Akimbot is a Saturday morning cartoon adventure yanked from the aughts

A pair of silly characters blasting baddies and cracking wise is a laser-targeted throwback.


There was a point in time when the likes of Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank were major players in the gaming world. The PlayStation 2 era was a time when action platformers thrived, and there were plenty of imitators attempting to reach the same success. Now we’ve reached a point in the culture in which Ratchet and Clank are still trying to hang out, while Jak and Daxter are history. Now a game like Akimbot, which may have been dismissed as a ripoff 20 years ago, is perfectly positioned as a throwback to a bygone era.

Exe and Shipset heading toward trouble in Akimbot
Source: PLAION

Ahead of its planned August release, Akimbot developer Evil Raptor and publisher PLAION made a demo available for a few weeks. In this story you play as Exe, a very serious robot fighter (with conspicuously animal ear-like appendages on his head) who meets a chatty little droid character named Shipset on a prison ship. Between Exe’s metallic muscle and Shipset’s endless quipping, the pair decide to team up and use their strengths to escape their intergalactic pursuers.

Exe has many of the tools you might expect from an action platformer. He can double-jump, dash a short distance in the air, and swing around a melee weapon to break enemies and various containers strewn throughout a level. You can also purchase Special Weapons from the Black Market, alongside what seem to be several upgrades. The weapons use an energy meter as ammunition, which refills as you defeat enemies. They seem to be intended for burst use in hairy situations, since you can’t stockpile and collect ammo by itself. Other gameplay gimmicks appeared in the demo, such as a small hacking minigame to get a boat moving.

A shop for weapons and upgrades in Akimbot
Source: PLAION

Interestingly, you get a more standard gun (an assault rifle) about halfway through the demo. This weapon had unlimited ammunition, and was used as a tool in some traversal puzzles before it was used in combat. Its damage was much lower compared to the Special Weapons (preserving the melee attack’s utility), but as soon as it was introduced the combat zones grew more complicated, with enemies appearing at distances and firing long-ranged attacks of their own. Each difference I noticed compared to, say, Ratchet and Clank had a quick answer or justification in the gameplay, which was interesting.

While the combat is fast and flashy, the glue holding Akimbot together is going to be the banter between Exe and Shipset. The dynamic is familiar but different, with Exe being a grumpy straight man character who is only reluctantly accepting this partnership and Shipset being a yappy, cunning little goober who seems likely to stir more trouble than help solve it. There wasn’t a ton of quipping during combat in the demo, but plenty of dialogue filled the spaces between.

More gunplay combat in Akimbot
Source: PLAION

The demo ends with a multifaceted showdown against a robotic mafia, starting with a battle on a moving boat against several waves of turrets. Then a big turret chases you through some combat scenarios against regular enemies, doing that classic 3D action platformer “run away from the big target laser and find cover” thing. Finally, you face off against a flying craft in a traditional boss battle that tests all your platforming and shooting chops. A lot happened in such a short demo, which bodes well for the full game. It seems like Akimbot has a good sense of pacing, alongside mixing up introducing new challenges while escalating to boss fights testing what you’ve learned throughout a level. I certainly have questions, such as, “will Shipset do anything besides talk?” but those will have to remain unanswered for now.

Akimbot is set to launch on August 29, 2024 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. A demo previously available on Steam was played for this preview.

Contributing Editor

Lucas plays a lot of videogames. Sometimes he enjoys one. His favorites include Dragon Quest, SaGa, and Mystery Dungeon. He's far too rattled with ADHD to care about world-building lore but will get lost for days in essays about themes and characters. Holds a journalism degree, which makes conversations about Oxford Commas awkward to say the least. Not a trophy hunter but platinumed Sifu out of sheer spite and got 100 percent in Rondo of Blood because it rules. You can find him on Twitter @HokutoNoLucas being curmudgeonly about Square Enix discourse and occasionally saying positive things about Konami.

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