Custom Robo needs a MAJOR revitalization, and Custom Robo Arena was not the way to go. Don’t assume that I mean the latter is a poor game, not in the least. It’s just not as good as the Gamecube version. While it attempts to offer a wider variety of customizable features with dioramas and Robo posing, this inadvertently siphons quality from the main attraction: putting together Robo parts and battling with them. Hence the title, “Custom Robo.”
Here’s a convenient bulleted list with all the prominent differences listed within.
- Character design is much less appealing, encompassing everything from personalities to faces to outfits.
- Robo design tanked, resulting in goofy designs that forgo the shiny high tech theme in favor of a more… well, less uniform theme.
- Rather than acquiring Robo components from events and secret areas, you use an in-game currency to buy most everything.
- The in-game environment is disturbingly similar to Pokemon.
- The complexity of the plot dropped considerably.
- Soulboost, the only real touchscreen feature. Win a few battles, you can make your Robo turn gold and kick ass for a small time period. After it runs out, you suffer a down state lasting half as long as the Soulboost.
The plot revolves around the player-named main character, in my case “Sillygiggle,” going to a new school and gradually becoming the most powerful Custom Robo battler ever. You start off by beating down your friends, then your bullies, then people from other schools, then strangers, then scientists, and finally a powerful secret organization. The Greybaum Organization serves as the main antagonistic force, attempting to create the most powerful autonomous robo in the world, codenamed Hadron.
Most of the game’s playtime comes from battling with random side characters for prize money, sadly. I never thought I’d see a mech customization game that heavily relied on grinding, yet here it is. Grudge matches and challenge matches can be cleared for large sums of cash and experience, providing you have the patience to find them.
Like the Gamecube version, there is post-game content. In Custom Robo Arena, it is the dark underground tourney. You get to fight people who use illegal parts, which is totally fun. Unfortunately, if you yourself use illegal parts, you get no money or experience from your battles. Not cool.
Difficulty isn’t even a factor here. If you’ve played the Gamecube version all the way through even once, Arena is a cakewalk. Considering They give you your opponent’s complete loadout prior to every match, building to counter is simple. Certainly reduces the challenge level.
A concluding note directed towards the completionists out there, then we’ll have an alternate review. Sorry, friends, but you will not have the patience to endure the gameplay required to collect absolutely everything. Coupled with the fact that many of the old gold parts were replaced with crappy new ones, you probably wouldn’t even want to try. Take my word for this. As a major league completionist, Custom Robo Arena isn’t worth the time it takes to hit 100%.
Henry Stockdale of NintendoLife mentioned Pokemon as well! Not in a relevant way, but that still gave me a laugh. He touches on the musical selection and the quasi-anime visual theme, though in my opinion is slightly generous with his final rating. 8/10 is pretty generous, even out of context regarding the overall series. My thought? Gamecube version trumps DS version. Emulate it or play it on the Wii. You’ll see. http://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/2010/09/custom_robo_arena_ds