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Like Borderlands But Wish the Characters Would Shut Up? Play Roboquest

There has always been a trend in first-person shooters of annoying protagonists who won’t stop talking, from Duke Nukem’s declarations of ass-kicking and bubblegum-chewing to the “crispy critters” cringe of Atomic Heart‘s P-3. For certain gamers, when dumb dialogue is brought up, they immediately think of the Borderlands series.

For all the good things about the running, gunning, and item collection of the Borderlands games, there’s still the characters some people wish would stop talking. The inconspicuously-named Roboquest is for you if you want a random-gun-grabbing experience where you won’t have to mute your screen.

If you go scrolling through Xbox Game Pass, you’d be forgiven for skipping something named Roboquest. The game, though it has a title reminiscent of a TRS-80 floppy, is a roguelike shooter currently in Early Access that deserves to be followed until its full release.

Roboquest starts with a girl finding you, a broken down robot, in the middle of the desert. From there the game has you bounding through canyons and cityscapes (and a few soon-to-be-announced levels), destroying hordes of robots and picking up increasingly-wild weaponry. You begin at an upgradeable base camped and choose any of the 5 unlockable base classes to dive into the next run.

Those runs are reminiscent of the Titanfall Gauntlet challenges, where you’re grenade-jumping and wall-running your way to the end as quickly as possible. Speed is key to dodge attacks, destroy power-up stuffed enemies that disappear quickly, and bound from enemy to enemy thanks to a Mario-esque damaging head jump. 

Along with that jump, your robo has a double-jump, sprint, and ducking dodge as standard kit. Classes differentiate themselves with abilities from going invisible, teleporting, and access to a free rocket barrage. Offensive capabilities include a base pistol, a melee attack that changes per class, and whatever guns you find lying around.

And you will find guns. In the starting area, hidden around the stages, and at mid-area break rooms you can find an array of armaments. Common shooting implements like Western revolvers, sawed-off shotguns, and sniper rifles are joined by boxing gloves, cryo-launchers, and bubble cannons. 

The guns change drastically as you go along. Buffs vary from elemental damage add-ons to nebulous increases of various stats to entire new secondary firing modes. The revolver you found in level one can be kept and upgraded to a whole new beast, or can become a completely new weapon when you find it in a future run.

All of this, and the game is just in early access. There’s still plenty of equippable items and boss encounters to discover at this point. The team at RyseUp Studios is keeping fans up to date with a road map available on the title screen, and it’s worth trying out Roboquest now to see how well they improve on it.

You might like Roboquest if:

  • You enjoy speed-running. This game allows players to really pick up the pace, and there’s enough freedom of movement to allow for quick runs through the environment.
  • You love varied guns. Each weapon you pick up has stats and modifiers that can completely change its capabilities. Half the fun of this game is just seeing what crazy new death-dealer you’ll find next.

You should stay away from Roboquest if:

  • You do not like roguelikes. While there’s a lot of Borderlands flavor, the open world aspect is gone, replaced with randomly-generated levels meant to be quickly sprinted through. 
  • You want a full experience. The game is still in Early Access, but it’s worth keeping an eye on for the eventual full release.

You can find Roboquest on Xbox Game Pass or Steam.

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