Biomotor Unitron (Switch)

Back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, game maker SNK released a handheld called the NEO GEO Pocket Color, to compete with Nintendo’s Game Boy Color.  I loved that handheld, and I’ve been super happy that over the past few years, many of those games have been re-released on the Switch.  The newest one to be re-released is Biomotor Unitron, the first RPG on the handheld and I’ve never heard of it before.  And I call myself a NGPC expert!  In the game, a meteor crashes on a distant planet, causing powerful crystals to form.  A country on this planet uses those crystals to power mechanical battle robots to win a war.  Around two centuries later, the people of the planet use those robots, called Unitrons, to battle in tournaments.  Biomotor Unitron is a sci-fi fantasy dungeon crawling RPG.

When you first start the game, you’ll choose a race, like Human, Forester (think elves), Mariner (fish people), lizardmen, and more.  You’ll then pick the gender of the person you’ll play as, and the other gender will be your engineer.  You can then visit a menu-based town where you can talk to people who might give you hints or items.  The two places you’ll visit the most are the shop, where you can buy items, and your workshop, where you’ll tinker with your mech.  There is also an Arena where you’ll do battle with a bunch of mechs in a row, and winning these battles will increase your rank and let you buy more powerful things in the shop and move the story along.

There are also dungeons you can explore, based on the elements in the game.  So there is a forest dungeon, cave, mountain, and ice areas.  Each dungeon is seven floors and is pseudo randomly generated.  Here you’ll battle monsters and collect money and treasures.  To fully finish the game, you’ll have to go through every dungeon plus a special one at the end.  You’ll gain experience points and level up by beating monsters in the dungeon as well as battles in the arena.  Your engineer will gain levels when you have him or her create items in the workshop.  You can equip all sorts of stuff to your mech to make it more powerful, and it’s cool that your mech’s appearance changes depending on what you have equipped.

Since this game came out 20 years ago, it doesn’t have all the quality of life features that a lot of today’s games have.  But luckily, there is an option screen that takes care of a lot of that.  You view the action on a mock up NEO GEO Pocket Color handheld (which is weird when you are playing the handheld on the Switch handheld mode), but you can choose to zoom in on the screen to make it much easier to see.  You can also toggle various screen filters, and rewind, too. You can also view the original instruction manual which is helpful for a game like this.  You can’t trade items with another NGPC like you could in the original game, though.

The only problems I had with this game is that it being a handheld RPG from 20 years ago, it can be a little obtuse and goals aren’t always as clear.  Think original Game Boy Pokémon.  But the game does as best as it can.  There was a Biomotor sequel in Japan only.  I wonder if they’ll translate that one and bring it over here now?  I’d rather than translate Card Fighters 2, though!  Hopefully we’ll get even more NGPC games ported to the Switch that that, as well as others like Puzzle Link and Crush Roller!

Kid Factor:

Biomotor Unitron is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol Reference and Mild Fantasy Violence.  You only see pictures of your mech with little battle animations around them, with an exploding animation for the defeated mech or monster.  So really no worse than Pokémon.  When you visit the pub, you can read text that eludes to someone being drunk, so that’s where the alcohol reference comes from.  Because of the reading skill required, this game is best for older kids.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!