Insane Robots is a cute, wonderful and addictive take on the card battling genre. The developer Playniac has achieved a thing of beauty through simplicity. Everything from the graphics to the game mechanics is kept simple and effective. This approach to not overcomplicating things means that Insane Robots is brilliant in everything it does.
Insane Robots sees you take control of Franklin a robot chef who dreams of fame and fortune. This desire to be adored by the masses is seen as a corruption in your programme so you have been declared insane and thrown into the arena where you are to battle to the death for the amusement of the Kernel.
But are you really insane? You quickly discover that you are part of a rebellion and agreed to let a mysterious character called the Spark, delete your memory and implant one 8th of a trojan horse programme into your coding in order to bring down The Kernel.
The story unfolds over 8 tournaments and progresses at a decent pace. The start of each arena gives you the next piece of the story and you must be victorious in the tournament in order to progress to the next one and keep your upgrades.
The gameplay in Insane Robots is split across two distinct parts. Firstly is the arena, a hexagonal game board that you move across in a turn-based fashion. Whilst traversing the arena you can collect money to buy upgrades, trigger encounters with multiple text options that lead to differing outcomes and of course battling other insane robots.
Each arena has its own biome such as jungle, desert, underwater and even the moon!
On top of the different challenges brought by each biome such as reduced movement over mountains, each arena also has differing environmental effects such as acid clouds that deplete health with each step taken through it, Currents underwater that move you across the board, meteor strikes that reduce health and even ring of death that sees the arena get smaller and smaller with each turn.
The second part of gameplay in Insane Robots is, of course, the card battling. This is triggered by standing next to another robot on the game board. The card battling is extremely simple, to begin with. Cards are split into sections such as attack, defence, bonus, hacks and glitches.
To be able to attack you need to complete your robots attack circuit by placing to attack cards in it. The attack is then based on the numerical value of the attack cards added together. this can be boosted by playing further attack cards on them or using hack and glitch cards to either increase your attack or reduce your opponents. The process for defence is exactly the same as attack.
When you attack (or are attacked) you must first deplete your opponent’s defence by having a higher attack value. If you do not only will the remainder of your attack be taken directly from your opponent’s health but will destroy their defence completely leaving them to complete the defence circuit or your next attack will be directed at their health.
Glitch and hack cards can also be used to boost your attack or defence as well as reduce your opponents. The tutorial explains the game extremley well and it is easy to pick up quickly. As you progress through the game you will begin to combine cards as well as buy augments to boost your power or reduce energy costs for using certain cards.
These augments are introduced so well that they enable you to customize your robot in so many individual ways that improve the game but doesn’t over complicate it. This customisation option also screams for online battles which thankfully the developer has included. Expect lots of replayability that ranked PvP will definitely bring.
Insane Robots has a wonderful colourful palette. Bright, striking and contrasting colours pull you in instantly and the arenas whilst simple are perfect for the setting. Nothing is over complicated in Insane Robots. If it works they keep it. No need to improve and break something that fits well.
There is a vast variety of robot enemies to fight and some to even unlock as you progress. The only thing I would criticise is the robot voices. They are truly horrific to the point of grating. I have no idea how Playniac could get so many ingredients so right and then get the voices so so bad.
Insane Robots is a fantastic twist on the card battling genre that maintains the fun, challenge and tactics of a card battler whilst avoiding the pitfalls of over-complicating things.
It is a wonderful introduction to the genre for young children and his enjoyable for adults as well. The twist in the story at the end of the 15-hour campaign ensures plenty of replayability. Also, the variety of robots with unique starting bonuses as well upgrading each gives you plenty to do and will keep you coming back.
I am sure the ranked PvP will be a hit but at the time of writing this review, I was unable to try that mode out. All in all, Insane Robots will provide hours of fun and enjoyment and priced the price of £15.99 on PSN seems to be the perfect price point for a game that is simple and fun but offers so much.
Overall Score – 8/10