Roboforge is one of those unique games that needs to be played in order to be understood: It's one part brute force, and four parts brain aching strategy. Simply put, Roboforge is robot design workshop meets Battlebots. It challenges players to build unique robots in the Roboforge workshop and later go online to enter robot combat tournaments with cash prices. The catch? The higher the potential cash payout in the tourney, the more it costs to enter. That means you must have a mighty fine robot if you want to compete for the big green, so building your robot is half the fun. Or at least it should be.
Note: For some undetermined reason, I wasn't able to get online tournament play up. So I'll be making my judgment on the single player elements of gameplay, or lack thereof.
The mechanics of the game are complex and exceedingly difficult to learn. I found myself constantly building and rebuilding my robot only hours later to figure out it had clipping problems when I tried to rotate it. Half an hour later, I would fix the problem adequately enough to start programming my robot's AI, but the AI implementation system is so user unfriendly that it is extremely difficult to navigate. After another half hour of playing with the AI, it's time for me to test my killing machine. The problem is, my killing machine can't really kill a that much. It couldn't even kill a dummy robot that was standing still. All in can do is walk back and forth and flail its arms up and down. It's back to the drawing board, three hours of my time wasted.
To the game's credit, it gives you a lot of options that go into the design of you robot. I guess the programmer's ambition was for every player to have a completely unique robot. They succeeded -- almost too well. In the design stage alone there are hundreds of mechanical choices, not to mention aesthetic ones as well, and with the scant help and documentation that comes with the program, you're guaranteed to be overwhelmed. You'll be lucky if you even get a workable robot within your 8th hour of playing. Now that I think about it, after several hours of playing I still haven't created a robot that can hit even a stationary target, let alone a moving computer or human enemy. There should be more documentation and a well made tutorial that shows what makes a good robot.
Unlike Battlebots, the fighting is totally automated. You give your robot a few sets of AI commands before the match, and pray that you didn't mess up and program your creation incorrectly. If you did, you bot will run around aimlessly while its being hacked up by some spinning wheel of death computer generated test AI.
The Bottom Line: A good concept killed by bad execution. Less options in robot design and more focus on good core gameplay would have really helped this game.
Second Thoughts: I probably would half knocked the game if it had too few choices in building your robot, so I guess I should give them some credit. Also, I guess the online cash tournaments do add a certain dynamic element to the game. I mean if I can win money playing your game of course I'm going to be motivated to play, and maybe I'd even start liking it. If you want to find out what Roboforge is all about go to www.roboforge.com and click on download for info on how to get the trial version.
Second Thought Rating: 4/10