Since its inception in 1999, the Custom Robo series has largely been confined to Japan. In 2001, however, Nintendo released Super Smash Bros. Melee, a fighting game containing characters from throughout the company's history, worldwide. In the title's trophy room, three custom robos from Custom Robo V2 appeared as trophies: Ray Mk II, Bayonette, and Annie.
According to the upcoming release lists in several issues of Nintendo Power, Nintendo of America was planning to release Custom Robo GX, the third title in the series, but later canceled it for unknown reasons and decided to release Custom Robo: Battle Revolution, the fourth title in the series, which became the first to see an international release, in 2004. Released outside of Japan simply as Custom Robo, the game was designed specifically with newcomers to the series in mind. The fifth title of the series, Custom Robo Arena, became the first and only Custom Robo title released globally.
Custom Robo takes place in a collect-customize-and-battle style role-playing video game genre similar to games such as Robotrek or Front Mission, but with frantic action battles in confined 3D arenas (2D arenas in Custom Robo GX), similar to Virtual On. In each game's story mode, players slip into the role of a nameable young boy who has just had a dream about Custom Robos. After waking up, he walks up to his parents while they talk, and proceed to give him his first Custom Robo and some parts for battling. A friend then comes by to take the protagonist to where Custom Robo events are held. In each game, the first Custom Robo players obtain is always a model of the Ray series. The goal for players is to improve their skills and collect different Custom Robos in order to defeat everyone, including champion Custom Robo users.
The main objective of the game is to finish the storyline by collecting every Custom Robo and battle part, while winning every battle that moves players along through the story arc. In Custom Robo battles, the object is to reduce the opponent's hit points from 1000 to 0 by using different Custom Robos, guns, bombs, pods, and dash attacks. Custom Robos are arranged in groups that are similar to their abilities. The endurance bar is located above the player's hitbox; once it runs out, the Custom Robo gets "downed" which means that it stays fallen for a couple seconds. After the Robo gets up, it goes into "rebirth" mode, where it stays invincible for about 3 seconds. If players repeatedly lose the same battle, the game will offer the option of reducing the opponent's initial health, in order to make the battle easier. If players continue to lose several times, the degree of handicap offered increases up to 75%, giving the opponent a starting HP of 250, rather than 1000.
The following is a list of games released in the series.
Games predating Battle Revolution were released only in Japan (except the first one, which was also released in China for the iQue Player). Due to this, there are no official titles for North American or European releases of these games. Such a title may be given if Nintendo divisions outside of Japan elects to localize any of these games to their regions.
Second and last Custom Robo title developed for the Nintendo 64. It is also the first title of the series to allow up to four players to play, instead of up to two players. Released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan in January 2007.
The first Custom Robo title to appear on a Nintendo handheld. It is also the first and only Custom Robo rendered in two-dimensional (2D) graphics instead of three-dimensional (3D) graphics for Custom Robo battles.