Robolife2-Nova Duty is a game that isn’t too concerned with originality. In fact, its premise is virtually identical to that of its predecessor. It’s set in a futuristic world where lifelike androids work and exist alongside humans. You play as a student looking to study android technology, but you’re too poor to afford one of your own. That’s when a miracle occurs: an android literally comes falling out of the sky and she’s yours to keep. How could something like that happen? That’s a mystery for you to unravel.
It’s Chobits meets Princess Maker, but for horny people.
Your new robot friend is called Nova and she’s a polar opposite to Aino from the first Robolife game. Where Aino was cold and emotionless, Nova is ridiculously hyper at all times. She is excitable and wild, with a competitive streak that’s hard to rival. She is also stubborn and prideful, but easily tricked into doing whatever you need from her anyway.
Just like Aino, Nova has an ambiguous past. She is a non-standard model with more than a few oddities about her. In particular, she claims to hear a voice that urges her to fulfill some kind of important duty. Keep tinkering away at her and you may find out more.
Gameplay has been tweaked since the last game, but remains the same at its core. You develop parts for Nova that boost her stats and give her specific abilities. With these you perform jobs that bring in money which can be funneled into more research or buying upgrades directly. Rinse and repeat. By doing jobs or exploring around town, you also pick up various side-plots. These may unlock even more new parts or help you find out more about Nova’s origins.
Throughout this, I couldn’t help but feel that Robolife2 lacked the spark of the original. Gameplay felt routine and no longer evoked the curiosity that I felt before. It seemed like each story thread only had a single solution as far as research was concerned. If you do the mining job, you research the reinforced body parts. That leads into the MMA gig, which unlocks the Kung-Fu body parts. When the skill checks for MMA start to get higher, you get the upgraded versions of the Kung-Fu set to research. You always unlock what you need the moment you need it, so what incentive is there to experiment?
This wasn’t the case in the last game, as it had way more jobs and didn’t link specific parts to any one of them. That game did have the problem that some parts were way too good at everything, but Robolife2 overcorrected in its attempt to fix that.
New to the game are exploration and combat mechanics. Various story events will present you with a map to work your way through, where each stop could harbor a special event, trap, enemy, or item to find. When you get into a fight, the parts you have equipped determine what you can and can’t do. Something like the Nun’s healing skill isn’t just for skill checks anymore, it also gives you an actual healing ability to use in combat.
Both these new additions are fun and enjoy ample depth, with combat being particularly challenging. Unfortunately, there are precious few opportunities to engage with these systems. Worthwhile combat encounters are rare and the exploration maps may as well not exist at all. Most of the time it’s just a straight road that you click through with mandatory events scattered along it. I only found 2 instances in the entire game where exploration was actually non-linear.
Those who seek the game out purely for its erotic content will be pleased though. There are still plenty of opportunities to stick your virtual todger down mechanical shafts. Now with looping animations no less! The writing is still amusing for erotica standards and the character designs are certainly appealing.
At worst I’d say the scenes are all kind of vanilla; lacking in anything particularly memorable. That’s a lie actually. My biggest complaint is that the first ero scene I got involved the mentally-underdeveloped loli android. I wasn’t even actively pursuing that—I swear. It just happened along the main story path and you can’t say no.
Robolife2-Nova Duty is quite fun, but also a tough game to sell. Nova’s story is nowhere near as interesting as that of Aino, but you kinda have to play the last game to get the full context for this one. At the same time, gameplay is a mix of new ideas that you rarely get to do and returning mechanics that feel notably downgraded. Unless you are especially determined to fuck some robots or can pick up a cheap bundle, Nova Duty isn’t worth rushing out to get.