Roombo: First Blood – Stains on the Carpet

Back in the 8 and 16-bit eras there were a whole bunch of terrible jank-ass games based on the hot movies of the time. They were pretty much all terrible. Made with no doubt limited budgets and seriously limited time frames they were generally just cheap-skate cruddy platformers. Occasionally though, there were the outlines of good ideas in these games mired in the half-assed execution.

One such game was Home Alone, based on the hit movie starring that kid we all liked for a brief minute and Donald Trump. It was developed by some jank-ass little no-name studio from Maryland, and was a jank-ass garbage game. However, the game had some good ideas that I always thought would be worth stealing by an indie dev sometime in the future. The innovative part of Home Alone was that it was a trap setting game. You had to maneuver little Donny around a house and set traps for the crooks so they didn’t brutally murder you. The execution was jank and ass, but the idea was sound and worth developing.

You’re not hunting it. It’s hunting you.

Samurai Punk has developed that idea into Roombo: First Blood. Created for a Game Jam, you control a brave little Roomba as you defend the home of your owners from a stream of crooks. You do this with the power of Bluetooth! You’re connected to other systems in the house and can use them to stop the thieves. Drop a ceiling fan on their heads! Blow up an electrical socket and electrocute them! Blow up some windows in their vicinity! Do all the things at once! Make them bleed! Hoover up enough blood and you can just charge at them and kill them that way. Then you have to dispose of their corpses and clean up.

You control your blood-thirsty roomba with WASD tank controls and activate household appliances by clicking on them with yer trusty mouse. There are six levels with a corresponding number of criminals in each. I found the difficulty curve to be in a real sweet spot. In the early levels I was simply amused and allowed to wander around and try things without too much worry that the crooks would destroy me. The middle levels were the hardest as I was forced to really learn which traps were the most effective and which escape routes worked best when they came for me. I died a lot. However, I persevered, and once I got to the later levels I felt like a bad ass. Killing off five or six crooks at a time made me feel really good about myself. Just… so much blood. Everywhere. So, kudos to Samurai Punk for laying out a really good and satisfying difficulty curve.

They drew first blood. Not me.

It’s not a perfect game by any means. It’s a small scale Game Jam game at its core, so it’s limited in scope. The controls felt a bit unresponsive to me at times, and there’s only one home layout with six levels. I played through it in just over an hour, and wasn’t really feeling the urge to go back and master it. But that’s okay. Not everything has to be a jank-ass mega game like Skyrim. You do get maybe the best reward I ever seen when you complete all six levels. You unlock a gallery of pictures of buff sexy roombos. It’s amazing. I’m glad I have those in my life now.

And hey, here’s the inaugural Burpy Fresh Happy Fun Time Stream Hour with your host Curtis the Inverted. Tuesdays late night, after Leno.