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Custom Robo Arena - A Review

If Pokemon were all about robots!

  1. Rebel_Yell
    Custom Robo Arena - Nintendo DS

    I'm sure there aren't a lot of people who've heard of this game as sales for this title were pretty abysmal when it came out. There really wasn't much fanfare for it, or maybe someone forgot to ring the magic advertising gong that awakens the mighty hype dragon from its slumber to breathe its flames of marketing on it. But I digress. These things happen to gaming titles and series more often than not - slipping through the cracks and hitting the bargain bins after a year or so of poor sales.

    It really is a shame though because this particular Nintendo DS exclusive is a lot of fun! Today I'm going to be enlightening you on something you probably missed out on.

    Don't be sad, these things happen!


    It's Story Time!
    Right so what is the story of Custom Robo Arena?

    Well it's pretty much Pokemon-esque! What did you think I was joking with that tag line up there?

    Alright so here's the nutshell of this game. You're the new kid on the block once again, as dear old dad and your older sister who work for an exciting robotics company have been moved to a new office. This places you as the odd kid out in a brand new high school. Since your birthday comes around, your father gives you your first Custom Robo - a miniaturized fully functional robot that can be customized with various parts. Now what do you do with such a powerful piece of technology?

    Why you beat the ever living crap out of everyone and their cat of course!

    Custom Robos are used for Robo-Battling, and you learn how to defend yourself pretty soon as you've already somehow picked a fight with the school's team of bullies - who happen to be the school's reigning Custom Robo Team Champions. Yikes.

    From there you're pretty much dragged along for the usual ride of clawing your way to the top, doing some side missions, collecting all the customization parts and robots out there along the way, and become the hero who stops the evil organization from taking over the world.

    It's exactly like Pokemon, if Pokemon were about awesome fighting robots. I mean what more could I say?

    The story is something we've heard before, and the characters follow many a common type. You have the loser best friends who push for our hero to be the best, you have the classic meat-headed and arrogant rivals who stand in our way, the over-the-top evil organization and their leaders, and it's Pokemon. That's all.

    However the story of the game really isn't it's strength, no. That would be in the...


    What's in a game? Oh right, Game-Play!
    Custom Robo Arena shines heavily in this aspect of our review! The game-play is just magnificent for a DS title! Sure it's a bit like Pokemon here as well, but where as Pokemon has your standard Role-Playing Game affair when it comes to battles:

    - Select Command > Select Attack > Select Target > Execute > Wait For Your Turn > Repeat
    Custom Robo Arena, well, take a look for yourself:

    Battles take place in a full 3D environment, and as a result are fast-paced and hectic, with enough action to keep you on your toes! To me this was an impressive feat for the Nintendo DS, as it didn't sport many a fully 3D multi-player game. Yes this game was multi-player, it supported both local and online via Nintendo Wi-Fi, and it was AWESOME! Sadly, with the servers to the DS and Wii gone, you can no longer use its Wi-Fi capabilities to find matches.

    Now what kind of game would call itself "Custom Robo Arena" without being able to customize your robot?

    The video doesn't demonstrate it but within the game you can access a garage to change out robos and equip them to your liking using the many parts out there (I don't know the rough count exactly but the total is a little bit over 100) and wreak havoc with amazing combinations!

    Your Custom Robo is made up of five simple categories: Body (Robo Type/Model), Gun (Right Hand), Bomb (Left Hand), Pod (Backpack), and Legs (Legs), which have a wide variety of things to choose from.

    But that's just the core game-play for fighting, to progress the story, the game-play plays out exactly like Pokemon. Here's a chart for you:


    Yup. Exactly like Pokemon. Only a thousand times more awesome!


    It's All In The Presentation - Graphics!
    I'm not going to exactly be singing the praises of this game's graphical detail, as its over world and character sprites are pretty bland and generic. But one can't deny the meat of the game itself - the battle environments, the robo battles, and on the occasion when the game feels like it, it loves to throw fully animated cut scenes in our faces during the story. But for what it's worth, ya know, it gets the job done.

    Personally I think they could've done a better job, add some finer details here and there, but what can ya do?

    This helpful video here will show you what I mean!


    Final Thoughts
    So you know, I personally find Custom Robo Arena to be a fun, fast-paced experience that's sadly been overlooked. It's one of the underrated gems for the Nintendo DS hand-held, and damn it just sucks that it is! Because it's wildly fun, like you would've loved the online matches so much!

    Well I don't know much about you, but I hope Nintendo continues the series and we see another Custom Robo out for the 3DS. It would be a trip with the improved graphics and 3D effects.

    If you can find Custom Robo in your local GameStop or happen to cross it in a bargain bin somewhere, I'd definitely recommend you give it a try!

    Until our next review, Rebel_Yell, out.

    Note: All images and videos do not belong to me, they are owned by their respectful owners and blah blah blah legal banter. No content was used in any unlawful way and I do not claim ownership of these materials.

Recent Comments

  1. DarkMatterGaming
    I feel like a few things are a bit overblown - the Pokemon comparison can be made but a few things were a bit hyperbolic - but I'm glad that there are people who've played this game.
  2. Artisan
    Looks neat, but is outclassed by Kid Icarus Uprising now. At least if you want more space to fight and shoot that is. It also has customizations and supports online play. Also no need to save. What are your favorite tracks on this game?