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Ben Davis avatar 1:37 PM on 03.08.2012  (server time)
Browser Games: (Don't) Give Up, Robot!

Matt Thorson is a relatively well-known name in the indie game world, having created the Jumper series and worked with Tom Sennett to make RunMan: Race Around the World (both of which star characters that made special guest appearances in Super Meat Boy). He has, of course, worked on plenty of other games as well, two of which I particularly enjoy.

Give Up, Robot and its sequel, Give Up, Robot 2, are brutally difficult platformers (in the same vein as games such as Super Meat Boy or VVVVVV) which you can play right in your browser, for free! In both games, you control a robot with a grappling hook, and must make your way through rooms filled with various obstacles and traps, all the while enduring taunts and sarcasm from an unseen, GLaDOS-like robot overlord.

The first game is fairly straightforward, and even though it's not really necessary, I'd recommend starting with this one first if you plan on playing both. Give Up, Robot features a traditional-looking robot grappling its way through some kind of crazy, multicolored disco-laboratory. The game features 50 stages which become progressively more difficult at a steady-ish pace, and can become so frustrating towards the end of the game that you might just want to give up. In fact, that's what you're being told to do throughout the entirety of the game. As you progress through the game, a mysterious robotic voice advises you to "give up, robot!" whenever you complete a level, and then laughs at you or gives you a sarcastic compliment whenever you fail. The robot overlord is clearly trying to be discouraging, but its biting remarks are enough to make you never want to quit playing. Can't make it past a particularly excruciating level? You could just call it quits and give up, but that's exactly what the asshole robot wants you to do! I died hundreds of times during my first playthrough, but I never wanted to quit playing because I couldn't give the game the satisfaction of defeating me. I ain't giving up, you metallic bastard!

The original Give Up, Robot was an excellent game by itself, but then, only four months later, Matt Thorson gave us Give Up, Robot 2, improving upon the original in many ways and creating one of the finest platformer browser games out there. The second game features a strange-looking, unicycle-like robot grappling its way out of the laboratory and through an outdoor landscape on its quest to get revenge on the antagonizing robot overlord. In addition to more varied obstacles and traps, there are now coins to collect, jetpacks to grab and, best of all, boss battles! There's also a lot more humor in the sequel. In addition to the dickish comments from the robot overlord (which always tend to make me smile, even if they are infuriating at times), there are other new characters which say things to you whenever you grapple them, such as clouds which seem to be having an orgasm ("That's the spot! Harder!") and rockets which don't enjoy being touched ("Get it off! F&@*!"). Once again, the levels can become unbearably difficult. But this time you have even more incentive to not give up, because for every 20 levels you beat, you get to finally confront the son-of-a-bitch robot overlord in a boss battle and take him down a peg. These moments are extremely satisfying!

While I always enjoy playing a good indie game, I usually tend to overlook a lot of browser games because they're often hosted on sites with advertisements which won't allow you play the game fullscreen. But for some games, I'm willing to look past these annoyances because they're too good to pass up. The Give Up, Robot games are definitely worth your time if you enjoy intense platformers, so don't let the Adult Swim Games website and advertisements deter you. Give these games a shot, but make sure you ignore the advice in the game's title and don't give up!

You can play the games here:
Give Up, Robot
Give Up, Robot 2

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