Ah – the old “robots have taken over the world!” plot. Not especially original, but it has provided us with some good material over the years. Most notably the Terminator series of films. Now we can also add Hexage’s Robotek for Android to the list.
The official blurb puts it like this:
Robots took over your world. This is your chance to take it back.
The humanity had fallen. In the great robot uprising machines took the planet over. Empire of Machine is the new world order. It’s time to take it back! One node at a time.
Rip through your enemies with lasers, electrocute them or fry them with microwaves. Deploy your own robots to fight for you or steal them from your enemy. Protect and upgrade your forces or throw them away in a ruthless wave of destruction.
Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Which is good because it certainly is!
When you first start the game, you’re presented with a tutorial which holds your hand through the first battle. This teaches you enough to actually fight it, but does not equip you particularly well to win future ones. [Much like parenting – Ed] It is very useful, then, that Hexage has decided to add a strategy guide within the game. This was not in the original version and it made winning battles very difficult indeed. That in itself would not be a problem, except for the fact that each battle loss costs you “energy”. Since each battle costs a certain amount of energy to attempt in the first place, this can quickly leave you unable to progress. It is possible,however, to purchase further energy from within the app, using Google’s new in-app purchasing.
This is probably my biggest beef with the game. Hexage suggests that you can complete the game without making any in-game purchases. I would suggest that this may be true – but you would have to be very good or lucky to do so. All that said, the in-game purchases are not very expensive at all and open up new features – such as the recharger node, which means you can get new energy without further purchases.
Once past the tutorial, users are presented with a map showing all the available “nodes” and how difficult they are. The game recommends you begin with Canada – which seems reasonable enough!
The actual battle gameplay is turn-based and straightforward. Both you and the enemy have one “mainframe” robot. The idea is that whoever can destroy the other robot wins the battle. Different nodes have robots with greater or lesser amounts of energy.
You have to spin a set of slot-machine like wheels and the result determines how well your turn goes. You start of by selecting what kind of result you want: robot, hack or attack. Robot will present you with some robots to draw fire away from your “mainframe” robot.
Using the hack approach will either give you a shield, damage your opponent’s robots, steal one of their robots or any combination of the above. Attack will result in a laser, a microwave or some “sparks” to fire at the enemy. How many of each one you get in the spin determines how powerful each attack is. For example, one laser in the spinner will give you a simple burning laser. Three lasers, however, will unleash the “Unmaker Omega”, a massive beam that will devastate your enemy.
Given the slot-machine approach, Robotek obviously has a fairly heavy luck element to it – but there is a significant strategyaspect as well. One call – right or wrong – can turn the tide of the whole battle.
There is also a “Duel” option in the game – however this is either against the AI (making it basically the same as any other battle in the game) or against someone else using the same Android device. This can be fun, but we should now be expecting an online multiplayer option.
After other Hexage games like Evac, we expect beautiful graphics and excellent soundtracks – and Robotek doesn’t disappoint in either respect. This is a game that looks and sounds very good indeed. My initial concern with the game was that it would be very repetative, but this has not proved t be the case at all – in fact, Robotek is one of the most addictive games I have played for a while – on any platform!
The difficulty in finishing the game without purchase and the disappointing duel mode do detract from what is otherwise an exceptional game. So exceptional, in fact, that I’m going to award it 9 out of 10!
Check out the following trailer – or just go and get it now!