JRPG Review

Biomotor Unitron – Review – Portable Tech and Colourful Mech

The NeoGeo Pocket Color is the little handheld that could and is seemingly a great fit for Nintendo’s Hybrid that does. Following in the footsteps of the NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol.1SNK VS. Capcom: Card Fighters’ Clash and Big Bang Pro Wrestling, the Nintendo Switch now has one of the few JRPG titles the NeoGeo Pocket had – Biomotor Unitron!

Originally released in 1999 as the NeoGeo Pocket’s first JRPG, Biomotor Unitron was a Yumekobo developed title famous for SNK Gals’ Fighters and Prehistoric Isle 2 alongside many other SNK/NeoGeo focused titles. 

You get to choose between a male or female “Unitron” pilot with the other character being your co-pilot. You’re then thrust into a fantasy world that combines high fantasy elements with that of sci-fi mech-based fantasy. That said, it tends to lean more on the former than the latter.

Robot Wars

 The goal of Biomotor Unitron is to become the champion of the Arena by throwing down and wrecking the other pilots and their Unitron. Beyond that, your goal is to conquer the game’s elemental-themed dungeons until you unlock the final dungeon and thus the final boss. 

In terms of the overall narrative, Biomotor Unitron is kind of shallow. It’s the usual “be the best” and beat the toughest that was all the rage when Pokémon first hit the scene. It’s ideal for portable titles that live and die on pick-up and play sessions rather than marathon late nights.

While the narrative is shallow, the characters in Biomotor Unitron are quite endearing and offer a little bit of development the higher up the Arena rank you go. Alongside that, you’ll also meet other pilots who want to sit at the top of the mountain too.

Death Metal

The gameplay in Biomotor Unitron is unique for a title of its time and can be split into several different sections.

First off, the town section. Rather than being an exploratory affair, it’s dealt with by traversing menus. It doesn’t take long before you realize what every area does, though you’ll be spending a lot of time selecting the Workshop and the Arena as they are your main ports of call.

Following this, you have the dungeon gameplay. It’s a traditional top-down experience where you see your mech walking around maze-like areas set to a theme. In this case, areas are based on concepts such as Nature and Fire.

Biomotor Unitron - Battle

The dungeons are unique for the time due to them being semi-procedurally generated. While not completely random, they are made up of different predetermined sections which are randomized every time you leave the dungeon.

You’ll walk around these dungeons at quite a slow speed, finding dead ends, treasure chests, and fighting many enemies who call these areas home. Fighting enemies will be the time-sink; the game has a fairly hefty encounter rate.

Battles are your standard turn-based affair. You and your opponent whether monster or mech choose from attacks that drain EP. The first one to lose all their health points loses, and if you win you gain EXP and a little bit of the filthy lucre.


While your pilot levels up which change how your Unitron can look, all combat stats and abilities are fully locked behind upgrading and changing the parts on your Unitron. It’s as any good mech game should be. 

The usual loop is you do a little grinding in the dungeons, maybe finish it then use all your money to buy better parts. Upgrade that Unitron then slap people around in the Arena before you reach the next difficulty wall. Rinse and repeat until it is done.

There are hundreds of different parts for you to gather during your playtime. With the system of different elements that form weaknesses, you’ll spend a lot of time tweaking and geeking over your walking tank of Doom.

Biomotor Unitron clocks in at a respectable 10 hours which is the sweet spot in a game like this. It’s not exactly held back by its console of origin but designed with it in mind.

As Code Mystics is behind the port of Biomotor Unitron expect the usual features that came with all the previous NeoGeo titles that we’ve covered on NookGaming. That means a digitally scanned color manual, the ability to tweak the zoom, save and load features, rewind features, and the ability to play it with the touchscreen alone.

Pimp Yo Mech

Visually Biomotor Unitron is a product of its time. It borders the line between 8 and 16-bit graphics and that signature beautiful close-up sprite work which is so prevalent on all of the Neo Geo Pocket Colour titles I’ve played.

Unfortunately, the battles are about as devoid of animation as other titles of the same age. There’s the odd attack here and there, but the sprite art barely moves and just flickers when damaged.

The music is a lovely slice of chiptune pie. Unsurprisingly, you won’t be getting any voice acting here, but the characters are written with a charm that allows you to imagine their voices.


Biomotor Unitron is yet another curiosity in the NeoGeo Pocket Color library much like Card Fighters’ Clash and Big Bang Pro Wrestling. Fortunately, it falls in the more playable and enjoyable court of the former than the latter, which while unique and nice-looking didn’t play too well.

If you’re a fan of mechs, don’t want to spend too much, and have 10 hours spare, then you can’t do much better than Biomotor Unitron.


Platforms: Nintendo Switch

If you find yourself wanting more JRPG games, check out our review of Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist & The Mysterious Dream.

Many thanks go to SNK who provided a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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