EARLY ACCESS REVIEW: ‘RoboDunk Prologue” Is NBA Jam On Steroids

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RoboDunk Prologue — But Why Tho

While most modern sports games are trying to claim the title of most realistic, RoboDunk Prologue takes a different approach. Combining the fast-paced basketball action of NBA Jam with a new roguelite approach, Jollypunch Games might have the next big hit on their hands.

In RoboDunk Prologue, dunking is life. The Robot Masters rule and players are tasked with dunking on them to steal their abilities and show true supremacy. There is a full-fledged roguelite campaign coming later this year, but in the prologue version I had access to, I was unable to play it. The lore of RoboDunk doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it will be nice to see how the roguelite approach to skills and upgrades plays out over the course of a campaign.

The most important part of RoboDunk Prologue is the gameplay itself. The gameplay lives up to the high bar Jollypunch set when they compare their game to the classic NBA Jam. The controls are quick to pick up and I was throwing down absolute slammers almost immediately. You can body slam opponents to get the ball back, fire weapons at them, and charge up your dunks to earn more points. None of it is terribly complicated to learn but there is a challenge to it, mostly because of how fast-paced it is.

The Robot Masters mode has players go up against the aptly named Robot Masters in order to unlock upgrades. You can buy new robots to play as and purchase new permanent upgrades on a skill tree that randomly shows new mods as you unlock more. Money is earned by challenging the Robot Masters, where winning earns more and the opportunity to steal skills from the Masters. These skills help increase things like ram strength, weapon ammo limits, and player speed and make a huge difference game-to-game. It’s a neat little mode that gives a glimpse of what a full campaign will look like. It also serves as a narrative explanation for how the campaign will play out.

Visually, RoboDunk is absolutely stunning. Watching the excellently designed robots move so fluidly against various different backgrounds was really satisfying. It’s hard to make a game like this that looks good in motion, but even in the busiest moments RoboDunk really impressed me with how it managed to look. I’m quite interested to see what visuals the campaign will add to the picture and how well they are able to keep up the same quality as they add new maps and new robot designs as well.

RoboDunk Prologue looks and feels like a great game even after just playing the prologue. The gameplay is incredibly fluid and satisfying and the roguelite mechanics make for a really interesting approach to sports games. Combine that with beautiful art design and you have a potential future hit coming later this year. I’m excited to see what Jollypunch is able to do with the roguelite campaign mode and how well they flesh it out, but even just the normal versus mode will have infinite replayability either alone against the computer or with friends.

RoboDunk Prologue releases May 15th on Steam.

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