The first Robopon games on the GBC weren't very well received. Mainly due to the fact that it wasn't that widely known, but another major factor was its poor US release at the time. Robopon 2, however, has recently received a full US release much to the joy of the few hardcore fans of the first games. So the question is, being a Pokemon clone on its own right, is it actually good?
Robopon 2 comes in two versions, namely the Ring and Cross Versions. The most familiar difference between the two games is that each version has its own Robopon unique to it, as well as different results from same Sparking combinations used in the game. The other difference is that the Ring version is easier and has less Boot Class Robopon in it while the Cross Version is tougher, has more battles and has more Boot Class as well as tougher Robopon to balance out the game. Both versions follow the same story overall.
The game's story takes place immediately after the conclusion of the first game. Cody had defeated the evil Dr Zero and attained Legend 1 Status. Upon returning home victorious, he is immediately chosen to represent his Island in a contest in the Mainland. Things take a turn for the worse when he forgets to take his Robopon, his ship gets sunk in the storm, and even when he washes up where he is supposed to go, he finds out the Ranking Tournament has concluded and trouble is brewing all over. Cody is thus thrust into an adventure that would even cross the very boundaries of time and space.
The general gameplay mechanics of the game is to build a party of strong Robopon and use them to fight battles to progress through Cody's adventure. The main way of getting Robopon is by sparking two batteries together, different combinations yielding different results. A similar combination may yield a different result in both versions of the game as well. Like in Pokemon or any other similar game, players will need to Spark between both versions to get all the Robopon. There are other ways to get rarer Robopon as well, and players will eventually stumble upon such methods as the game progresses.
Battles in the game are generally in typical turn-based RPG style. Cody can have a party of up to four Robopon battling at one time, while others are stored at Hoffman's Tower. Players select their action during their Robopon's turn and watch it execute the action. Very simplistic really.
To progress through the game, Cody must find the representatives that won at the Ranking Tournament and defeat them, but to do so, he has to first find the X-Stones, so that he can challenge them legitimately. That is easier said then done though. Most of the representatives are crooked or in a stump and their X-Stones are beyond normal reach, thus, Cody has to travel back in time to foil their plans or to help them solve their problems so that he can get their X-Stones and challenge them for their titles. As he travels, Cody eventually faces off against his greatest opponents ever for the fate of the world.
As a diversion, the game is loaded with a lot of secrets, players will be fairly occupied with the extra challenges, special items, and rare Robopon that they can hunt down, as well as probably view another scene or two. Robopon 2's story is definitely way more epic then the first games' and fans of Robopon should be relatively pleased.
Robopon 2's controls are rather simplistic. There's the usual Dash button to move faster and another button opens up the Menuscrin, which is a Menu device in the game, for players to check Robopon status, equipment and software. Players can also Spark new Robopon, view Seen/Sparked Robopon listings, store items in the Warehouse, and Save their games through the Menuscrin. Unfortunately, the game allows only a single save slot, so if players want to replay the game, they would have to overwrite the old data.
The graphics in the game are decent for towns and other locales, utilizing a bright and colorful palette to make locations interesting or diverse in some way. The graphics in battle are however, rather lame. Each Robopon has around 2 to 3 frames of animation, spell effects are all overly simplistic, and most of the animations for them are reused for different spells even! The worst is the fact that they animate so slowly that battles can become quite tedious and dull for an average player. I'm sure the GBA is more capable than this! Speeding up the animation and providing more unique spell animations wouldn't have hurt.
The music in this game is reasonably horrible as well. Most tracks are way to repetitive and there isn't what I would call a great variety of tracks either. The GBA's sound chip should be capable of better sounding music than the simplistic and sometimes painfully annoying tunes in the game. The sounds in the game are all simplistic ones as well, but at least they are merely sounds and not music, I guess that is a blessing of sorts.
Robopon 2 offers players another Pokemon clone class of game until maybe the next Pokemon or Digimon or whatever else companies can think of for this growing genre. Robopon 2 provides a fun, mecha thrashing mayhem Pokemon-style experience for the fans of the series or for those who can tolerate the simplistic animations, poor music and tedious battles in the game.