Brief Description

Any desires to build a combat robot? With full 3-D viewing screens, many different components to choose from and completely programmable? With online tournaments and prizes to be won?

Perhaps it is time to consider building a robot. Roboforge is such a game. The game allows you to design a robot, set up moves for that robot, program the AI, and test it. If the test is successful, you might even want to take that robot into a tournament.

The game is available to download online (30 megs) from Roboforge. Once you have downloaded the demo version of the game, you can build a robot with the help of a wizard, you can set some attack moves for your robot. You won't be able to program your robot, or test it until you have registered your copy of the game.

Game play and hints for Roboforge

Two key areas to this game. You need to learn the basics of building robots. You also need to learn how to program their IA. Once the robot enters the arena, it wins or loses according to how it was built and programmed.

Building the robot using the wizard is simple. You choose a body style and then are given a range of options to add to the basic body. All the components have trade offs. The better shield takes more power. The better AI is more vulnerable to attack. With the wizard, you get a very brief line about what trade offs each choice has.

Building the robot without the wizard is far more complex. You can select from the full range of parts for any type of robot. There are so many parts with no hints as to which might be better where. Actually attaching the parts is simple. You can rotate the robot to the best angle, then select one of the attachment points on it. Select on the part a point that will be attached. Then press a button and your new part is on the robot.

Once the robot is built, you can set up moves for it. All robots have a high attack and a low attack position. All you need to do is to add new moves, or new positions to their current ones. All you need to do is find an end position, the robot will automatically move between the start and the next position.

After programming the robot, you can test it. There is a test area in the game that allwos you to do a basic check of your robot. You can then try a tournament which is held online with other robots. Because the fights are determined by the AI and the preprogrammed moves, the outcome of the fight is not going to be determined by who has the fastest internet connection. The better robot will win.

Gripes about Roboforge

The only help is a Flash tutorial. You cannot look up a specific topic, you cannot skip to a section but must go page by page. Annoying, but won't keep you from playing the game.

When designing a robot from scratch, there ought to be a lot more information about each of the components that you can use. If that information is there, it isn't easy to find. Until you've had some practice, there are just too many options for your robot.

Conclusion about Roboforge

A different sort of strategy game. There are an infinite number of combinations that you can use to create a robot; a wide variety of bodies, IAs, weapons and shields. You have an infinite amount of credit to spend, but the relative price of the robot will affect the combat that it can enter.

Since you can download the game and try creating robots, it's certainly worth at least a quick play to see if you like it. You can spend as long as you need to build the perfect robot, there are no time limits nor critical timing issues. During the test phase of the robot, you finally find out how well you've built it.

Some final thoughts on the game.

I can see great appeal for this game. The demo version has a few fights and that let's you see how the final phase works. It will take some trial and error to learn how to build a good robot, but if you put a bit of effort into the game, you'll see dividends quickly.