Written by Renkon

2023年 11月 18日 Title screen of ROBO OH

There are few game genres as impenetrable to me as fighting games. I love playing them, don't get me wrong, but there is always that initial tidal wave of feeling completely overwhelmed. I would like to be able to push past that hurdle because I certainly understand their appeal, and am always looking for ones that get me past that first learning curve as quickly as possible. One such fighting game that I've been really enjoying lately is ROBO OH by Foxy Boxy Games.

RINGKING punching the air in a victory pose while SUTEKISS is knocked out on the ground. Bottom text reads 'YOU WIN!'

ROBO OH, the game where you are a literal fighting machine!

ROBO OH is a retro-styled fighting game starring enormous robots—the cool kind that look like they escaped from an '80s cartoon. They are battling to be crowned the titular ロボ王, or robot king! The game uses a pared-down, three-button control scheme that still allows for some fancy techniques for those who already "get" fighting games, yet simple enough for even a noob like me to be able to pull off combos with relative ease. Best of all, even though it looks and sounds like the kind of game I would have played thirty years ago after school at friends' houses, it plays like a smooth and silky modern game.

Game manual page opened to RINGKING, a red boxer robot. Text reads 'Masterful puncher and knockout artist! RINGKING's Dashing Punches help to close the gap, and catch the opponent off-guard. Though lacking a projectile ability, RINGKING's high total of speed, energy and power gives a solid advantage.'

I really miss paper game manuals. Digital recreations of them are always fun to see.

Each second of ROBO OH just screams nostalgia. The robot designs themselves are charming and retro, very boxy Transformers-styled mechs with colorful shells and big detachable limbs. The game has a limited color palette, a 4:3 resolution size, and a CRT filter to really hammer home that sensation of looking like a game that you played as a kid and forgot about until now. There is also an in-game manual, lovingly rendered to look like the actual paper manuals that used to come with games. It is delightful seeing how much effort went into the presentation of this game.

Character select sreen of ROBO OH with twelve robot character portraits laid out in a grid.

The character designs are all incredibly nostalgic. I'm pretty sure I watched this anime as a kid...

There are about a dozen characters to choose from, and while they all share the same basic moves, they all have their own unique specials and stats to set them apart. You have two action buttons for light and heavy attacks, which you can perform while standing, jumping, or crouching; and a third button for your light and heavy attacks together, which executes the grab. Stringing your attacks together into combos is the bread and butter of every fighting game. In ROBO OH, I found it was easier to pull them off because characters move with deliberation: I can easily follow characters jumping or moving around the screen, and thus react accordingly. As someone with slower reflexes and weaker fighting game chops than most, I really appreciated the way characters move here. On the other hand, ROBO OH movement still feels smoother and more responsive than the stodgy controls of actual NES titles. Hits feel heavy and hard, which makes sense since they're humongous robots!

RINGKING punching NEKOGAMI. His whole body is glowing yellow because he's using Overdrive on his punch.

Power up your special attacks with Overdrive!

ROBO OH also has an Overdrive meter which you fill up by attacking or being attacked by your opponent, broken into three stocks. Executing a special move while pressing your light and heavy attack buttons together lets you use an Overdrive Special, which uses up one stock and hits hard. My personal highlight of every fighting game is to go into the Training Room and see what each character's flashy specials look like. Daikon's favorite is the punchout RINGKING, complete with metallic boxing gloves. Mine is forever MASAMIOH, the giant sushi chef mech who flings huge nigiri at opponents. Learning how each character moves and how to pull off their specials is a lot of fun, and the controls are fairly straightforward. I keep saying it, but if even a noob like me can play this, then surely anyone can.

UCHUZINE robot leaping into the air in victory while a smaller uchuzine pops out of the cockpit to cheer. MASAMIOH is knocked out on the ground. Bottom text reads '2P WINS!'

Is that [uchuzine](2023-02-16-UCHU-MEGA-FIGHT.html) riding around a giant UCHUZINE mech?!

What do you remember the most fondly about playing fighting games as a kid? Probably that they would do cool crossover tie-ins with other series, right? Once again, ROBO OH comes through. You may remember we talked about UCHU MEGA FIGHT back in February, so you already know at least three characters in the ROBO OH roster. One of them is AUTO FIVE, the mech made up of a bunch of automobiles and who guest-starred in UCHU MEGA FIGHT. The other two are none other than UCHUZINE and SHIPPOOH, here from another planet to take home the title of ROBO OH! It is very cool to see these two modern-retro indie titles crossing over their communities this way, and creating a fun new fighting game scene in the process!

Portraits of MASAMIOH and UCHUZINE on a black background. MASAMIOH says, 'YOUR PARTS ARE UNFIT FOR ROBOZUSHI'

Man, I love these post-battle remarks, they're just so good.

I still keep alive my dream that some day, I will be good at fighting games. Titles like ROBO OH let me live the dream, and teleport me back to a time when playing fighting games with friends was all I ever did. Please check out ROBO OH, and its upcoming collaboration with uchuzine, Super ROBO OH! These games are just pure fun.

ROBO OH is available on Steam with a demo playable in browser on the game's website. Visit the Foxy Boxy Games homepage for more updates on the upcoming Super ROBO OH, and to check out their other works. And you can watch us play ROBO OH on stream!