few months ago we were smitten with it. From Mister Morris Games, an indie developer in Estonia.
Haiku, the Robot is… *Bzzt* is… *Bzzt* is… Buzzing!
From our ranting on this blog over the last decade, regular readers will know we have a thing for restyled retro platformers—Metroidvania games in particular.
There’s something mightily goddamn rewarding about the genre, powering-up as your exploration pays off and that leads to opening up new areas.
Haiku, the Robot doesn’t do anything revolutionary with the genre. It just delivers on its key strengths with the upmost robotic panache.
Can Haiku Believe It?
You take control of Haiku (the robot) in the dilapidated land of Arcadia. Corruption and broken machinery abound!
It’s your job to take out evil machines, make friends with quirky oddball robots, and unearth the mysteries of the land!
Haiku starts off with his trusty sword, but you soon get new items as you head off to check out his (well… its) world.
And in classic Metroidvania fashion, you just get stuck in.
If you’ve never played a game like this before, there’s really nothing else for it. Head off, explore, discover, remember, remember, backtrack, power-up etc.
You get into a free-flowing rhythm and, upon receiving a new power-up, your brain twigs and you think, “Ah! Now I can scale that area with this wall jump!”
All good fun. And delivered with robotic sensibilities.
Metroidvania Map, Map Me Do
Haiku, the Robot is surprisingly vast. The world is big! You need your brain in gear to remember key locations.
And in classic Metroidvania fashion, the map is your friend.
Recent titles such as Nintendo’s Metroid Dread are actually setup with a clever system to ensure confusion over the scale of the game doesn’t leave you blundering around lost.
Whilst Haiku, the Robot isn’t as advanced, it’s nonetheless rarely an issue as the flow of the world’s design means you can quickly make progress.
And it all falls together lovingly. The charm of the game is what appeals—Haiku is cute, has a fun running cycle, and you want the little bastard to succeed.
You do battle with baddies, whack them out, pick up spare cogs, and use these to buy new items at various stores.
Haiku can also use the cog currency to heal himself. He uses a little spanner to do this, you hold down the button and watch him go! Cute and ingenious.
Elsewhere, you eventually fix a fast travel train system to get around the vast map. Lots of characters from the game world are on the train to chat to, plus the driver’s giant eyeball peering through a window when you want to pick where to go.
These little details are important as they make the experience more immersive. And the game is packed full of character. 🤖 *bzzt*
However, you can’t help but notice the similarities to Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight. Fans awaiting its sequel, Silksong, will find Haiku, the Robot a nifty alternative.
But its inspirations are clear. Also with Metroid—one of the power-ups is a morph-ball, the exact same as Samus.
Such inclusions aren’t so much a rip-off, more inspirations Mister Morris Games built on to deliver what we consider to be an excellent Metroidvania.
A Clunky Conclusion (with a haiku)
So, yes, Haiku, the Robot takes a lot of inspiration from Hollow Knight.
But it has more than enough pizzazz from its unique merits to make this a standout indie game of 2022 so far.
It’s very cute, has a great aesthetic, is pieced together brilliantly, and there’s also an excellent soundtrack from composer Guy Jones.
Some fans of the genre may find the game a little too slap-happy with its borrowing from other titles (*ahem* Hollow Knight).
And how relatively easy it is. Seasoned Metroidvania fans will breeze through this one in about seven hours.
However, if you’re new to the genre this is a great introduction point.
It’s available on Steam and launched on 28th April—it’s well worth your time if you’re a genre fan or just like the look of it.
And now, as we’re so chuffed about how much we enjoyed it, we’re going to end with a haiku. Behold!
Haiku, the Robot
A plug, electricity