Mar 13, 2013

[Games] Robotek (Android)

There are few gaming principles more fundamental that Rock-Paper-Scissors. It's a game principle that we all know decently well from childhood and thus it frequently gets tapped as the main basis for a game engine. Sometimes it seems almost ridiculous how this gets so overused. Other times you're still surprised as a player to find that it's fundamentally that same old game.

This game is one of the latter ones - a seemingly decent adaptation of the Rock-Paper-Scissors game concept and yet adding a sufficient enough twist to keep things interesting.

Plus the game involves robots. And you know I love robots.

Robotek is a mobile game developed by Hexage and is available for both iOS and Android. Naturally I have the Android version, and thankfully the game remains free on Google Play.

The back story is simple enough - Earth has been conquered by robots and now you and your friendly robots are working to take it back one robot outpost at a time. Thus you engage in various matches around the world as you try to beat the various robot guardians.

In every stage you have three options - to summon more robots to help you, to use defensive abilities or to use direct damage attacks. The twist is that your various actions are limited by three slot machine style wheels. You can select the action type and you can stop the first wheel on your desired option but the other two are a bit random. Naturally if you get multiples of one type it increases the quality of the action. Thus you can get more advanced robots or a stronger firewall shield.

I really like how they opted to balance the game, and you can see this in the various options for each of the action types. There are three of each of them and they give a nice variety to the game. For the robots, the smallest robot with the least life has the strongest attack while in the defensive skills you have the option to create a shield, raise the attack of your robots or try to "hack" (steal) one of the enemy robots.

On top of all that, there are special skills that only activate if sufficient turns have passed. The most basic gives all your robots double attacks and the biggest is a nuke attack that is sure to take out a huge chunk of your enemy's life and his robots. But both of you are bound by the same game system and thus once you have a nuke ready, he's there to use his by the next turn. Like I said, excellent game balance.

The game can feel highly repetitive since the game offers the exact same gameplay experience over and over again for quite a number of stages. There are no cut scenes to show your progress throughout the map and the only source of humor involves the text that describes each node that you will try to liberate. At least the art style is pretty - which also seems to be a signature of the games of this developer.

Ultimately, Robotek is a light game that you can return to time and time again when you have little else to do. The gameplay is sufficiently fulfilling and challenging although there are times when it feels like your computer opponent is rolling way too well. It's not the best game in the world, but it's a nicely solid one that gets 3.5 cute little robots blowing up into bits out of a possible 5.

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