" Always, I wanna be with you, and make believe with you, and live in harmony, harmony, oh, love~ "
—Always, by Erasure
Robot Unicorn Attack is a flash game once hosted on Adult Swim, featuring robot unicorns. Go figure.
Adult Swim, being a flash game site promoting fun for the immature and immature-at-heart—for the ones to whom the words 'epic' and 'awesome' have only their internet denotations—might, at first glance, seem like it's stepping a little out of line with this hanky-panky girly rainbow unicorn crap. But it is just those very same unicorns and robots and rainbows and other things that we've gotten used to leaving behind for the children or the females (or both) that the contemporary internet seems latch onto now. One could call it an ironic devotion, but in every ironic gesture there is at least a shred of sincerity, and there is no doubt some sort of pent-up frustration, with all the machismo a man is often required to wear by today's standards for manliness. So the next best thing to do is to assert that this very thing that one considers weak or effeminate is itself cool and hip and macho. It's an odd subversion of expectation to the uninitiated, but a phenomenon nonetheless.
So, Robot Unicorn Attack. You are the eponymous equine android; your shell, a bright, gleaming steel; your mane, a technicolour rainbow of nearly epileptic vigour; your body, powerful, tireless, and expertly toned. You are on some sort of mission. (To attain the highest score in all the land?) One that requires navigating the hilly, cotton-candy-grass fields of somewhere far away, where oddly hypnotic and definitely catchy 90s synthpop echoes through the landscape. You are equipped with two abilities: a double jump, and a fantastically shiny dash ability. These two powers work in tandem—you can initiate a dash in mid-air, losing all vertical momentum suddenly in order to deliver a precision burst forward, and you can always perform a mid-air leap after dashing, in order to forestall the certain death which follows a dash off the edge of a cliff.
" You became a star... (Press 'X' to dash through stars) "
—after exploding upon contact with a star
The game itself starts off somewhat promisingly. The over-synthed plucking of the intro to Always lulls you into a sense of mellow and "man this is so cheesy omg". Then, controls are displayed, and you are prompted to begin the game by pressing Z 'to make your wishes come true'. You are greeted by a short length of the stage containing flat land and no features, to acquaint yourself with the physics of the simulation. A score counter at the top of the screen ticks upwards quickly, implying that longevity is king in magic periwinkle candy-land. Soon, you are introduced to the rainbow fairies, which add ten points to a running combo for each consecutive fairy collects; the jumps, which are something you're going to have to learn to navigate, as the land of magic mountains and magenta shrubbery seems to consist solely of rolling hills stationed on small floating islands; and the stars, which are like the fairies, except that they have their own separate counter, to which they add 100 points for consecutive hits, and they need to be dashed through. It quickly turns into a fast-paced frenzy of wooshes and jumps and bang!s, if you can last that long. Frustration is possible, just as with any other game.
On the other hand, you are greeted by explosions when you successfully blast through a star. Twinkly sound effects play on every possible action, from the collecting of rainbow fairies, which emits a cascade of sparkling sounds, to the strumming of a harp upon jumping in midair. The large path-blocking stars have huge, unmistakable wooshing sounds when they appear, and the robot unicorn's head launches off in a burst of energy whenever your wishes fail to come true. Mystical robot dolphins come out to greet you upon the collection of every 5000 points. Even the post-death debriefing screen consists of a countdown ticking down from eight, urging to make your next wish, blasting sparkle sound effects as though noise pollution wasn't even a thing.
This game prods you along, entices you to play with a combination of so bad it's good and the ironic—or is it?—awesome factor of being a rainbow robot unicorn that does all this kick-ass rainbow robot unicorn stuff.
Set to the tune of the catchiest song in the world.
There's rainbows and explosions and stuff.
Why are you not trying to beat my 43632 point high score yet?
" Press 'Z' to chase your dreams again! "
—Okay, fine, I'll do one more, I came so close last time
Adult Swim has since come out with a sequel, Robot Unicorn Attack: Evolution, wherein you transform into various other awesome robot animals, like a panda, a wolf, and a dragon, along the way to fame, fortune, and the Adult Swim leaderboards. The Facebook-exclusive version also features various powerups and things to help enhance your playthroughs of the game, though some would argue that's just their incentive for you to use Facebook to play.