ROBOTHORIUM (EARLY ACCESS)
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on September 18, 2018
During this year's Gamescom, we had an appointment with the amazing guys of Goblinz Studio, who traveled all the way to Cologne in order to show their upcoming game, a futuristic turn-based RPG that goes by the name of Robothorium. Although turn-based combat is usually not my forte, I actually had a lot of fun playing the demo. So naturally, I was very curious to know now what happens next.
At the moment, Robothorium is in Early Access on Steam. The story revolves around the daily "life" of various robots. These sentient mechanical masterpieces are very important in the lives of humans but, as one may suspect, not all humans treat them with the respect they deserve. So, the robots decided to stand up for their rights in the form of a peaceful demonstrations. Being the short-sighted creatures of habit they are, the humans respond as is to be expected; with violence. Now, a new group of robots enters the stage; a group which is specifically designed to help other robots on their way to a peaceful existence with equal rights.
I played this game together with my crewmember and brother Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee. That is, we were both playing our own game, since it's not possible to play together (or competing against each other for that matter) right from the start. Now, that did not pose a problem for us though; we can shout at each other via Discord, so we both knew what the other was doing. More importantly, we can amuse each other with our very own voice casting and battle cries!
The first thing that popped into Michael's mind while playing the first level, was the term "Dungeon Crawler" and that is actually a great and very accurate way to describe Robothorium. You enter a level, call a dungeon if you like, and you have to make your way through it while surviving a number of challenging fights. In every level you'll find new items to use and new characters that can join your party. This way, you can build, fine-tune and upgrade your party completely to your liking. Luckily, the developers themselves agree with Micheal, as they describe Robothorium as a sci-fi dungeon crawler on their website.
We start our adventure by choosing a difficulty. The main difference between the difficulty settings is whether robots are put back in your robot pool after they are destroyed in battle or whether they are lost forever. So if you choose the beginners difficulty, which is called Rebellion, your robots are put back in your team when they are destroyed and the enemies you encounter on the battlefield are of a weaker variety. The medium difficulty is called Insurrection. In this mode, if your robots are destroyed, you'll need to repair them before you can use them again. If you're very brave, you can choose the hardcore difficulty called Revolution, where fallen robots are permanently destroyed and you lose the game if your whole team is defeated. In this mode, your enemies are a lot more powerful. Michael was braver then me and choose Insurrection, while I was going for Rebellion.
After the introduction, it's time to select robots for your party. The robots are very cool and clearly have a personality of their own. This is shown in the menu, while selecting your party of robots. While checking the stats of the robots, you might notice the category Personality. This particular category shows the personality of a robot, summed up in just one word, like poet or coward. Their personality is most noticeable while in battle, as your robots will shout out phrases that totally fit the described personality for that specific robot. I started with a well-balanced robot called W.A.R., the healing character called R.E.P.A.I.R. and the assault type robot, S.C.O.U.T. This turned out to be a very descent party for the first couple of levels. And I don't know why, but W.A.R. looks kind of cute to me!
The combat in Robothorium is, as I've mentioned earlier, turn based. You have several attacks you can use and you always need to keep your eyes on your overload bar. Most skills overload the robot's generator, but the basic attack of each robot reduces overload. So you have to find the balance between using both skill types, because when a fighter reaches 100% overload, he is stunned and stays unprotected for one turn. You can imagine that this could mean the death of a robot and, depending on the difficulty you have chosen, you don't want that to happen. Well, actually, you never want this to happen, but especially at the higher difficulty setting, this could have serious repercussions! My tactic (which I learned from the developers during the Gamescom meeting. Thanks guys!) was to check the stats of my opponents and start attacking the healing character first. It worked of course, but the enemies will become stronger as you reach the higher levels. In other words, think ahead, plan your steps and always, always keep an eye on your overload meter. I sort of forgot this once and my robot overloaded right at the point of winning the fight. Believe me, you don't want victory slipping through your hands at the very last moment!
Even between missions the fun doesn't stop; there is actually a lot to do! In the Hangar, you be able to buy and sell robots. In the category Equipment you can change equipment and spend your talent points to upgrade your skills. You can change your robots' equipment to increase their efficiency with the items you find during a level. Items are kept in the inventory: equipment, consumables and components. While progressing through the game, you can unlock the Black Market, where you can sell the items you don't need or want and where you can even buy new items. Another great feature is the Workshop; here you can use your component items and create challenges for other players to enjoy. And let's not forget the Arena, which offers you an online arena system, complete with matchmaking and rankings.
We had so much fun playing Robothorium! It's an awesome game, which is easy to learn and offers you a more than decent challenge. The game progresses at a nice and steady pace and the menu on the bottom of your screen, which contains the attacks you can use, is very easy to use. Robothorium has all the ingredients needed to be a very cool game for fans of the genre! So now, if you'd excuse me, I have a robot revolution to win!