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Action / RPG









T (Teen)



May 2004



- Good fun for the young gamer

- Lots of customization

- Good multiplayer



- May be a little to saccharine and simple for older gamers

- Floaty controls and so-so camera



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Custom Robo

Score: 6.8 / 10


Gamers of my age – roughly 30 years of age – won’t find much to be enamored with Custom Robo (CR).  Yes, there are some pretty satisfying explosions and tooling around with your customized robot is pretty fun, but the whole CR package is so sweet, so dipped in fudge, covered in icing sugar, wrapped in cotton candy, and baked in a toffee shell that you might feel the need to brush your teeth after playing.  But if you’re in the neighborhood of 9 – 12 years old (admittedly outside the Teen rating), CR is solid choice for gamers that want an RPG-light action game.


custom robo review           custom robo review


It’s the usual post-apocalyptic environment, but instead of giant Custom Robos reducing the remainder of civilization to dust, the robots are actually super small and fight in holographic arenas.  The story mode is unavoidable as it’s the main vein to unlocking additional weapons and parts for your inventory, but it’s painful in a couple of ways: it’s way too easy and the RPG-ish story mode is, well, kinda lame.  Layer on that the cute factor and you have an utter disaster in the making for anyone that has graduated from the School of Pokemon.





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The real attraction – as the title might indicate – is outfitting your robot with custom parts.  To CR’s credit, there are a lot of parts to acquire.  For starters there are 50+ guns available.  With new bodies, legs, pods, and bombs available (each rated with different stat types) you really have a free hand with what kind of robot you want to construct.  This part of CR is fun for everyone as it’s less sweet and more focused on strategy and cool robots.  Of course, getting access to all these cool things means a lot of time coping with the story mode – maybe too much time to be worth it.



Knowing your opponent allows you to really pick-and-choose what to take into a battle, unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter what kind of robot you construct – at least until much later in the game when the opponents start to get a little smarter.


custom robo review          custom robo review


CR’s combat shines!  While the control can feel “floaty” at times, button mashing is as successful as nuanced control, and the camera can make it hard to keep a bead on your robot, the overall effect of playing 4-player multiplayer is darn fun! (Does a positive overcome three negatives?)  The simple graphics make for a blistering pace during combat and there’s no slowdown present.  The audio is also strangely muted and generic – they aren’t bad per se but the presentation seems on the low side considering what the GameCube is capable of.


All this makes for a game that will be remembered fondly by pre-teen players years from now.  I have great memories of Chuck Rock and Earnest Evans on the Genesis because I didn’t know any better.  I play those games today and can hardly play them for more than 10 minutes at a stretch.  Kids will play Custom Robo and have a ball with the tweaking and general good humor of the title; their parents won’t.  That is, unless they’re playing multiplayer.


- Omni

(July 7, 2004)

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