And if this was the sort of article where I talk about emotions instead of making metaphors about doing it with people, I'd probably be able to spin out the idea that WE are all ROBOTIC UNICORNS to 1000 words, and all we can really do is jump or charge in this world of ours. But not double-jump, which - as I previously explained - is why our world isn't as good as the paradise presented by Robot Unicorn Attack. And that's why we cry at night.

While Canabalt's actual soundtrack was splendid, I mostly fell in love with it as a device to play other songs to, just to see how it felt. Robot Unicorn Attack is different from that. Robot Unicorn Attack couldn't be divorced from its soundtrack any more than you could be separated from your lungs.

Its soundtrack is Erasure's Always. Moving at a canter as frictionless as the Robot Unicorn's, its needing as endless as the robot unicorns and camper than a camper van, it achieves an aesthetic lock as perfect as Dai-X combining in Starfleet. I will never be able to separate Always from Robot Unicorn Attack now. I can't even imagine wanting to do such a thing. It'd be like decapitating the Mona Lisa. It merges with the sparkles of sound effects and the explosions of light and makes it complete. ALWAYS IT WANTS TO BE WITH YOU, etc.


Robot Unicorn Attack has been one of my stable pastimes this year, like painting Skaven, furtive, secretive masturbation and bitching about my RPS colleagues to my other RPS colleagues behind their back like a total cow. As I wrote elsewhere when talking about the equally wonderful shortform Roguelike/Minesweeper cross Desktop Dungeons, the older you get, the more games have to find a space to comfortably fit. And many of the games I love - your epic RPGs, your epic Strategy games - don't comfortably fit in any time space smaller than that available to single-guy-just-been-dumped-and-has-no-friends-to-go-to-pub-with-and/or-seduce-for-sympathy-f***.

But when I look at the clock and see that there's 10 minutes before Delightful Fiancée gets home and I probably should cook whatever it is I've promised because she did the meal yesterday and all that... Well, I can a take a shot of clearing a dungeon of numerically awkward bad guys, or gallop across rainbow fields to face my inevitable demise while Andy Bell's voice lilts ever onwards. And I've tickled that gaming part of me, and then I can, sated, go and cook one of my three basic, vaguely-edible recipes or spring for takeaway.

I love it for that. I love it because it's a joke game which isn't. It's funny, but it doesn't view that as a reason not to be the best it can be. In fact, it's the best game of its type I've ever played, and now that it's got a Facebook version, it means you can enter those score-chasing wars with your friends. I love that it's so silly, yet that I've played it long enough that I end up thinking about the sad nobility of the steed, its heroic reluctance to abandon his mission and its inevitable demise. And then I play it some more, and it starts being funny again. And it never stops being fun.

I salute you, Robot Unicorn Attack. Yes, you're a one trick pony, but so was Pegasus.

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About the author

Kieron Gillen

Kieron Gillen


Kieron is one of the founders of the lovely Rock, Paper, Shotgun and nowadays writes comics for Marvel starring characters that even his mum has heard of.

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