Tag Archives: Insane Robots

Insane Robots Review

I’m not really a fan of the online, collectible card games, such as Hearthstone. Personally I don’t enjoy the fantasy styling and the complexity of the majority of them. Fable Fortune was an exception but it was probably more due to my love of the franchise. When I saw Insane Robots at EGX Rezzed earlier this year I was pulled into it’s colourful, energetic styling, but will that be enough to make me enjoy an online card game? Insane Robots is developed and published by Playniac and is available for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam.

For those of you who share my views on this genre of game you’ll be pleased to know that Insane robots completely does away with the card collecting element of these games, and also throws out three-headed dogs and complicated statistics. Instead, it has a simple random deck that is used to create the most intense two-player battles that I have ever played (with cards). These battles can either be online, local, or via the AI in the 15 hour story campaign that must be a first for a game in this genre.

The battles themselves are where this game will succeed or fail and they are relatively simple to learn. Your robot has two attack and two defense slots. Placing attack and defense cards in both these slots will give those circuits a value. The maximum value in these circuits will be ten. If your attack value is greater than your opponents defense value then your attack will be successful, the opponents defense cards will be destroyed and then you’ll start to take down your opponents health. Your attack cards will also be destroyed. If your attack has a value of nine, and the opponents defense value is ten, then your attack cards will be destroyed but the defense cards won’t. If your opponent hasn’t completed his defense circuit then you’ll start taking down health immediately.

The fun comes when the special cards are played. There are glitch, hack and swap cards that can all be used to change and mess with the opponents attack and defense slots, and your own cards, which puts an end to those matches where all circuits have a value of ten. Boost cards can be added which increases the attack and defense values, and there are also damage cards to automatically take health away, along with health cards that give you health. As you proceed through the campaign you will also earn additional cards that will double your defense or swap the circuit values if it will be beneficial. All turns follow the card game standard rules, with action points increasing each round along with additional cards being given.

It’s all very easy to learn, and is quite quick to master as well. The cards given to each player are identical but are given in a random order. This may sound like winning is just a matter of luck, but it never feels that way. Cards can be combined to create other cards, including dual attack/defense cards so you never feel disadvantaged by the cards you are given. I’ve had some battles that have been over in a matter of minutes, but I’ve also experienced epic battles that have gone back and forth for ages, as the two robots have swapped and glitched until one was finally victorious.

As mentioned before there is a campaign mode in Insane Robots that tells the story of Franklin, a robot who awakens to find his memory wiped and he is tasked to defeat the other, titular, robots. These battles take place in a variety of procedurally generated worlds, all laid out as hexagonal play areas with pick-ups and shops scattered around. Franklin moves around the play area, almost like a board game, either avoiding or taking on your enemies. To be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of this part of the game, especially when some of the areas had environmental features that obscured the view of the play area, meaning you couldn’t find your opponents. The campaign is split into different tournaments with increasing difficulty levels, which become quite hard and challenging, and will require visits to the shop to refill your health between battles. Of course, you will find yourself unable to do so on all occasions, so you will find yourself heading into a fight with only half health. Whilst in the shops you can also buy augments that can be added to your robot, which can increase its stats and powers.

Another great feature of Insane Robots is the music and sound, and you know its good when you find yourself humming the main tune when you’re not playing! The robots all have digitised dialogue in the form of insults to their opposition, and these never feel boring or annoying. The different campaign worlds also have their own themes that all feel just perfect. The main thing that first attracted me to the game were the visuals and these are colourful and vibrant and definitely add to the games appeal.

There is a huge variety of game types to play in Insane Robots, but it all comes down to the way the battles are designed that will give it the longevity it needs. Personally I love them as they are simple to learn  but incredibly addictive. Whether you are working your way through the story or having quick multiplayer battles with your friends or complete strangers you’ll find thrill, enjoyment and challenge with Insane Robots. Personally I would like to experience the game on a mobile device as well as a console, as the game type and style would fit perfectly to those devices. A Nintendo Switch version would be lovely!

Many thanks to Playniac and One PR Studio for supporting TiX!

Insane Robots coming to a Console near you in July

Insane Robots was one of my picks of the show at EGX Rezzed in April and has now been given a release date of July 10th on PS4, July 12th on Steam and July 13th on Xbox One.

Insane Robots is a unique card battler with a brave tale of robot rebellion. Its a quirky, “rogue-lite” 2D strategy game where you battle for survival with token-based skirmishes in random-generated arenas. Each tournament brings tales of loyalty and betrayal; cold logic and insane risk. Power up your robot, lock down your slots, hack your opponent and launch your attack. Discover branching, reactive stories; strange and rare augments; special boosts that bring surprising twists; dynamic hazards like the acid cloud or ring of death; and deadly enemy robots ready to fight you and each other. Only a cunning player can survive the tournaments, unlock enough memory fragments and overthrow the Kernel to discover the terrible truth.

The core Insane Robots battle system was originally created in 15 minutes as a tabletop prototype using a pile of old business cards. This was only the start of a substantial physical and digital design process. The Playniac team has been playing and iterating the game since then, running tabletop sessions in their studio and at festivals worldwide during 2013-2014. Development of the digital game started in Jan 2015 and 15 people have formed the core team, including developer/designer Tom Kail (80 Days, Biome); artists Catherine Unger (Snipperclips, Detective Grimoire, Haunt the House, The Swindle), Fran Court (Hue, Stealth Inc 2, Frozen Synapse 2, New Art Academy 3DS), Belinda Leung (Total War, Pokemon Art Academy), Karen ‘bitmOO’ Teixeira (Twelve a Dozen, Oceans Heart), and Alice Duke (Fantastic Beasts, Lazarus); writers Yasmeen Khan (Fallen London), James Wallis (The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Paranoia RPG), and Charlie Carter; and designer/developer and Playniac founder Rob Davis (International Racing Squirrels, Cat On Yer Head, Anomaly X, Battlefield Academy). The game’s soundtrack includes tracks by Noise 5000 and legendary French electro producer Kid Loco.

Check out the official website and social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.

Tix’s Day Out at EGX Rezzed 2018!

It was a beautiful sunny day as my son and I caught the train to London to check out the latest Indie games on show at EGX Rezzed, which as usual was being held at Tobacco Dock in the heart of the city. This venue is the polar opposite of the large open spaces of the NEC in Birmingham, as it is an open air venue with lots of small rooms. My previous visit there in 2016 left me disappointed, as there were lots of people crowded into these small rooms, and with no queuing system in place there was more than a small amount of mayhem! Apparently feedback has been taken on board by the organisers, so let’s see what they have to offer.

With over 100 Indie titles on show, including a large presence from the folks at ID@Xbox, I knew we were never going to see everything on show, so a list was made whilst on the train, and our priorities were set. Here are my thoughts on some of the highlights of the day.

ONRUSH

The newest racing game from Codemasters and developed by the team previously known as Evolution Studios, who were responsible for Driveclub on the PS4. ONRUSH is not your usual racing game where the winner is the first one to reach the chequered flag. This is an all-action team based car fighting game, where your aim is to takedown the opposing teams cars whilst racing around an off-road circuit. First impressions of Onrush is that it is quick, frantic and immense amounts of fun! We had an absolute blast on the four games we played, all on the Countdown game mode which require you to gain extra time by driving through highlighted gates. I was intrigued with what I had seen in previews, but after playing I am now really excited by what Onrush will deliver. Releasing on 5th June this is definitely one to watch.

The devs have been busy since Rezzed and have released new videos detailing the other game modes available. Check them out on their official YouTube page and on Facebook and Twitter.

We were also lucky enough to snag a goody-bag in one of their giveaways, which made my son’s day!

Strange Brigade

This is the one I was most hyped about going into Rezzed after seeing it and watching the dev session at EGX 2017. Strange Brigade is a Boys-Own style adventure game, with up to 4 player co-op. Each level sees you battling the undead, mummies and statues that have come to life. The areas are set with traps to help you destroy the hordes of enemies, and there is nothing more satisfying than luring the undead into one of them before shooting it and watching the blades scything through them. This is possible my most anticipated game of 2018, assuming it comes out this year!

The devs have been actively promising more news soon and commented that the playable demo was an old build, and that the new build is looking and playing much better. I cannot wait for Strange Brigade!

Check out the official website and their social media channels here – FacebookTwitter.

Insane Robots

This one came as a suprise to me as I knew nothing about it before the show. Anyone visiting the room they were located in couldn’t fail to miss the colorful stand and stop to see what Insane Robots was all about. Developed by Playniac it is a single player and multiplayer card battling game which eschews the deck-building element so frequently found in the likes of Hearthstone. Instead, all cards are randomly allocated during the battle and these must be used to attack and defend, along with additional bonus multiplier cards in order to defeat your opposition.

Insane Robots was colourful and full of energy, and will be released in 2018 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.  Check out the official website.

Tyred

Visitors to previous EGX events will remember the buzz around Gang Beasts, with huge crowds watching as well as playing. Well, Tyred had that same buzz. The premise is simple. You take control of a Tyre and battle against other tyres in a series of mini-games. Fans of the TV show Wipeout will be very familiar with Tyred and a massive amount of fun was had by all. It does need some tweaking as some of the games were over-long, but there is definitely a diamond in here. Developed by the UK team at SekritGames, Tyred is only currently available on Steam Early Access.

Big Crown Showdown

Yet another game that I knew nothing about, and another that caught my eye based on its graphical style. Big Crown Showdown is a four player battle game where you have to battle against three other players whilst also navigating a treacherous world with traps and chasms. Great for family get togethers and drunken couch co-op but will also have online capabilities added for launch. The graphical style is medieval inspired but also very cute and pretty as well, with lots of charm. Big Crown Showdown is developed by Hyper Luminal Games and coming out soon for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Check out their official website for more info.

Phogs

Located in the same room as Double Fine – which due to the nature of the game was quite apt – Phogs is an interesting game where your have to control a dog with two heads using a control system very reminiscent of OctoDad. Developed by Bit Loom Games, Phogs is a puzzle platformer where the two dogs heads can attach to items by licking them, and then dragging them to a desired location. The body between the dogs can be stretched as well, and provided great moments where one head grabbed a light ball to allow the other head to function like a long stretchy torch. I smiled my way through this demo and look forward to what the devs will bring in the full game. Phogs was developed in conjunction with Coatsink and will be released in 2019.

Below

Ah, the long awaited Below. This was one I was most excited for. Originally debuted at E3 2013 before disappearing in order for Capybara to concentrate its efforts on finishing the game, Below is now resurfacing with extended gameplay trailers and demo’ing at both PAX and EGX Rezzed. I hate to say it but I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I would be. But that’s not intended as a negative as I believe that Below is not a game you can immerse yourself into for 5 minutes on an Xbox with other gamers queuing behind you for their shot. Below will need time and concentration in the peace of your own home.

Below is an action-adventure game viewed from a top-down perspective with your character being a “tiny warrior exploring the depths of a remote island”. The game is about exploration, though that goal is contingent upon the character’s survival. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer described the game at E3 2013 as a “creative take on roguelike gameplay” in a “mysterious world”. The environments are randomly generated.

Below is still a huge one-to-watch for 2018, and I for one cannot wait to immerse myself in the world that Capabara Games has invented.

So, thats my review of EGX Rezzed. Was it better than my previous visit? Yes, without question it was loads better! There was plenty of time to chat to the wonderful developers, and minimal queuing for games. The game rooms felt larger than previous, although finding the games you wanted to play in these rooms was sometimes difficult. We did come away without seeing at least one title that was on our wish-list. But it is safe to say that Rezzed is on our to-do list for the coming years and my 13 year old son now prefers it to the larger main EGX that takes place in the larger venue.