Game: Bish Bash Bots
Genre: Action, Strategy, Party, Multiplayer
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows), PS4 & Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Catastrophic_Overload | Firestoke
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone 10
Price: US $19.99 | UK £14.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: October 19th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to Plan of Attack.
Tower Defence Brawler
Bish Bash Bots is a co-op tower defence game with a little bit of brawling added for good measure. I’m not the biggest fan of tower defence games, as the formula didn’t always click with me, but Bish Bash Bots injected some fresh life, making it something quite special, especially if you can play with friends.
Happy Robot Uprising
In the distant future, robots have had enough of us humans and decided to steal all the technology, leaving humans to fend for themselves. Luckily, a band of plucky young folk have decided to take it upon themselves to reset the robots so the world can go back to the lazy way it once was. This is not your dark, depressing robot uprising.
This is a much more happy-go-lucky and uplifting experience. The game design oozes positivity from the witty banter of the characters to the game’s general colourful appearance. The graphics themselves have that simple, goofy cartoon look with a whimsical soundtrack to boot.
Bish Bash Bots is absolutely family-friendly and may even lift some folk out of the blues if they need a little pick-up. The story is not particularly deep. Between levels you get text snippets between characters, some of which may give the giggles. The main focus is on gameplay, which will suit the game night audience who just wants to sit down and play rather than get bogged down on the plot.
Build The Towers
Bish Bash Bots is presented in several single-screen stages across various levels worldwide. The goal of each level is to protect a large EMP device whilst it charges, ready to reset the robots in the area. As it charges, waves of robots will appear across various paths. To keep them at bay, you need to lay various turrets on designated points. These turrets come in various forms, with some more suited to specific enemy types. With each robot defeated, it will drop bolts, which can be used to plant more defences.
You have your usual shooty turrets to take out ground or air drones, but you will also get to use more special turrets, such as ones that temporarily stun enemies or can be hit to uncover enemies hidden in the dirt. Most turrets can be upgraded by hitting them with a hammer, but this process can take a lot of time, so you need to decide if it is more important to upgrade a turret or plant a new one. If I had to give one niggle about the turrets, it’s that the game doesn’t do the best job telling you the function of each one outside of a very quick tutorial which I quickly forgot. It’s not the end of the world, but a codex in the hub world may have helped me gauge the function of each one better.
Timing is everything, making the experience frantic but also quite enjoyable. Usually, when the last wave of robots appears, you will have a massive horde of robots to deal with. Luckily, you don’t need to defeat all the robots. Just hold out till the EMP charges hit it with your hammer and watch a satisfying wave of blue spread across the level, stopping the robots in their place. This was my favourite moment in the game.
Controls initially take a bit of getting used to, but they can be easily accessed in the options for a refresher. You can move and jump, which is handy for some of the hazards in the game. Then, you also have a button to select and plant turrets. You need to make sure you’re in range to plant them, meaning you can’t be lazy and lay ones at the opposite end of the level. What I found interesting is in handheld mode, you can use touch controls but these only appeared to be useful to press buttons in the menu.
Bash With Your Hammer
Turrets are not your only line of defence. If all else fails, you can literally bash robots with your hammer. This causes minor damage but serves a useful purpose if used properly. Hit enemies into a bottomless pit, and they will die instantly or hit them towards specific turrets to cause additional damage.
You have four characters to use, each with a unique ability which can be charged over time. For example, one character can activate a temporary attack boost. Another can get an upgrade boost to the turrets. You also have another unique ability which can be selected for each character. This could be planting a mine, causing bolts to magnetize quicker toward you or activating a shield. This adds a small layer of strategy to plan your approach at each level. There are several to unlock over the course of the campaign, along with new turrets and many cosmetic hats if you’re into that jazz.
I have to give praise to the level designs. Bish Bash Bots does a good job adding various new mechanics across its levels, so you’re never really playing the same level twice. One level has you use a crane to move large enemies into a pit. Another has the level path literally change as a desert storm passes through. It’s impressive the level of creativity on display. On top of this, each level has three optional objectives to complete, adding some extra replay value, which I genuinely felt encouraged to do.
Better With Friends
Single-player can feel incredibly tough on some levels since there is a lot to juggle, making for a bit of a stressful gaming experience. The odds just feel a bit stacked against you. The game feels much more suited to co-op play, which can be enjoyed locally or online via a room code system. You may be pleased to know you can also use a combination of the two, something some co-op games don’t always give the choice of. Playing together just feels like the right fit of the game. Even if you fail, you will likely have a blast experimenting with different turrets or bashing away with your hammer as a last resort.
Conclusion: A Happy Game Night Game
Bish Bash Bots is a super happy and fun tower defence game that I highly recommend if you can play with friends. For a game night game, this is excellent value for money and will keep you busy for many gaming sessions. The game has plenty to unlock and an appealing incentive to replay levels and pass every small objective. Single-player is okay, but the real fun of this experience will be enjoying it as a team as you potentially shout orders at each other and conjure up a master plan on the fly to defeat the robots. Bish Bash Bots is the happiest robot uprising I’ve come across, and it’s a pretty darn good game, too.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot