Developed by CATASTROPHIC_OVERLOAD and published by Firestroke, Bish Bash Bots is a brand-new tower-defense game that comes with brawler mechanics thrown in the mix as well. Set in a distant future, the robots have become evil due to a malfunction and are now hell-bent on taking over the world. As they start stealing the whole world’s technology, a team of four heroes get together along with their powerful hammers and unique skills, and set out on a journey to defeat the robots and take back the world. This is our review of Bish Bash Bots on Xbox Series X|S in which we smash some bots and avoid getting eaten by Venus flytraps.
The gameplay of Bish Bash Bots is pretty much what you would expect from a tower-defense game. You land in the area and your EMP is deployed. You get a few seconds of time where you can freely put down turrets and prepare for the incoming waves of the bots. The waves start automatically and then you have to upgrade the towers to increase their range and damage. While doing so, you also have to bash robots with your hammer sometimes to help out the turrets in a tight situation and you can then also The main goal for you is to survive long enough for the EMP to charge and then activate it in order to deactivate all robots in that area. After a set number of waves, a final endless wave arrives, and you have to survive long enough to complete the EMP blast. Apart from the towers, you have your character’s hammer, their special ability, and the gadget that you are equipped to help you out with the robots.
While the gameplay of Bish Bash Bots is pretty cool, I would have loved some added features to make it slightly better than its current form. One thing is that initially, you should have plenty of time to devise a strategy and put down turrets at your own pace. After you are satisfied with your placement, you can start calling in the waves and you can start upgrading your turrets and expanding more as well. This might be because giving unlimited time at the start would allow players to fully upgrade their turrets before even the game started but then again, this could have been limited and upgrades would have only unlocked once the waves started coming in. Apart from this, the melee bashing should have been a little more impactful. The gameplay has some humor in it, and they make the game feel casual, but I guess that was what the developers were aiming for.
The gameplay still has its own strengths in a lot of ways and the most prominent one is the challenge. While it may look and feel casual, Bish Bash Bots is a serious tower-defense game, and you will need a good strategy to complete the levels. After the first few levels, you will start getting additional environmental challenges as well which will increase the challenge in each of the levels. These include fly traps that eat you if you keep still for some time, the need to drink water regularly to avoid dehydration, and even blockades in building locations that require you to break them first before deploying your turrets. In certain levels, you will need to place special towers just to make enemies vulnerable to attacks such as the Thumper tower which allows you to kill burrowed robots.
The enemy variations are great, and you will fight different types of robots at each level. They all appear in the form of waves and after having a separate introductory wave, they are mixed with other robot types. There is a good variety of normal fodder variety which are basic robots, and they get killed easily. Then you have flying robots and sometimes robots that burrow in the ground. Apart from that, the robots will get bigger as you progress in the story. You have big, tanky ones that will require you to join in the battle to defeat them and some of the robots will shoot back as well. There are also those robots that will repel you if you hit them and they are the most annoying ones. There are also shield robots that will protect others from getting hit by turrets and you will need to hit them to deactivate their shields.
All of these different types of robots combine together to form an army that is really formidable and will really test your patience in different colorful levels in the game. The story will take you through various levels set in forests, deserts, main cities, and much more. After completing a few normal levels, you will arrive at a factory and will need to shut down all of the robots there. Once you have cleared a factory, you will move on to the next area and this way, you will complete the main story of the game. The tower levels act as boss levels and are the toughest ones to complete especially if you want to complete all of the challenges in them as well. They are also the toughest of the levels and you will find robots here that normally do not appear in any other stages. The stakes are high for these levels, and you will need every last bit of your power to stop these waves. At the end of these tower levels, you unlock a new tower type that you can use in the levels.
All of this can be experienced either solo or with up to four other players. The game gives you the chance to play with up to four local players who can simply grab another controller and jump into the fun. The screen is not split into different ones and remains single no matter how many players are currently joined, and this gives a great perspective of the entire level. Together, different tasks are performed much more easily, and things get speedy when multiple players join in on the fun. The towers are upgraded quickly when more than one player is upgrading it and with many players on the battlefield, tasks can be divided between them as well. However, the game adjusts the enemy levels accordingly and if more players are currently in a game, the waves will have an additional number of robots to keep the game challenging.
While you are not out smashing bots, you and your team will spend most of your time in your airship flying high in the clouds. Here, you can choose what mission to tackle next. You can replay all of the missions that you completed earlier and nail those challenges. Apart from that, there are a few fun activities to do here as well. You can check out the game’s wiki to see any last-minute tips about the game’s mechanics and what you can do in the levels to maximize your damage-dealing to the bots. Apart from that, you can change your hats and you can also change what gadget you will be taking with you on the next mission. There are also different sections of the airship with cool interactions that you can try out such as using the washroom or checking out pictures of the team on different occasions.
With all of this said, the game somehow feels incomplete and most probably the visuals are the culprit for this very reason. The effects of towers attacking bots are so minimalistic that for the first time when I started playing the game, I could not figure out if the towers were hitting the enemies or not. The range of most of the towers is also pretty small so if you misplace a tower, there is no way that this tower can hit an enemy unless either you demolish it or upgrade it enough to increase their range. Additionally, the later towers that you unlock in the game fail to impress you as well and most of the time, you are using the initial towers that you started the game with even in the later stages. The Sniper is really slow and despite having a high amount of damage, it fails to effectively deliver enough damage to enemies. Similarly, the cannon blasts move around enemies so much that sometimes an enemy will just skip the current lane and move on to the next on its own. While the variety of towers is excellent, their animations, special effects, and their impact on gameplay are just not that much.
Technically, Bish Bash Bots runs pretty well on the Xbox Series X. We tried the game in both solo mode and with multiple players and the game ran pretty well. There were no framerate dips even on levels where nearly the entire levels were filled with endless waves of bots. Personally, I liked the controls of Bish Bash Bots more as compared to the Kingdom Rush franchise, currently my favorite tower-defense game on the Xbox. They feel crispier here probably because we are actually controlling a character rather than moving around the cursor, but I like the mix of brawler and tower defense in a single game. The visuals are nothing too striking, but the art style of Bish Bash Bots is pretty cool. The same goes for the audio design of the game, it does its job and feels decent but is nothing too spectacular. Coming to the technical side of the game, you are in for a pretty stable title and do not have to worry about any sort of visual, sound, or game-breaking bugs to ruin your gameplay experience.
If you compare Bish Bash Bots with other tower-defense games on the platform, we have to consider titles like Orcs Must Die! And Kingdom Rush which arrived on the consoles earlier this year as well. Bish Bash Bots holds on its own pretty strong with many unique mechanics and an amazing level design. The level design is perhaps my favorite bit of Bish Bash Bots as the levels are varied and cool and most of them come with additional challenges for you as well. The gameplay on its own is not too satisfying and there are often instances where you just feel mediocre after completing a level. The challenges offer good replay value as you will want to aim for the toughest of them and if you love challenging tower-defense games, Bish Bash Bots offers plenty of challenges both in normal missions as well as special challenges.
Bish Bash Bots is a great tower defense game however the brawling bit is a little lackluster. In most cases, it is useless, and you barely deal any damage to the enemies. To make matters worse, the kickback from the weapon attacks is even annoying as it makes enemies fly around and you often push them into into the EMP. While the level design is great, the tower design is just okay and nothing special. Enemies are of great variety and there are plenty of different towers for you to tackle them with as well. However, all of this when combined together does not give you a spectacular feeling as compared to other tower-defense titles. You may be clearing the levels but there is no ‘wow’ factor at the end for you. If you like tower-defense titles and are looking for something to play right now on your Xbox, Bish Bash Bots is a great title for you.
Final Score: 7.5/10