The first thing you notice, when you launch The Podge’s new Go Repo in your browser, is the music. Sure, all gaming soundtracks have to be top-notch these days, but the grooves that Catch2 2 Music and Cinquequarti have created to welcome you into Go Repo’s strange little world are a step apart.
And it is, after all, a strange little world. You play as all three members of a team of repo agents: ‘Fro Fred, Stompy, and Meathead. Each agent has different attributes: ‘Fro Fred can jump the highest, Stompy can knock people down without throwing things at their heads (more on this later), and Meathead can lift heavy items like cars and refrigerators. Because each character has a distinct special ability, and because you need all three of their abilities to successfully repossess everything in your path, expect to do a lot of character toggling as you complete the repo man’s honest day’s work.
What’s involved in your job? Blitzing through a home, grabbing everything from moose heads to refrigerators and throwing them into your van, which has to be bigger on the inside. After all, at the end of a level it’s going to contain the aforementioned refrigerator, an entire car, and a number of “boxes of bits,” which I am going to assume means that these poor souls, who can’t pay their bills, were attempting to strike it rich by mining bitcoins.
There are a few inconsistencies to the game that make gameplay a bit less fun. For example, the rules on the home screen state that you can throw items to the van “from any distance,” but I found that if you throw from too far away (or from the second story instead of the ground floor), the item will simply disappear from the screen and you’ll lose points. You do have to get nearly every item into your van to fully clear the level, so even a single miss means you’ll probably want to restart.
As JayIsGames notes, the secret to success in Go Repo has to do with thinking of it as a puzzle game, not as a side-scroller. I made that mistake myself, when I got started, trying to plow through and grab every item while simultaneously punching out all of the people in my way (more on this later), only to discover my speed had caused me to miss items and fail to collect enough points to clear the level. This isn’t Super Mario Bros 2: Repo Edition, although the character select attributes, the side-scrolling, and the enemies who would prefer to pace back and forth on the same two squares of carpet rather than, say, defend their boxes of bits make it feel awfully similar, at least at the beginning. No, it’s something far more complicated and intriguing.
Now, about that “knocking people down” piece: it’s part and parcel of any gaming experience these days that there has to be some kind of enemy for you to destroy, whether it’s space aliens, robots, or families living in the home in which you are currently smashing windows and destroying property. It’s hard to play Go Repo without feeling at least a little strange about that, especially as you get points every time you KO someone. Of course, that’s maybe because I’m a Lawful Good. I suspect most people who play Go Repo will gleefully beat up family members without flinching.
Ultimately, Go Repo is about the conflict between the everyday worker and The Man — and, in this case, you’re playing The Man. You can see these poor homeowners trying to save their own possessions by stacking boxes of bits; you know that if you were in the same situation, you too would be looking for fun ways to win money online, and you have to come in and do your job.
And boy, is that job fun.