Haiku, the Robot is the first title from the solo dev Mister Morris Games. It is a mechanical monochrome metroidvania masterfully manipulated. Beginning life as a Kickstarter, Haiku, the Robot is truly a labor of love for its creator Jordan Morris.
What is my purpose
Haiku is a little robot that awakens in a post apocalyptic world where all of the other robots have been corrupted by a virus. Accordingly, he sets off on a platforming, map revealing adventure to save the world. In the standard formula there is a large map with only parts accessible until you obtain the right abilities. Albeit, unlike some games in the genre, Haiku, the Robot doesn’t hold your hand. You are dropped in and given the freedom to roam right away. Additionally, there are hidden areas to find and walls that can be broken to access new areas.
Also the controls, which are so important, are up to the task. Everything controls tightly, as the jump has a nice weight and arc. In addition you have the ability to cling to walls and leap off of them, which ups the platforming quotient later in game.
Your primary weapon is a sword akin to Simon Belmont’s whip. Furthermore, you can have its reach and speed upgraded through chips you find in the game.
The nuts and bolts of the game
As you defeat enemies in the game, little bolts, the primary currency, are dropped. Other aspects can be upgraded such as the ability to pull in the little bolts that drop when you slay your enemies, and the amount of bolts lost as a result of dying.
As a bonus, the game’s healing mechanic involves those same bolts that enemies drop. Anytime you are on the ground, you can hold the shoulder button, and Haiku will pull out a wrench and slowly fix himself, complete with little bolts flying off.
Bosses in the game are challenging and require you to learn their patterns if you hope to defeat them. Also, each boss has two forms and halfway through, and they will pause and power up into a more demanding form that you must overcome.
Adjust your optic sensors
The graphics are 2D sprites and animate well. Everything has a Gameboy Advance look to it which I personally really enjoyed. The game is very sparse with its color palette, relying on on a few colors per area. Altogether, I thought the limited color use fit the game well.
Another key point, the sound work is stellar. Every platform gives off a subtle little “tink”. Also, every shock lands with a “buzz”. As a matter of fact, I think the effects register so well because of the subdued score. The less is more approach really worked for me.
One of the most appealing things for me was the design choices. Everything here is done with such robust love of the genre and care. It is really awe inspiring to me. The fact that Haiku, the Robot was developed by a single person is jaw dropping. All things considered, many games in the genre developed by larger teams are not nearly as polished or enjoyable.
Admittedly, I am a huge fan of the genre. I worship at the altar of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Haiku, the Robot was a game I really enjoyed. Its difficulty is not over the top, yet still challenging. All told, I found the characters to be lovable, the graphics were fitting, and the sound work was phenomenal. Again, the fact everything was done by one man is truly inspiring. Accordingly, if you are a fan of the genre, give this one a shot.
Haiku, the Robot is available on Switch, Steam, and Mac.