Insane Robots is a turn based card-em up from Playniac, set in a world where Robots rule supreme. As an opening sentence I know that doesn’t give away much, but it is essentially all you need to know.
Insane Robots wastes no time in getting you up and running. There are no overly long cutscenes to get bogged down in, and the story is laid out using good old-fashioned dialogue boxes that pop up on-screen, but don’t go in expecting an epic like War and Peace. You start out the game as Franklin, a robot ex-chef who wanted stardom according to his in-game bio. You quickly learn that Franklin has had his memory wiped in order to instigate a Robot rebellion against The Kernel, the evil overlord who is in charge of the whole routine.
- Developer: Playniac
- Release Date: July 10th, 2018
- Price: $19.99/£15.99/€19.99
With your memory wiped you are declared insane and are sent to fight your way through a series of arenas in order to regain your memory (and find out the reason you had it wiped in the first place). The story merely serves as a reason to introduce the many different arenas which serve as the maps within the game. This hexagonal tiled maps are turn based, and allow you to move around them looking for treasure in the form of money and upgrades while avoiding other robots who are out for your mechanical innards. Touching another robot triggers a battle, which is the core gameplay mechanic that binds it all together and is essentially what you’ll be paying for – so is it any good?
Combat is simple enough to begin with and brings you in gently, but as you progress the battles soon develop depth and the need to employ some tactical thinking in order to get by. The main idea is you and your robotic opponent have two bars that you can fill using cards that are randomly drawn each round. One bar is your attack power, the other your shield, and filling these up alters your defense and attack damage. This is done by placing two cards in the relevant slots next to each meter. Cards serve as “batteries” to charge your meter, with each card showing a battery (think mobile phone display) – the more charge a battery has the bigger the impact on your attributes. Each robot has a number of hit points displayed below their avatar, and when this hits 0 they are off to the scrap heap.
Cards are randomly drawn, and you can only place a set number each round, so it quickly develops into a game of chance – do you go all out attack and try to hit quick and fast, forgetting about your shield and hoping they don’t beat you to it? Or do you play defensively to begin with, but run the risk of never getting a hit while they constantly bombard you with attacks as you repeatedly try to charge your shield? Decisions like this quickly become commonplace, but I never truly felt like I was in control as there is a strong element of luck depending on which cards are drawn for you at the beginning of each turn. Some might be power up cards, such as the ability to drain an opponents battery card so they can’t do as much damage or swap one of your cards for theirs, which serve to pad the battles out and add another layer of strategy but it does get a little annoying when you go a few rounds without any attack cards. This element of chance can be altered in your favor by upgrading you robot at vending machines so attack cards have a higher probability of being drawn, but this does take a few goes before you notice any real effect.
Being completely honest, I found after a few attempts with Insane Robots I got a little bored with the repetitiveness of it all. certain new mechanics are introduced as you make progress, but the core gameplay remains the same. The story didn’t grip me in anyway as it is merely a tackled an addition that is used to try to explain why the maps change from jungle settings to desert settings, but it doesn’t really add anything to the whole experience. Without any real hook dragging me in I found I would play a few rounds and then my attention would shift and I’d want to play something else. Yes, I did have fun while I was playing, but it was the same sort of fun you have playing a mobile game, something that you dip in and out of when you have a spare 5 minutes to kill. If you like turn based card battlers then you will enjoy Insane Robots, but if you’re looking for something more than a quick distraction I would maybe give this one a miss.
Insane Robots PS4 Review
Insane Robots is a turn based card battler with some entertaining combat that works best in small doses.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.
Stuart has had a long and lengthy love affair with video games, since he first woke up to find Santa had left him a Sega Master System complete with Alex the Kidd built in no less. Since then, his thumbs have become calloused and he has missed many a nights sleep in the pursuit of those elusive “5 more minutes…” but his love has never wavered.