Reviews

Insane Robots Review – Card Games Reinvented

Developer and publisher Playniac have graced the card battling genre with their back to basics approach Insane Robots. Playniac have stripped away the deck building and card collecting mechanics die-hard fans of the genre love in order to open Insane Robots doors to a wider audience. From this writers’ play through experience, it was a great move.

Insane Robots keeps the competitive play intact and reworks tried and tested mechanics to provide a fresh and strategic experience with every match. Starting with the games ‘Campaign Mode’, players are put through a series of tournaments with other robots to test their ‘Metal’. The match is set on a series of connected hexagon shaped tiles which hold various buff, de buffs and loot, to mix up the gameplay.

RoboDEATH!

Players can initiate a battle simply by touching another robot in a PG invasive manner. This begins a duel, the games core gameplay system. In each duel players have a deck of 22 cards (or tokens as they are called in game) along with four slots to fill; with two for attack and two for defence. The brilliance of Insane Robot is that every player and opponent hold the same cards, just in a different order.

Playniac have managed to balance out gameplay with a few different mechanics. For starters, attack values on cards have to be higher than the opposing players defence card rating, otherwise their attacks will be nullified. With this mechanic and the same rotation of cards, games are in danger of inviting a stalemate of sorts.

Screen Shot 09-18-17 at 05.30 PM 010

“Hehe, Bears and Honey Combs”

Hack This

Hack and Glitch cards come to the rescue in this situation and in general play. These special cards mix up gameplay and keeps gameplay flowing and provides balance. For example, a Hack card can buff one stat and debuff another to gain an offensive or defence advantage when it is needed most. Another example would be Swap Cards, which trade player and opponent stats to turn the tide of battle. One won’t ruin the gameplay and meta by confirming every single angle and card, but what this reviewer will say is that he didn’t become tired of battles.

Another mechanic in play is Augments. Each of Insane Robot’s 46+ protagonists have their own set of Augments which provide power ups outside of battle which manipulate the power of cards in various ways. Yet another way in which Insane Robots keeps simplistic card battling accessible and fresh.

robots1

“Punning hell fire!”

Offline > Online

In Quick Battle mode, players are provided with a bog standard robot with an ever increasing difficulty that eventually cages the player into a difficulty cage. One didn’t find this very entertaining for long. As for the online I could only pair up with a couple of players for a duel, however one of them rage quit so this reviewer is unable to provide an in depth opinion on online play.

Graphically, we won’t be seeing this game blowing the chip on an Xbox One X any time soon, but it does provide clear and crisp cell shaded textures with 0 frame drops. Let’s not beat around the bush readers, if anyone hates on a card battler title for its graphics they probably need a good court marshal and a dishwasher.

The SFX and soundtrack are inspired by Saturday morning Japanese imported kids’ TV such as Power Rangers. It’s nice, cheesy and adds to the games accessibility and light hearted aesthetic. It’s another tool that Playniac uses to entice a casual audience to their majestic approach to the card game genre.

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“Wish they had a bloody Duracell card…”

Verdict:

Graphics and Presentation: 4.5

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 5

Overall Score: 4.5/5

Insane Robots is a breath of fresh air for casual fans of card battles in video games. Whilst the storyline isn’t much to ponder over, it doesn’t matter. Insane Robots is a down to Earth approach to the genre and it doesn’t get old. Let’s hope a meta game develops and more players flood the online mode.

Platforms: Xbox One X (Reviewed), PlayStation 4 and Steam

Release Date: 13/07/2018

Price: £15.99 (eShop)

Publisher: Playniac

Developer: Playniac

Pegi Rating: 7+

Review copy provided by publisher

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