Destrobots is a refreshingly simple game. It doesn’t offer anything that will surprise you but it doesn’t really need to. If you’re looking for a small twin-stick shooter to play with friends, it’s hard to go wrong here. If however you’re looking for something new and refreshing to the genre, don’t bother.
Destrobots starts out cutesy but with little fanfare. It shows a factory line and a piece of metal moving across a conveyor belt. As it is worked on, light and the camera reveals it to be the base of a robot. More pieces are added until it boots up and is dropped down a hatch. This is when you are greeted to the player select screen and the title menu, and from there are given two major modes: the Versus mode and Horde mode. Looking to beat my co-op partner and possibly ruin the horde mode later on, we went straight into versus mode.
In Versus, you are given ten maps and two central modes; Deathmatch and Last Man Standing. Deathmatch sees you and up to 4 players given a time limit and the player with the most kills at the end of that time limit wins. Last Man Standing meanwhile gives every player one life – the last alive at the end of a round wins. They both have their own charm with the latter offering quick and easy matches where Deathmatch takes a little longer but is probably a better test of skill.
Speaking of skill, the ceiling isn’t huge within Destrobots, only giving the player movement controls, shooting mechanics and a dodge/attack. It is kept very simplistic to prioritise one player per Joycon. Calling it a twin stick shooter isn’t entirely accurate but “one stick and four buttons” doesn’t roll off the tongue. You hold the Joycon the same as all other multiplayer games and use the left stick for movement, the four buttons to the right to shoot and any number button to make a melee attack. This melee attack also works as a dodge so it’s great as an area of effect attack, but not very good at distance leaving yourself open to attack.
This area of effect attack is much better in Destrobots’ Horde mode, my personal favourite of the two. This is exactly what you would expect it to be – you and a couple of buddies go into one of nine maps and kill off all of the little robot enemies it throws at you. You can find power-ups that give you a bonus shield, hyper speed, laser shots and more. This works fine for the most part but the levels get boring rather quick and the AI is pretty poor. Oftentimes, if you stand in one spot, enemies will just hover back and forth, opting not to engage with you. This can be abused in funny ways by standing near arena obstacles and letting them kill themselves by accident.
This works well to emphasise some of Destrobots’ worst points. The AI is mediocre at best, and there is very little to do outside of the first hour or so of gameplay. There are only two Versus modes and nine maps in total, and it would certainly have been nice to see more game systems, maps and modes. The Horde mode is fun but, ultimately, not very replayable and this means that there is little reason to go back to them past the arbitrary success mark of 10 rounds needed to unlock the next map.
Destrobots on Nintendo Switch offers a competent twin stick shooter to play with friends. The Versus and Horde mode are both quite fun upon first playing them, but it offers very little to go back to. It certainly has a decent foundation but ultimately Destrobots comes across as rather shallow far too quickly.
Release date: June 2020
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Thanks to: 7Level Studio