Have you seen those sentient vacuum cleaners that will clean up fluff off the floor on their own? When it hits a bump, it speeds off in a different direction to clean up more? Now imagine that hoover was defending your home from robbers and could kill them. Welcome to Roombo: First Blood.
The premise is genius. You are the vacuum and as you move around a bungalow, robbers will enter the home from different points. Your task is to kill them whilst defending the valuables in the home too. If any robbers escape with the possessions, it will drop your score down. How can a vacuum actually kill everyone though? By fiddling with all the electronic equipment in the home!
Pressing a shoulder button will trigger a circle of influence and Roombo can then cause carnage with various household objects. Blow out a plug socket to electrocute a robber. Drop a ceiling fan to chop their head off. Slap a door in their face. Cause a puddle in the bathroom for them to split over. Each action causes pain to the robber and lots of blood to splatter everywhere. Once enough pain has been issued, the robber then explodes into a splat of blood. Once everyone is killed you then have 60 seconds to clean as much of the blood up as possible, which also contributes to your final score.
The first few times you play Roombo, it feels fresh and exciting as it is a funny, frantic and fast-paced concept. You’ll quickly notice that from level to level, nothing actually changes though. You just get more robbers to deal with at once. Robbers have the stupidest AI behaviour too. If they see you, they give chase and so you can lead them all on a merry dance to the living room and set them on fire with the fireplace. Then you lead them to the kitchen, blow up the TV and electrocute them. The home layout never changes and you have access to everything from the opening level. The difficulty is just making sure you don’t get stuck in a narrow corridor with no escape. Avoid that and you’ll never die. There are eight levels in all but with almost zero variation. Once you’ve played one level, you’ve played them all. There is a good tactic to use to get a high score and that is to keep going round in circles so that you clean as you kill, meaning that the final clear up is easy to complete within the time limit. Outside of that, have at it!
It is a terrible shame really that the game wasn’t developed further as Roombo: First Blood is fantastic as a concept. It just needs variety in levels and options. If it had that, this game would be a must buy. Without it, it stays as a curious oddity and feels like a proof of concept put to market. Thankfully, it is cheap so the barrier to entry is low. Grab it on sale if you like weird concept games.
Roombo: First Blood
Great concept, zero variety or development beyond its small scope brings it down.
Unique spin on stealth.
Funny and unique style.
Entertaining for speedrunners.
One level layout is inexcusable.
Robber AI is woeful.
Lack of variety means the game gets very old, very fast.
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