Haiku, the Robot might just be my new favorite Metroidvania to recommend to Switch owners.
- Title: Haiku, the Robot
- Release Date: September 9, 2022
- Price: $19.99
- Suggested Audience Age: Rated E for Everyone by the ESRB
- Availability: Switch, Steam
- Recommended for fans of: Metroidvanias, Cute Robots, and GameBoy Color aesthetics
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
I’m a sucker for a striking visual style, especially when it comes to pixel art, but somehow Haiku, the Robot almost slipped by me. I remember seeing the name at PAX but didn’t get a chance to check it out. I saw it on the release schedules but kept forgetting to look closely at it. Something about the name and key art just didn’t pull me in at all.
Thankfully, I ended up making contact with the creator of the game and became completely absorbed with the game from start to finish. Haiku, the Robot is one of the most delightful games I’ve played this year, and one of the easiest to recommend Metroidvania games on the Switch.
Haiku, the Robot starts off with the titular artificial life form coming to life and bursting out of some sort of stasis chamber. There’s a bit of narrative letting you know that you’re in a post-human world, but to begin with, there is not a lot of narrative or direction other than that.
The entire game is presented in cheery pixel art, with limited color palettes in each environment. I’m the same way that Grapple Dog looked like a modern update of a GameBoy Advance game, Haiku makes me think of the visuals of the GameBoy Color.
A Post-Apocalyptic Adventure
In contrast to the bright, boppy visuals, the story of Haiku, the Robot is pretty grim. As you explore you learn a bit more about how humanity brought about its own demise, and how robot society has been declining since a strange corruption started driving the machines to murder.
There’s not as much dialog-based storytelling in Haiku as there is in Witchcrafty, but there’s still quite a bit. The writing is fine, but never really felt particularly moving to me. I know this is a weird gripe, but I think the fact that the text was in a simple font rather than matching the pixel aesthetic was part of what made me less interested in absorbing it.
On the mechanical side of things, the closest comparison to Haiku, the Robot is probably Hollow Knight. Just like in that title, you’ll explore a big, interconnected world and gather up resources to help you purchase charms to augment your abilities.
Thankfully, this game is both easier and shorter than Hollow Knight. Combat feels very similar, but enemies all seemed much easier. Instead of leaving behind all of your cash when you die, you just drop a part of your stash. There is just as little direction, but it’s a lot easier to work out where to go next. I only got stuck once in my entire play-through, and it ended up being because on a particular color palette a platform I needed to hop on to progress blended into the background just a bit too much.
I’ve kind of become a junky for Metroidvania games with the Switch. I’d played a few before, but being able to play gorgeous exploration-based games in such a nice form factor has really made me a fan of the genre. Hollow Knight is undoubtedly one of the best games ever made, but with Haiku feeling very similar but with less barrier to entry and a more cheerful vibe, I think Haiku, the Robot is now the Metroidvania I’d recommend to Switch owners.