Sunday, January 20, 2008


What I just said to my room mate: "I kind of think they were inspired by Dr. Who or something. But not very inspired. At all." The Dr. Who reference is questionable; the lack of inspiration is not. Only it probably is, because Robots is probably inspired by some classic game on platform I never played, like the Amiga or the Spectrum or something.

I don't care; it's a stupid game. Not because I'm not good at it - I thought at first I wasn't, then I figured out what the teleport button did, and discovered that a monkey could be good at it. It's just boring. It's a turn-based game that kind of wants to be an action game, but mostly just wants to scream "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" at the top of its lungs while boring you to death.

You are a dude. There are robots. Each turn, you choose to move, stand still, or teleport. Each turn, the robots move towards you. In regular 'Robots' mode, they move one square each turn, just like you. In the default 'Nightmare' mode. from the getty-up there are robots who move multiple squares to your one. If a robot can move onto your square, you die, game over. Since it defaults into a mode where you aren't allowed to move into a square that would allow you to be gotten, you pretty much just move around until it beeps (signalling that move is not available), see if there's anywhere else you can go, and if there's not, you teleport. Which in most games takes you to a random spot. Eventually, you will teleport next to a robot, resulting in death/game over.

There is a play mode with a limited number of "safe teleports" which will guarantee that you won't land in one of the spots which would result in a game over. I didn't play it. It was boring enough without the added security. Admittedly, since you can earn more "safe teleports" by doing certain things, that might make it a little less random and allow for strategy. But I'm guessing it wouldn't change things much, and it's just boring.

There are multiple tile-sets, such as the 'boo' tileset, which makes your character look like a tiny Zorro, and makes the robots be 'scary creatures' like ghosts and bats. That was interesting for like thirty seconds. The different rule-sets may include a game that's fun to play, but I played three of the five, and they all sucked. The only cool thing about this game was the scream that happens when you die. It's appropriately horrific. I'm guessing they mic'd a room, told a guy to play the game, and waited for him to die. Then they told him he had to play it for another 24 hours straight, and recorded the scream he made.

Honestly, this is cute, and well-executed, but just totally a horrible idea. God, I can't wait to get to Battle for Wesnoth or Civilizations or something that's not just total utter crap. They might be totally crap as well (well, not Civ, but the other one, that I haven't played) but at least I've heard good things. I think that in the story vs. gameplay debate, story wins, but Robots definitely loses, as it has neither.

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