Insane Robots is my first card battler game on console. Sure, in the real world I enjoy Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh but I had never used my Playstation to experience board games. My main attraction was the cutesy robots and I absolutely had to see if Playniac could convert me.
Genre: Board Game
Release Date: 10th July 2018
Length: 15+ hours
Platforms: Available on Steam, Xbox One and Playstation 4 (Reviewed on PS4)
The main menu screen gives you options to play the Campaign along with Local 2P, Quick Battle and Online 2P which all unlock after the Prologue. Local 2P is a good laugh. However, playing 2P online was more difficult as matchmaking takes a little while.
If you select Campaign, you will have 8 tournaments to partake in thus ensuring the campaign is a decent 15+ hours long. Unfortunately, each level can be quite samey so you would benefit highly from it being a game you go back to whenever you have some spare time. Or if you need something to chill you out. It is not a particularly strenuous game at all.
Our starter robot is a little sweetheart called Franklin. Unfortunately, Franklin is a little bit more curious than he should be and has been sent to a ‘Battle Royale’ type arena for malfunctioning robots. Here, you take control of Franklin who’s determination is key in starting a robot uprising and knocking the big boss baddie off of his pedestal. You will fight to become the “last bot standing”.
Each playable robot you come across is extremely unique and I found the writing to be simple yet very effective in being humorous. Voice lines are witty and situation appropriate. Furthermore, each robot has different skills such as K1-TTY who can turn invisible.
Each tournament places you into various colourful environments from lush woodlands to snowy glaciers. To heighten your experience, even more, these environments can have different soundtracks depending on which biome you are in. Various disasters can happen whilst you are traversing the hexagon grid maps which keep you on your toes.
In these tournament levels, you will be placed with a number of scary robots out for oil and it is your job to defeat them all, by either avoiding or destroying them, to become top bot. You will come across treasures/rewards; Vend-O-Matic machines for upgrades; ‘Bonus shops’ which you will need to use to equip certain Augments or max out your health and also mini scenarios which will have different outcomes depending on what you choose. These are kind of like the job scenarios in The Sims that can pop up when the Sim is at work. You collect ‘cogs’ which are the robot’s form of money which are invaluable in upgrading, repairing and reviving your little bot.
The Card Battles
When you are finally thrusted into a battle with another robot you are given your own attack and defence. Using your cards, in a turn-based system, you will need to charge up your batteries in order to attack your foe. At the same time, your AI or human opponent robot will be doing the same thing so its a race to get set-up and attacking.
Your deck will also consist of glitches, hacks and boosts which can drastically change the outcome of the game. I did find that having these could sometimes over saturate your hand and I found myself desperately scrapping for an attack card. However, it makes your choices that much more dramatic and strategy is everything.
The battle can also be changed by being unable to see your opponent’s cards and being able to swap whole hands with them. You will end up having a deck made up of around 22 cards but the cards will be handed to you at random. I enjoyed that you didn’t have to make your own deck like Magic: The Gathering for example. It is luck of the draw and then how you play the cards is the key to winning. This was equally fantastic and frustrating at the same time.
A nice addition is that if a rival robot beats you they become your ‘arch-enemy’. This means that if you come across this type of bot again and you win, your rewards are so much more.
Insane Robots is an extremely nice chill out game. With 46 robots and over 100 augments to unlock, the game can give you a lot of cause for sinking the full 15+ hours into the campaign. Having a stats screen and reward incentives at the end of each battle makes you extremely motivated to better your skills. The menu music is extremely feel good and the soundtrack was enjoyable throughout. My only criticism is that the game can become repetitive and should be enjoyed in short bursts.
Playniac… you win this round.