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Robotherapy – Review

Robotherapy asks a couple of questions:

  1. What happens when you achieve your goal and don’t know what to do next?
  2. What happens when you give into your inner critic?

It does this by putting you in the shoes of Smokes, a chain smoking robot who is also a therapist in a world where the robots have killed all the humans. As that was the robots’ goal, now its complete they all seem to be a bit lost. Without purpose or getting lost in the daily grind of life, Smokes wants to help robots by trying to be a therapist. The problem is that he approaches the task like a binary robot. No empathy, no emotions and feeling like he is a fraud. This in turn seems him over compensate outwardly to his patients and sets up the story.

Without goals, even robots get depressed.

A linear narrative story with some very basic movement in a couple of scenes, Robotherapy is a visual novel with a clunky minigame part way through. There are some dialogue choices but they do not affect any outcome and these are mainly to display the games dark humour. Smokes has no empathy so when someone says their depressed, you can tell them self destruct. That kind of “I’m a robot, it must be logical” humour is what drives the game forward. You soon meet Back, another robot who is a much more rounded robot and together you’ll learn how to help not just your patients but Smoke himself. Whilst each robot patient has its own drama and questions, what worked best for me was when Back has to explain the basics of human emotions and issues to Smokes so he can be a better therapist. It is purposely clunky as Smokes is always so logical and it makes learning about your brain fun.

Enjoyable humour and dark undertones make the story a treat to read.

Outside of the decent story, the graphics are stylised in a way that’s difficult to grade. Sound is minimal and the odd minigame that isn’t involves you choosing lanes on a road like a 2D racing game. There is no skill involved and as its clunky, it feels like it’d have been best left on autopilot. It also stands out as the only time you aren’t simply reading so its just a bit odd.

Robotherapy is a 2 hour experience, shorter for speedy readers but it has made me think long after finishing. I enjoyed its dark humour but was more impressed at learning strategies on how to silence my inner critic. As Smokes grows as a robot, I felt better prepared as a person. I just wished the robots didn’t kill us all first!

Final Thoughts
Short but entertaining visual novel adventure that might help players silence their inner critic.
Excellent story.
Explains coping strategies for awkward people in a fun way.
Enjoyable dark humour if you like that style of laughs.
Basic sound, often silence, makes the game feel a bit empty at times.
Plot twists are very easily telegraphed way before they are revealed.

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