Looks can be deceptive. The game art and description for Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor do a good job of whetting your appetite for an epic adventure. A generic but high stakes backstory sets the scene, however that’s about as exciting as it gets.
The 3D “low-poly” style is meant to be a throwback to certain games of yesteryear. However, whilst some manage to pull retro off in the modern day Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor ends up looking basic. Really basic. The game is apparently optimised for Xbox Series X|S but I couldn’t tell you why or how. Each cluster of levels is themed and there are a handful of different enemies which will be out to get you. Otherwise, that’s it for variety.
Thunder Kid himself is dressed as some sort of 1960’s camp comic book hero, and can move in any direction, but doesn’t turn to do so. Instead, he side steps or back steps to move around, tip toeing about in an equally camp fashion. This style is faithful to the genre that Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor is paying tribute to, but that really doesn’t do it any favours. It also means the camera is fixed facing forward, so moving backwards and sideways can be a risky affair as you will effectively be blind.
In all honesty, you’ll have very little need to backtrack anyhow. The levels become increasingly difficult as they are crammed with more and more enemies, all firing at you in varying patterns and at different intervals. You may think you’ll need to carefully plan your route ahead, but that isn’t the case in Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor. The “bullet hell” gameplay ends up being perfectly manageable, as more often than not you can just leg it through the level with a few well timed jumps to reach the exit. This is a symptom of the extremely basic level design.
Despite being presented with different routes through many levels, each only has a single energy medallion to collect. There are also no benefits to doing this whatsoever within the game, but you will earn a few easy achievements for doing so. Some enemies you defeat will drop health tokens, replenishing one of your four bars of life. Of course, if you lose them all you’ll die, causing you to restart the level; as is instantly the case when you fall onto spikes.
On the subject of achievements, you’ll be able to easily bag all 1000G for collecting energy medallions, health tokens, killing enemies and defeating the first three bosses. As you’ll tick all of these off naturally as you play, it’s something of a stretch to call them “achievements”. Boss encounters happen at the end of each small cluster of levels and are by far the trickiest part of Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor. They are all dodge and shoot affairs, with each boss having a pretty simple pattern to learn and counter. Granted, the last couple are more challenging and better off for it, but immediately afterwards the game comes to an end.
Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor will barely take you an hour to complete as there really aren’t many levels on offer for you to plough through. In terms of what is there, they are all incredibly short, barely lasting minutes.
Despite being pretty reasonable, £6.69 still feels too expensive for Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor. There is zero replay value here and the gameplay doesn’t develop in any way from start to finish. In almost every respect it feels as very little effort has gone into the game beyond the core idea, and as a result it will become another title on the “easy Gamerscore” list.
Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor has little more than a gimmick to offer, and even this has a very limited appeal. Unfortunately, it all means this is a game reduced to a slightly more expensive way than usual to farm some Xbox Gamerscore.
Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor is available on the Xbox Store
- Easy Gamerscore
- Ugly visuals
- Incredibly short
- Basic gameplay
- Lacks any sort of ambition
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Eastasiasoft
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5
- Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
- Release date - 23 Mar 2022
- Launch price from - £6.69