Robocraft: Game Review

How Does a Free to Play Title Keep Players for Quitting

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When gamers here the words “free to play” it usually earns large skepticism and even fear. Games like Clash of Clans or War Thunder are indeed fun to play but they, like many other games in their genre, have a serious design problem with micro-transactions. I could talk about what to do and what not to do with these dreaded things but much of it has been said by others. What I’m here to talk about is what the game Robocraft does well. If you do want to hear about Micro-transactions you can watch this excellent video by the youtube channel Extra Credits.

If you ask anyone why they decided to quit playing a game like Clash of Clans its likely because they either got bored or reached a wall that would force them to pay an outrageous sum of money in order to progress at a reasonable pace. Robocraft is able to maintain an interesting game with a number of monthly updates that improve and change the game for everyone.

 

BotPoster_L1 (here are just a few possible vehicles a player could build)

The premise is very simple. You are given a few types of blocks some wheels and some guns. Then you build what ever you want and fight other peoples creations. There are tons of battle modes as well. From the elimination style Team Deathmatch and the league of legends style Battle Arena to the score based Pit mode. On top of that players can expect to see updates monthly with newly added content and a few changes to balance long found issues. For instance the most recent update got rid of tier leveled blocks and added the ability to paint your bot what ever combination of colors you want all for free.

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Along with a variety of matches as players progress they each unlock a wide new variety of parts to their bots. They will unlock new guns like snipers, or even healing rays for those of you who like a healing class build. Along with new types of movement components such as propellers, wings, and even legs. Even with added mapping systems and armor plates. This game rewards player progression with variety in bot creation. Few games have such a large increase in user possibilities and play variety as you continue to play. This is the kind of thing that keeps players interested. And instead of micro-transactions that just allow players to skip a useless time lock on item creation or things like that. All money will get you in this game is a higher increase in currency and XP. However this is a great thing to get if you want to put in a few bucks as you will get a big return over a few days put into playing. This game does both the two things that a free to play game must do. It keeps players interested and it avoids useless or forced micro-transactions.

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Of course sense this is a review and a review needs criticism I must point out the obvious flaws with the game. First off this game looks like poop. I mean people can defend it all they want but there are a lot of things wrong ascetically with this game. They have added higher quality textures within a few updates but no one can deny that the look of this game is not good. And with a high variety in player matches players can expect to see some unbalanced builds with each player. Some players bots are a lot stronger than others even with the tier based match making however with a 10v10 battle this does little to determine the outcome of each battle.

In all Robocraft presents an amazingly fun experience with some minor missteps but where it shines is where most other free to play games fall flat. It goes against the norm and establishes that indie games are here to stay in the gaming industry. Robocraft has been some of the most fun I’ve had with a free to play arena game in a long time and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone who enjoys user customization and competitive arena games.

Score: A

By: James Murphy

Game of the Year 2015

This year I have chosen to name Cliff Horse my favorite game of the year. Created by Notch, this game has numerous metaphors and allusions to life, humanity, isolation, and companionship. Not to mention it is one of the best horse and cliff simulators I have ever played. GG 10/10 would recommend.

 

 

Why I love Rocket League

Its Soccer with cars!

Few games in the current era can demonstrate such simplicity and yet so much enjoyment, Rocket League continues to demonstrate to me why indie games are so important in the gaming industry.

Upon many games like fallout 4 and metal gear solid 5 there has been a large amount of anticipation and hype built up upon such highly established titles. Although I was extremely exited and satisfied with both of these games having played others in the series I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in the lack of originality in pretty much any games that come out every year. Rocket League changed that. This game does what few companies are afraid to do. It tried new ideas mashed certain elements from other games together in a way no one could ever expect to be as successful as it was. With only a 5 million dollar budget this game has grossed over 5 times that. This new idea has shown that people us gamers are getting tired of the old. We want something new not just update versions of what we loved 10 years ago.

This game provides an easy concept to learn but something that has so much depth it takes hours to master. What this game is in a broad sense in soccer but with cars. All you need to know is that you control a car that can boost, jump, and do flips and whatnot, and that you need to get a soccer ball into the other teams goal. The controls are easy to learn and the concept is so simple a child could understand it. And that’s how it should be. The huge amount of controls and actions in games aren’t a bad thing but they scare away so many newcomers in the gaming industry. This is a reason the mobile market recently surpassed the income of the console market. Too much complexity is a bad thing and AAA games are starting to focus on creating a huge expensive experience that only some will enjoy. Rocket League presents something that everyone can enjoy.


AAA games tend to present so much to learn at the beginning of their games but leave little to no new content or variety as the player progresses. Something that I miss from older games is the hidden secrets or tricks you learn from repeatedly playing a level. I remember the first time I discovered the hidden 1-up mushrooms in the original Super Mario Brothers. Although the game has only about 3 character actions I am still learning things about this decades old game. This kind of variety is what keep old games fresh. I still play this 30 year old game today and still get enjoyment out of it. Rocket League is very similar. Although the concepts and controls are limited the possible maneuvers in the game adds so much variety. It took me hours to learn to jump your car at the ball to more easily aim it at the goal. After over 40 hours of playing this game I am still learning new things about it and I still have much to learn because I am no where near as good as some other players I have seen. The player community has created tournaments and local events to celebrate and demonstrate hard earned skill at this game.

This game is a diamond in the rough of a gaming industry filled with rehashes and copies. It presents a new idea filled with simplicity and depth. And that is why Rocket League is one of my favorite games of the entire year and why I think indie games are so important.

By: James Murphy