Archive for August, 2014

RoboCraft

August 7, 2014

If your robot looks this normal, you are doing it wrong.

If you haven’t already checked this game out, you might want to if the idea of a cross between Minecraft and World of Tanks piques your interest (and if it  the answer is no, you are sad, and I’ve no desire to speak with you further).

In RoboCraft, you use various blocks to construct a robot that wheels, hovers or flies around the map, shooting at enemies with SMG’s, Rail Guns or Plasma Cannons. Hits knock off individual blocks, reducing your robot’s effectiveness, until the block immediately below the pilot gets destroyed. 

When you spawn, you are assigned randomly to a team (that tries to keep balanced). Your goal is to eliminate all the opposing robots, or capture the opposing team’s base where their team spawns. 

Kicking ass, capturing points or simply revealing enemies gives you experience points (Increasing CPU, which lets you use more blocks on your robot)  credits (the “free” in game currency) which can be used to buy more blocks/weapons/systems, and tech points (which is used to unlock better versions of various parts). As your robot gets larger and develops more advanced systems, it will “Tier” up. 

Being in a higher tier means your robot is viewed as more powerful. The game tries to balance battles so that robots aren’t too far apart in tier, and the teams are roughly matched in terms of overall power. This isn’t always perfect and doesn’t take into account skill (I found when I built tier 1 robots later on, I kicked rear end), but the game forces you to play in a higher tier if you want to unlock more powerful blocks, so this doesn’t happen all the time. 

So how does this game fare? 

Quite well, particularly the building phase. There are all sorts of ways to build the optimal robot, and half the fun of the game is finding new crazy ways to abuse the physics and damage engines to give yourself an edge. I found myself frequently rebuilding my robot from scratch to try some new crazy design. 

In fact, I spent more time on that then playing, which is where the weakness of the game lies. The maps are relatively small and free of terrain, and there’s only a few basic maps. Because there’s no voice communication and the games are short, there really isn’t much of an opportunity to come up with a coherent strategy in game unless you are playing with friends (in a ‘platoon’) and even then, what you can do is pretty limited. 

Still, it engaged me for a few days, and I can’t really complain about a game that’s very new, still constantly updating, and cost me nothing to play. I’m sure that with some more maps, game modes, and new blocks to use, this game will get more interesting as time goes on. 

So Is this game worth playing: Yes. Certainly! Its free, which is hard to ignore. The cash shop is relatively generous, as well, so spending a few bucks isn’t a terrible idea, even if you spend most of your time puttering about the garage, trying to tweak out just a little more durability by shaping armor tiles. The game is worth checking out just for the garage screen.

Starting Tips
– Disassemble all the crappy starting robots. Use the parts to make a single decent robot. 
– Always try to use max CPU when possible. 
– Six guns is the maximum that can fire at any one time.  
– Flying and hover robots require experience. I recommend starting with wheels.
– To keep your wheeled robot steady and maneuverable, try to have a low center of gravity (don’t make it high), use heavy blocks on your center, and keep the wheels extended out away from the main body. 
– The most efficient use of the “paid” currency you get is repairs, by a wide margin. I would use all my starting cash for this. 
– On many maps, there is a big, wide open area in the center. These areas are deathtraps that get covered by snipers. Avoid.