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Strategy, and randomness. Robotek app review

Robotek¬†caught me eye because it had robots, art was nice, and it looked fun. It delivers on the robots and the art excellently, but the amount of fun is up for debate. The game is set in a post-robot uprising era. You, however, control a powerful robot, and are going to take back the land. You play on a map which has various nodes to retake for humanity. If you retake one, you gain the energy of the node. If you fail the attack, you lose the energy. You can try again, though. You can buy energy if you get too low and are afraid of losing (I assume at 0 energy you’ve lost the game.) The battles have an element of strategy, with a hefty hand of randomness. There is a slot machine of sorts to choose your moves. There are three sets of dials to spin. Each set has 3 possible outcomes on each wheel. The first set is summoning robots that shoot at the bad guys and take hits before your main robot. The second set is some defensive abilities, like shields or stealing an enemy robot. The third is direct attacks, like microwave beams (microwaves bounce of metal, so not sure how they hurt robots, but oh well), and laser attacks. Getting more than one of a results makes it more effective. You decide what set is best for the current turn, then spin. You can almost always pick the first result, but the other two are random. So if you want a shield because you need a fast defense, you can get one up, but how powerful it is is determined by the other two wheels. You might only get one shield and 2 of something else, or you might get 3 shields, and get the best shield. 3 of a kind also has it’s own ability. When you spin a 3 of a kind, the result is extra powerful, and you get another turn. This is kinda neat when you are in a fix, and you get that heavy shield, or that extra powerful laser blast and decimate the enemy. The downside is, not only can this make the game easy if you manage it a few times in a row, but the enemy has the same ability. As great as it is to do a powerful move, it is equally disheartening to see yourself get ruined by chance when the enemy gets 3 of a kind. And of course, you instantly wonder if the computer is cheating. Where was that triple when I needed it, now the computer gets one soon as it is starting to lose? Even if we assume the game has a decent random number generator and the computer doesn’t cheat, it really puts a damper on the fun when randomness just obliterates all your progress. Of course, if randomness is your thing, it might not be an issue. But as a strategy fan, it weakens the game for me. I imagine that if the extra turn aspect was removed, it might swing things back into balance. On the plus, the game runs well, looks nice, and does indeed have some strategy elements, so it is certainly worth a try.

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