Haiku the Robot, also written as Haiku, the Robot, is an adorable yet brutally difficult metroidvania title from Mister Morris Games, that saw a successful Kickstarter campaign back in October of 2020. This is a title that borrows heavily from some of the more Souls-like 2D metroidvania games out there, like Hollow Knight, and yet it does things in its own fun and unique way, too.
However, does Haiku the Robot pull this off like titles before it? Or does this one fail to be the proper metroidvania it has sought to be? Let’s find out!
Haiku the Robot begins with a haunting quote from George Zebrowski, and that is, “Apocalypse is the eye of a needle, through which we pass into a different world.” This is where we see the world end in a way, and all that is seemingly left are robots, both in the normal state and in a corrupt state.
Then awakens Haiku, an adorable robot equipped with a sword and a lot of charm, and this is your avatar for the game. There is a lot of mystery in this one, so exploring and talking to the other normal robots will fill you in more as to what is going on. That is pretty much it. Similar to Hollow Knight again, Haiku the Robot spends less time throwing story at you and moreso expecting you to find elements that feed into the story. It is a great approach that allows players to keep playing and story-driven fans to further explore.
Honestly, I am a huge fan of this type of approach to storytelling in video games. Outside of RPGs and JRPGs, most older games were gameplay first and story second, but it has felt like the past 20ish years have adopted the deep storytelling aspects into all genres of games. Thankfully, though, we do get gems like this that still tell a compelling story without shoving it down your throat.
Gameplay is, as I stated earlier, a Souls-like 2D metroidvania, and this is some great stuff. You are initially equipped with your trusty Kill Switch Sword, which does a wonderful job taking out enemies, and along your journey, you will collect items and powerups that will help you progress further into the dilapidated world. Haiku gains access to things like Electro-Magnetism to wall jump, Heat Treatment to withstand extreme temperatures, and a Power Bomb among many others.
On top of the upgrade items, Haiku also can obtain chips that can be equipped onto its motherboard at save stations/repair stations. These chips can give you nice little improvements like extra health, magnetizing money, and extending the length of your sword among many other things. Equipping the chips that assist your type of gameplay are key, as that will ultimately assist you greatly in the long run.
It is worth nothing, though, that Haiku the Robot is no joke. This is a pretty tough game that will challenge you greatly and punish you harshly. What I mean is that the platforming can be tight, enemies can test your might, and bosses will wipe you out quickly if you are not careful. That’s why this is Souls-like, as you do need to be a bit more methodical in your gameplay and less hasty, but honestly, if you are a fan of games like Hollow Knight, you will absolutely love Haiku the Robot.
My only major issue with Haiku the Robot are the bosses. It’s not that they are bad, but the RNG can be a pain in the butt at times. What I mean is that they seemingly follow a rhythm until they don’t. For example: You will be facing a particular boss that seemingly has two major actions, and they have for five straight tries. Then, out of the blue, a new action shows up that completely throws you off, causing seemingly unfair damage and/or death. Outside of that, though, the bosses are varied, exciting, and challenging, which is exactly what you want in a game like this.
Graphically, Haiku the Robot looks amazing! It is a relatively simple art style, and yet, it captivates you in so many beautiful ways. The different biomes and lush environments make each area stand out, and the giant map is chock full of goodies, secrets, extra bosses, and so much more to just be in awe of, as each corner clearly had so much heart put into it. Haiku looks amazing, and the various NPCs, as well as enemies and bosses, are all wonderfully designed and help to paint the perfect post-apocalyptic world run by robots.
As for the soundtrack, Haiku the Robot does sound great, but honestly, none of the songs really stood out to me. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but memorable music does tend to elevate the overall gaming experience. Thankfully, the sounds and echoes happening throughout the game provide the perfect ambiance in this dystopian robot world. I would have just loved a track or two that left a lasting impression like Super Metroid did.
When all is said and done, though, Haiku the Robot is a fantastic metroidvania with a charming lead character, excellent items and powerups (chips), and a world brimming with personality, lore, and intrigue. Sure, the bosses can be a bit frustrating due to some off-putting RNG and quick travel points could have used a couple more, but again, the positives heavily outweigh the negatives, and for the umpteenth time, if you are a fan of Hollow Knight, you will absolutely love this.
Haiku the Robot is a challenge that will take you roughly 8 hours to clear, but the experience is grand and there are loads of things to admire while playing. As a huge fan of metroidvania games, this one blew my socks off. I was honestly not expecting much, and what I got in return was an experience I will not forget.
Haiku is just so adorable that I need more of it in my life. MisterMorrisGames, please release a plushy, so I can have sweet dreams while cuddling with my Haiku buddy. Oh, and the game is awesome!
Fantastic metroidvania title
Huge map to explore
Beautiful art style
Fun items and powerups
Boss RNG can be frustrating
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.