LifeisXbox’s Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor review | Set in a futuristic apocalyptic world where machines wage war against humanity, one man must rise up and save the world by defeating the Emperor of all robots, to bring an end to their reign. We have all heard this kind of plot before. Terminator, War of Worlds, and Westworld to name a few. Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor doesn’t do anything inherently new with the theme, it is a third-person shooter set in a futuristic but low-poly world. Furthermore, it is considered old-school in every way. Therefore, if you hate retro gaming, you may want to look elsewhere. Developed by Renegade Sector Games and Published by Eastasiasoft Limited, Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor tries to take you back to the old Sega Megadrive days of Shmup shooters such as Truxton and Argus.
Most Memorable Moment
The first boss battle was pretty chaotic to the point where it did take several tries. This was a great first boss experience although the only one that did manage to grab my attention. Bullets shoot out at every conceivable angle. Lasers shoot their way directly at you, bombs hit the floor. It is crazy. It really did feel like I was back playing an old-school Shmup shooter from the Megadrive days. The satisfaction from beating the boss though was worth all of the frustration of getting there.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Art Style | For those of you old enough to remember what games back in the 90s looked like will no doubt see some resemblance here. Despite it being brought into the 21st century Thunder Kid does a good job at staying faithful to the old days whilst bringing in some new designs. There are a lot of neon colours at work here, cell shading, and some minor post-processing effects that give it that arcade-like look and feel. It uses the correct colour palette from that era also, meaning the developer did their homework when designing it.
- The Controls | I like it when people don’t overcomplicate controls for simple games. Thunder Kid does just that and throws you in the deep end early on with crazy amounts of enemies. Thankfully though there is just run, shoot and jump. It’s simple enough for anyone to grasp and they didn’t tack on abilities or anything to overcomplicate the process of it being a simple run and gun shooter. There are things I would have liked to have seen though which I will talk about below.
- The Level Select Feature | There is no save feature found in Thunder Kid but it does offer a level select option for those that want to replay specific levels or if you just want to take a break and come back later. From the main menu, you can select any level from the game that you have completed. It’s a useful feature since most of the levels won’t take more than 5-10 minutes to complete.
- The Music | The music is really repetitive and rarely changes. It can especially start getting on your nerves when dealing with boss battles and you need one less distraction. The music is reminiscent of 8bit chiptune music from the 90s and offers very little variation from level to level. The sound effects are pretty basic also. With the enemies each having their own little sound effect for when they shoot and for when you shoot, pick up sound effects and level win music. That is about it.
- The Boss Fights | Whilst I really liked the first boss fight, unfortunately, it all went downhill from here. The first boss, for some unknown reason, is the hardest boss in the game. It was chaotic. Each boss after this provides almost no challenge. Its only saving grace is that it serves as a great way to break up the monotony of the respective levels that come before it and do offer some rest bite. Up until the last boss, I defeated each boss on my first try which was really disappointing as I like the challenge. A difficulty mode would have been a good option here. The final boss comes in two forms, the first form I had to do twice, with the second (and what I would have thought would have been the most difficult) I completed on my first try. The reason for this is the attack patterns were very minimal and always had enough time for me to tell what was coming next. Nothing just bombarded you as it did with the first boss, and given the source material the game is trying to replicate, it’s surprising to see that this wasn’t replicated more across bosses.
What we Disliked
- The Length | To my surprise Thunder Kid was completed in 40 minutes and I achieved every achievement in that timeframe. It may take some people another 20 minutes to unlock all achievements but I am pretty confident most will get them all on their first playthrough. With no additional modes to play through after, no multiplayer, and no secrets or special achievements or difficulties, it is hard to justify the price of Thunder Kid. At the time of writing, most platforms are at around £9.99 here in the UK. Compared to the likes of Tiny Tina’s Wonderland One-Shot which currently sits at £3.99 or £7.99 at full price, it really doesn’t seem right when you compare the value proposition of both.
- Lack of Options | The only options available to the player on Thunder Kid are sound effects and music volumes. Very disappointing in this day and age when there are so many easy ways to customise your game, as well as being able to make it more accessible for others.
- The Plot | The plot of Thunder Kid is ridiculous, to say the least. Set in the year 201X, war has ravaged much of the continent. A rogue AI rebels against its creators and takes over North America. Subsequently, this act changes the world while forming a new power known as the Robot Empire. You control a young lad who has trained his whole life to protect his kingdom. He is an Agent of Justice and he’ll stop at nothing to prevent the robots from taking over the world. The problem here though is that the levels and the way they are laid out and designed make it juxtaposed to what is actually going on. Many of the environments look quaint and bubbly and you would never know that an evil robot overlord is on the rampage.
- No Weapon Variation | Thunder Kid has one weapon. Yes… One. A powerful ball of what can only be described as dust. Shoot that at the enemy enough times and you will vanquish them. There are no variations to this one weapon either. No lasers, no rays of light, no nothing. It really would have spiced things up when fighting to save the world. I thought that perhaps a mechanic similar to Kirby would have been a good idea, where you are able to take the weapon of that vanquished foe.
How long to beat the story | 40 minutes
How long to achieve 1000G | 1 hour
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.