Deserves a fine of it’s own.
I have to admit that when I saw No Red T-Shirts down for review this week, I thought Nigel was making a not-so subtle commentary on my dress sense. So what if I turn up to the TouchGen office every day with the same shirt? I wash it every couple of weeks or so. Don’t judge me.
It turns out however, that No Red T-Shirts is actually a casual iOS game from Bandai Namco. I knew I didn’t smell that much. Phew. It’s what I can only describe as a ‘Fine em-up with elements of Nordic Mythology’. Needless to say, you won’t find that game type listed in the App Store.
You play as Robo, a Police-Bot, who turns rogue after a tiny accident at the Police-Bot factory (it basically explodes). As a result, Robo’s circuits are frazzled and he trundles round town slapping outrageous fines on members of the public for completely non-offensive things such as walking dogs, using headphones and yes, wearing red t-shirts. Sounds like a typical London council estate.
An isometric 3D city is your playground, which you can flip around by swiping the screen to catch citizens in the nefarious act of using cameras or drawing hopscotch ladders on the floor. Tap each person to administer a fine when the flashing icon prompts, each successful one earns Robo Coins which can be spent on building shops and utilities which increase the value of fines. At times the game mixes things up by identifying a specific criminal you have to bring to justice.
It’s a vaguely interesting idea, but the execution is sloppy and often nonsensical. (What do you mean ‘Like your reviews’?) You can only fine for a specific offence when the game prompts, otherwise you lose points for an incorrect charge. This leads to the ridiculous scenario where something that was worthy of a fine just seconds ago, then becomes completely passable the next. But then again, Robo’s circuits are fried. We’ll give that one the benefit of the doubt.
More confusing and seemingly arbitrary is ‘Bedtime’. Collect enough fines during the day, and you’ll have the opportunity to send everyone to bed when night falls. Yes, this is as odd to play as it reads. When Bedtime is activated, tapping on people out on the street (or ‘taping’ them, as the help sections puts it), sends them to bed. The more people you send to sleep, the bigger bonus you get. I’m beginning to think this game is aimed at kids.
The other thing that confused me was the inclusion of Thor and Chronos, who give you special powers when you tap on them. Thor brings rain to the level which changes the current challenge to No Umbrellas, and Chronos stops time, allowing you to rack up points. Power-ups are part of the furniture, naturally, but I struggle to see the thematic relevance of the Nordic gods in a game about a toy robot . Perhaps I’m looking at this too deeply. It’s a casual iOS game after all, not the complete works of Proust.
Beside that, No Red T-Shirts isn’t really fun to play. The core mechanic of tapping people to fine them gets boring very quickly, the graphics are unattractive and basic (although new towns are interesting enough to look at that they retain some charm), the music loop is one-note and annoying and unless you’re up for spending your own cash on IAP, you’re forced to play the same levels over and over until you get enough coins to progress. This, I’m afraid, is a Roboflop.
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No Red T-Shirts is available now for £0.69 as a universal app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Get it now on the