- Platform: Nintendo GameCube
- Suggested Platform: Nintendo GameCube
- Developer: Noise and Nintendo.
- Genre: ARPG.
- Release Date: 5/10/04 (NA)
- Why Play It?: Fun story with great battle mechanics and plenty of unlockables for replay value.
- Why Skip It?: If you really can’t get past the silly story and characters. If you just want to jump in to multiplayer.
Custom Robo was a game I tried on a whim back in my GameCube games, and was one of the few titles I never traded in for a newer game, and there is good reason for not doing so.
Custom Robo is the first game in the Custom Robo series to be released outside of Japan, eventually followed by the DS sequel in 2007 (NA), Custom Robo Arena. The first 3 Custom Robo games were only released in Japan on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Advance, so, unfortunately, we never really got a fair shot at them.
Custom Robo has a multitude of modes, but most of them remain locked until you complete “A New Journey”, the first half of Custom Robo‘s two part story mode. The story mode puts you in the shoes of a budding Custom Robo commander who’s late father left him a letter with only the dying wish of hoping his son would become a great commander. The hero sets out to join a local bounty hunter group despite never owning or piloting a Custom Robo before and ends up getting involved in a job and saving the day. The story builds up as you learn more about the characters and the world of Custom Robo and has good deal of comedic value, interesting story bits, and anime-style charm. Definitely worth checking out.
When you’re not exploring the futuristic world of Custom Robo, you’re participating in Custom Robo battles, which pits you in a small arena against an opponent’s (or multiple opponents for 2-on-2 battles, or the rare 2-on-1 or 3-on-1) Custom Robo. These battles are viewed from a 3/4ths perspective as you control your Custom Robo. Each Robo has 1000 HP, and the first to fully deplete their opponent’s Custom Robo’s HP will be deemed the victor. As a Custom Robo takes damage, they will eventually get knocked down allowing for a rebirth; a brief moment of invincibility so the downed player can get their bearings.
This is where the custom comes in in Custom Robo. Your Robo is comprised of 5 interchangeable parts: a body, gun, bomb, pod, and legs. As you complete more and more battles, you unlock more parts to swap out for your Custom Robo. Bodies are the piece to really build around, as bodies customize the most about your robo, effecting its base stats, type of melee attack (called a charge), and type and number of aerial dashes, from the basic two air dashes, to one long air dash you can attack from, to short range teleportation. Guns are your main damage dealer and range from the short range Shotgun to the multi-fire Gatling Gun. Bombs typically move slower than projectiles shot from guns, and are designed to arc over cover to help flush out or trap your opponent. Pods are worn on the back of your robo, and typically chase your opponent around the arena and explode when near. Finally, legs typically effect movement speed or the way your air dashes work. With over 125 parts, you can create a robo for every occasion and play to your strengths as a commander.
After you complete “A New Journey”, you unlock a classic Arcade style mode as well as the second half of the story, “The Grand Battle”, taking place immediately after “A New Journey” and consisting of far less story elements, instead having mostly battle tournaments and more unlockable parts. Taking the parts you’ve earned into Arcade Mode will unlock more information about those parts in the Parts Index.
There is also multiplayer, but unfortunately, you only get to use the parts you’ve collected in story mode, meaning you can’t drop right in to multiplayer with friends, at least, not without you all using the same parts anyway. At least you can add CPU controlled players to the action!
Custom Robo’s many unlockables and incredibly fun gameplay, combined with a good and relatively lengthy story mode make it hit the list of best games ever. Check it out if you get the chance!