REVIEW: RotoSchutzen

If you’re one of those people that believes in and bases their existence around absolutes, then it’s probably safer for the both of us if I refer to RotoSchutzen (80 MSP) henceforth as a ‘mini-game’, rather than a full product. That is what it is, in actuality, a half-game, not masquerading as one so much as it is gallingly so.

Dropped onto a deserted (but lushly-illustrated) planet defended by turrets and mines, you (the little helicopter-box guy) set off in search of ‘the big button’ that you must push. All of that comes from the marketplace description, and that’s all you’re told for the duration of the game.

Gameplay consists of you trading a barrage of shots with the resident turrets of varying size / shot pattern, and maneuvering around mines or steam traps. Occasionally you’ll hit switches to open up doors, tracing their wiring back to the source, then its back to the turrets. You’ll be forced into small caverns with a lot of enemies, resulting in death, though the checkpoint feature here is incredibly friendly, usually putting you within a few feet of where you met your end.

The trailer says (or doesn’t say) it all.

Though in flying over its green fields or through its steamy interior, there’s no implication of how you came to be here or what the planet is about. While the results of pushing ‘the big button’ are obvious enough, there’s no reason given for any of it. There’s no extras, no New Game+ or impetus to play through again, leaving you with a rather hollow victory.

RotoSchutzen comes from creator Owen Deery, who by his own admission is focused on bringing polished but quick, one-off games (sorry, ‘mini-games’) to market. I’m not against that idea from the outset; if it works, and it’s full-featured or an arcade-type, why not? There doesn’t have to be a minimum timetable. But with something like Bytown Lumberjack (from this past March) or now with RotoSchutzen, you need a little more content or replayability if you hope to get gamers on board. 80 MSP ain’t a bad entry point, I agree, but I can’t recommend something that finishes in under an hour and exudes almost no personality during it.

That’s the story of RotoSchutzen, regrettably. A good-looking game with well-oiled gears, just dressed up and given nowhere to go. If the developer adopts a new policy and throws his full weight behind an idea, I’ve no doubt it’ll be amazing. Just don’t look here for any of that promise.

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