Who doesn’t love a good world domination game? I mean, a good game is one thing. And a good fighting game is another. But a good fighting game where the goal is to take over the world? And with robots, no less!
Independent game studio Hexage fills this precise opening with a game called Robotek. Robotek is a turn based combat game in which you aim to reclaim the world from the evil robot uprising that caused the fall of humanity. Intrigued yet? Hit the jump to find out more!
Have you ever played a psychedelically-colored space domination game like Galcon Fusion or Geometry Wars? Robotek achieves a similar art style, with constantly-shifting backgrounds consisting of neon polygons, and imposing silhouetted characters (robots) dueling in front of you. The game is visually pleasing, to say the least.
In addition to the gorgeous art style, the game is set in a post-human world where a machine uprising has left the planet volatile–essentially a war zone for robots. Now seems like a good time to mention that I’m a firm believer in the make-or-break capabilities of the “little things” in apps, and in games in particular. Robotek isn’t notably story-heavy, but there are a few blips of background information that effectively set the mood for the game.
I’ll discuss the specifics of gameplay a bit further down, but as you’ll see, the interface during combat and on the map screen is bold and bright. The game is turn-based, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide what you’re doing, making touch-pad control a completely viable way to play the game.
Robotek is essentially played on two fronts: there’s the combat part of the game (which I’ll discuss in detail later) and the metagame.
Metagame and World Domination
When you begin playing Robotek, you assume the role of a robot in the post-human world, attempting to reclaim the fallen world from the Empire of Machine. To achieve this, you’ll fight your way through a series of “nodes” located on the world map. Each node is rated with a difficulty rating (in stars) and a Power value (noted with a lightning bolt symbol). Power is the resource that you’ll be trying to accumulate by fighting and defeating your enemy robots. Alternatively, you can support the developers and the free app by giving yourself a boost and in-app purchasing additional Power with your dollars.
The map screen provides a view of the world map and all of the nodes that you have/have not conquered. When beginning the game, the map gives you a brief pointer for getting started that was simply too good not to share here:
The view itself is relatively simple: there is a large display showing your overall Power, which goes up and down according to your wins and losses. Winning gives you the number of Power points on the node’s tooltip, while losing takes that amount of Power away. Also on the map screen is an experience bar, which goes up with each fight, regardless of whether or not you win or lose.
Clicking on a node on the world map and then on the flashing green arrow will take you into a fight.
Combat in Robotek is turn-based, which is a simple enough concept to grasp. However, the way a fight plays out is determined by a roulette system, which I found to be the most challenging part of the game to figure out. Each turn you’ll spin the slots in the corner of the screen (by clicking the green button), and then try to stop the first slot on your desired move (by clicking the green button a second time). The number of slots that match after the roulette has stopped spinning determines the power of that outcome. The window in the screenshot above is just one example showing how the strength of an outcome is determined.
When you take your turn, you may spin the roulette in one of three categories. You can try to summon companion robots, you can go on the offensive, or you can take defensive measures (such as summoning shields). What confused me the most was the fact that no matter what you spin, you’ll get whatever shows up. If you’re attempting to summon a Drone, for example, and you roll 2 Drones and a Tankbot, you’ll receive an advanced Drone and a normal Tankbot. If you roll 3 of anything, you’ll not only get the most powerful version of it, but you’ll also get a bonus turn.
The main goal of combat is to use these abilities to drain the enemy’s HP, denoted by the the bars at the bottom of the screen, before he drains yours. I won’t go into detail about all of the abilities you can use, but let it be known that I was surprised by the level of complexity a given battle can reach.
Let me level with you: When I downloaded this free app from the Mac App Store, I wasn’t expecting a game that was this fun. I wasn’t expecting as much depth and complexity, and I certainly wasn’t expecting the level of visual polish that Hexage lacquered on. It certainly isn’t the most innovative or complex game I’ve ever played, but it still provides a great deal of fun. And, of course, my motto is “you can’t go wrong with the low, low price of free.”
Have you bested the robots of the world and rescued the planet? What do you think about Robotek?