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Insane Robots

Insane Robots

Playniac has hacked the CCG genre.

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Conjuring up an image of the Terminator in a mental asylum, Insane Robots might just surprise you, but in a very good way. Launched into a dystopian world where humans are nowhere to be seen, you take control of your very own robot in a card-based battler by Playniac.

Initially taking control of Franklin, you are punished for being dysfunctional and thrust into a gladiator-style arena. You wander around a variety of different maps ranging from deserts to frozen tundra, moving from one hexagon to another, fighting other robots till you're the last one standing.

In a move that would make William Wallace proud, you must fight for freedom and release yourself from the shackles of this cruel existence. To achieve this aim there are eight different tournaments to play through in the main campaign, each one more difficult than the last. Eventually, you lead the robot rebellion and take on a cruel despot in a boss battle for the ages.

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There are plenty of characters to collect and play as. They all have a pretty similar backstory, but each has different abilities and augments. Interestingly, each one has their own archenemy. The maps are all procedurally-generated complete with different scrap to pick up and vending machines to spend it in. When you run into another robot on the map, then the fighting ensues.

Insane Robots

A turn-based battle system sees you having to complete attack and defend circuits with various random cards. The red cards fill the attack circuit batteries, and your numbers have to be higher than your opponent's green defence circuit if you're going to take some life away from them. At the start of the match, you'll draw three cards which can be swapped and you get one action point. As the game progresses you'll get more APs (up to six) and more cards. You need two cards to make the attack work and the same for defence.

It's all pretty simple to master. Keep building your attack and defence, launching assaults until one of the robots is on the scrapheap. To keep the game interesting, there are a variety of special cards which can be used to swap your circuits with theirs, upgrade your batteries or downgrade theirs, and even do direct damage. Hack and Glitch cards can be the difference between winning and losing.

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Now is a good time to mention that there is no deck-building or editing facility. Playniac has avoided the traps of pay-to-win in a format where often it's the one who buys the better cards who wins the game. At the same time, we couldn't help feeling that some of the strategic elements you find in games like Magic: The Gathering were sacrificed.

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Insane Robots

There's no in-depth lore or history behind the cards. Instead, the emphasis is on simple fun. Since you can't remove the weaker cards from your deck, there is also an element of luck involved. However, if you don't get the cards you want, you always have the ability to combine them to make stronger, better cards.

Playniac has created a very fun pick-up-and-play title here, one that is bright and colourful to behold. Honestly, we think that they used the prime colours and quirky graphics to perfection. The soundtrack is also pretty spot on and does a good job of helping bring this futuristic robotic hell to life.

When you're done with the main game, you can also head on over to the online battle mode, check out the local battle mode, or just take on the robots from the main game one after another. While the game gets a bit tiring if you play it for too long in one sitting, mainly because at times it feels overly simplified, it could well be one of those games that you keep coming back to over a longer period of time, even once the roughly 15-hour campaign is over.

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When all is said and done, Insane Robots is rather fun. While certain aspects may have been a touch oversimplified, on the plus side you won't waste hours customising or playing expansions to get new cards. The local multiplayer is a nice touch, especially when a lot of games neglect the idea of actually having a friend over. The different robots and the fact you can upgrade and augment them keeps things feeling fresh, and we might have sounded a bit harsh on the combat system, but it's lots of fun (although, if you're into hardcore card battlers you could find it a bit disappointing).

While there is a lack of pre-game strategy, you do have to think tactically during combat, especially against stronger enemies. This means that there is far more depth here than our first impressions had us believe. Blocking hacks and hidden cards can ensure that you can get lost for a fair few hours and, overall, we had lots of fun playing this colourful and quirky robot-themed card battler. There are several hours of pick-up-and-play action here so you should get your money's worth, and its pretty simple to master once you've got to grips with the mechanics. The lack of deck-building does let it down a little, along with the simplified combat system that gets a bit too repetitive, but if you're looking for a bit of fun from a new card-battler, it's worth checking out.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
Fun gameplay, colourful visuals, easy to pick up and play.
No deck-building, a bit too simplified at times.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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Insane Robots

REVIEW. Written by Roy Woodhouse

"Playniac has created a very fun pick-up-and-play title here, one that is bright and colourful to behold."

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