Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Windows 10
It’s been almost exactly a year since we first got our hands on Robocraft: Infnity at E3 in Los Angeles. The game in its demo form teased us with a few robots, controls that felt intuitive, and fun, team-based and solo battles with other robots of different types. Now that it’s reached digital store shelves, we can say with certainty that the final version of the title remains a fun, chaotic romp of bricks, lasers, and robots.
Robocraft: Infinity is (slightly) the same game as Robocraft on Steam, except that it was (re)designed from the ground up specifically for the Xbox One and Windows 10. The folks at Freejam decided to take this route to take full advantage of Microsoft’s hardware as well as to redesign the specifications for the in-game controls and adapt them to the Xbox One controller.
The game starts with a brief description that explains why everyone is creating robots to battle with. There’s an element/resource called Protonium that is in low supply and that everyone needs. This premise becomes the basis for one of the game’s modes.
The game then continues with a quick tutorial on how to create a robot followed by a trip to the test arena. Robot creation is simple: players use a gun to place various items from their inventory and shape their creation plus a second gun to paint the robots with. From there, it’s a simple selection of one of the half-dozen, pre-made robots to jump into the 5 v 5 Team Deathmatch or 5 v 5 Battle Mode.
The two main modes are the self-explanatory Team Deathmatch mode, which pits two teams of five versus each other until one side reaches 25 kills or comes closest in a 10-minute round. The second is the Battle Mode where each team fights for control of protonium.
Each side has a base where they are drilling for protonium and doubles as a respawn point. Rather than play for kills, each side’s objective is to control three points on a map until their orbital weapon reaches 100 percent and destroys the enemy base with a direct attack. The mode gives the losing side a chance to even things out by even the score if the losing side destroys a protonite core that appears only twice during each round.
What makes these modes fun is winning them with a custom-designed robot, which is the meat of the game.
“Our CEO Mark Simmons is a huge fan of UGC games, so he wanted to create a game that reminded him of LEGO,” explained Louie Dellinger of Freejam at E3 last year. “It’s obviously something that everyone played when they were a kid that allows you to build robots, but he also wanted to create a game when you can take those robots into a battle. That was the original idea behind the early Robocraft. It’s obviously evolved over time.”
Creating robots is easy enough. All it takes is a few leaps into the collected inventory and the press of a button to start laying down blocks, weapons, and other items. The game also allows players to duplicate other robots and edit them, including the default ones included in the game, an option that starts a player with the basic movement-type shape (hover, mech, etc.) and the option to start from scratch on a blank canvas.
The robots can move in a variety of ways thanks to numerous types of wheels, treads, rotors, thrusters, and propellers. Weapon types are mainly laser and plasma types with others interspersed in the mix plus there are shields, armor, EMP modules, etc.
The title uses an ingenious way of tracking health that also balances the gameplay. It does so by counting individual blocks as units of health. Each block also costs 1 CPU and robots are limited to a maximum CPU size. Weapon and movement blocks will also cost CPU at varying rates depending on their type and size. There are also a number of boosts based on the amount of cube types used in building a robot.
For example, a robot built mainly of health cubes will receive a health boost in order. A smaller robot packed with weapons will receive a weapon boost. All of these options play into balancing the creation of each robot, its potential type, and its performance on the battlefield. Each type includes an advantage along with a disadvantage.
Damage is visibly shown during combat with a percentage number along with weapons and blocks flying off your robot. It’s hilarious to see your mech get blown to bits down to a single robotic leg hopping away in terror in order to hide and regenerate back to 100% health after many seconds of inactivity.
Players can also upload their creations to The Factory (a.k.a. the download area of the game) where they can share their creations with other Robocraft players. I’ve spotted a few creative ones such as a mech shaped by Knuckles and a Star Destroyer on wheels.
Players progress through the game by earning XP, which also provides loot crates for additional items and in-game currency. The only time real-life currency is exchanged is for the initial purchase of the game and to purchase cosmetic option loot crates, which are entirely optional and not necessary for gameplay, similar to Overwatch’s cosmetic customization system.