Robothorium draws inspiration from several different tactical games to create a unique blend of turn-based, tactical gameplay. Players will lead a team of robots through a revolution in a world where they are fighting for independence from humans. Five factions are vying for dominance and the player’s choice impacts the outcome of the story.
There’s a lot to love about Robothorium for anyone who appreciates tactical games, but several bugs mar the experience.
The basic gameplay of Robothorium borrows ideas from games like XCOM and Darkest Dungeon to create something new. Players lead a team of five robots fighting a revolution against humanity for independence. The story is pretty generic and the factions don’t have as big an impact as you would expect, but underneath all of this is a solid tactical experience.
You can mix and match the robots on your team from three different classes including assault, defense, and support.
Each robot has a generic attack, three skill slots, and an ultimate that can be used when exploring dungeons. There are a total of six skills for each robot arch-type, so players have some choice in how each bot functions.
Managing Your Team
The skill-switching aspect of leveling your bots is not really explained well in the game. You can buy new skills for each robot by spending 50 rez (the game’s currency) on the upgrade screen. I didn’t discover this option until I was around level 7, which is nearly halfway through the game.
Robot have a talent screen that can modify their abilities with extra buffs or debuffs. Managing buffs and debuffs in combat is the bulk of gameplay, so synergizing robot abilities with new talents to create teams is very fun.
Dungeons are randomly generated with different objectives each time the player comes back from a mission. Along the way you’ll find items to open, traps to avoid, and decisions to make that will affect your faction standing.
Each dungeon has a danger level that can be impacted by the decisions you make as you explore. If you fail to disarm a trap, extra enemies may appear in the dungeon. Killing cyborgs will cause the CyberRights faction to hate you, etc.
There are faction triggers littered around the dungeon. Each action players take when exploring has some impact, but the game doesn’t do a good job of explaining that. You get no indication of what your actions will do before you perform them, which is a shame for anyone who wants to side with a specific faction.
I came upon a military console that I could download information from and send it to one of two faction members. However, these faction members were listed by the leader’s first name without any details about their factions. It basically becomes a coin-toss as to which faction you will support.
The barebones nature of the UI and the lack of consideration for controls makes the game feel like a PC Early Access title. The developers just released the 1.1 update that addresses some balance changes and bug fixes, but there is much more to address.
The story of Robothorium is set in 2052 in the future when an advanced artificial intelligence is implanted in robots across the world. It results in the rapid increase of technology and society, but soon robots are protesting for their independence.
Players take on the role of S.A.I.A, an artificial intelligence created to give robots hope. You will make decisions and side with five different factions as you play. The story unravels in missions with nice character artwork. There’s no voice work here which is a shame, it would have done a lot to bring the whole experience together.
The story is basic but serviceable for a game like this. It isn’t going to wow you if you read sci-fi, but its interesting enough to keep you engaged. The factions you can support are different enough and you gain perks as you become friendly with them.
The five factions all have different goals. Some are diametrically opposed to one another, so doing something for one will hurt relations with the other. The story changes depending on your choices here, so its worth choosing a faction to support and getting all the way to rank 3 for perks.
Once you reach a certain point in the game you unlock the crafting system where you can create armor sets for your robots.
These include set bonuses that modify how certain skills behave. Set bonuses are available at two pieces and four pieces, and are meant for a specific class of robot. Some of the set bonuses are very good for their robot class, so the gear is definitely worth pursuing for your teams.
Crafting just requires having a bunch of different ingredients on hand to start. Players get a few green blueprints to start with and can find more as they progress through the randomly generated dungeons.
You can also dismantle common and rare items you don’t need for their subsequent crafting components. There’s a black market available in the game too, but every time I tried to access it the game crashed. I have no idea what it does or why you should use it, which is unfortunate.
The controls of Robothorium are pretty clear for the most part, though there is some jankiness here and there. Viewing item rewards after completed missions only accepts left and right inputs. Sometimes the game seems to lag after a button is pressed, too.
Fighting battles while exploring is pretty clear as each ability is either a single attack, a line attack, or an area of effect. One annoying aspect of bursting a particular enemy down is the cursor resets after each turn. So if you’re trying to kill a monster on the bottom left you have to re-select it each time. That’s a minor annoyance, but these add up to make the game tedious when controlling it.
Switching between the tabs on the main game screen is also problematic. During my entire play through I had to ignore the Black Market tab because selecting it would crash the game.
The interface is very obviously designed for a mouse and keyboard in several areas. The mouse cursor occasionally pops up when moving through the menus, but its not usable at all. All of this just leaves me feeling like this game didn’t receive a very good port from PC.
The graphical design for the game is very cohesive and cyberpunk. Each class of robot looks different enough. You can customize them by changing gear, which is a surprise for an RPG from a development team of this size.
There are a few different combat areas, but most dungeons look like a sterile lab setting. A few graphical glitches during combat show how these rooms differ. Ultimately the graphics are serviceable but nothing special.
Once you have seen all six enemy types, the only variation you will find is in bosses when you encounter them. The lack of diversity in enemy types and backgrounds makes the game seem to drag on as you get closer to level 20.
The soundtrack is my favorite part of Robothorium. The tactical gameplay and buff management is fun, but after a while I found myself getting bored with fights. However, I wish I could purchase the soundtrack on Bandcamp and take it with me.
Fans of EDM music will love the cyberpunk, synthwave feel of the soundtrack. It fits the theme of the game very well and I found myself humming several songs even while not playing the game.
The Not So Good
Publisher provided the key for our review.
Verdict – Wait For A Sale
There’s a lot to like about Robothorium in my review, but the bugs and crashing really mar experiencing the game. I got frustrated with it after several crashes. Hardcore tactics fans will like what the game has to offer, but until the developers fix it you should wait for a sale.
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