Wind Up Robots Winds You Up and Coming Back for More

Posted: December 17, 2011 in Strategy, Tower Defense

Everyday the iTunes store delivers a plethora of games which can be daunting to comb through for novices and advanced gamers alike. One game that certainly surprised me is Wind Up Robots by Soma Games. Slickly presented, it’s a charming and wildly hectic robot defense (yes, robot defense) game that will get your gears going. Casual time waster, addicting, and entertaining come to mind, but one thing is for sure, you won’t be bored.

As with any tower defense game, the objective is fairly straightforward in that you pick your troops and weapons and deploy to defend. But, Wind Up Robots is much more creative and entertaining than that. Wind Up Robots is about Zach, a little boy haunted by nightmares. With his father off to war, Grandpa Jack is the closest thing Zach has to family. The adventure begins one night when Jack unveils his latest creations to Zach—wind up toy robots that will protect and defend at all costs.

The devs spent a good amount of effort on presentation which is obvious throughout. Wind Up Robots is rendered in high quality graphics and animation which really makes the game a pleasure to look at. From audio perspective, the tracks within each stage provide just the right balance between whimsy and intensity. It may sound like a strange combination, but it certainly adds to the experience.

This game is obviously about robots, and there it doesn’t disappoint both in presentation and in gameplay. You have 7 robots that are unlocked and stored in your Robot Locker as you progress through the rooms, each with its own unique attributes: Lamplighter, Photon, Flash, Lazer, Bubba, Scanner and Flare. Photon for example is a short range unit with a light shotgun who likes tea (kidding about the tea part). Then there’s Lamplighter who is the robot nurse if you will, just without the long legs (not kidding about the long legs). Each unit has varying degrees of range, power, health and speed.

One of the neat additions in Wind Up Robots is the Store. Ever wanted to play dress up with a robot? Me neither. But the Store actually makes it fun, and it’s also here where you can customize your robotic force. As you complete stages, coins and gears are earned that can be applied to building up your mechanical friends. For those who are impatient, there’s also IAP if you want to buy additional coins or gears. Besides the usual upgrades, the Store offers a wide array of costumes—think Robotic Salvation Army—where you can deck your little guy in everything from antlers and hats to pipes and gun holsters.

Wind Up Robots has two game modes: Story and Quick Play. Story makes up the core of the game with 28 levels that take place in various rooms in a house such as Zach’s bedroom, the backyard, and even the treehouse. As you complete levels, they unlock for access in Quick Play.

With the neat stuff packed into the game, it wouldn’t be anything without decent gameplay. Gameplay is definitely not a weakness when it comes to Wind Up Robots. The monsters are varied ranging from T-Rexes and pterodactyls to rhinos and Frankenstein creatures so you do get a good mix of them. There’s even a cow so hopefully you’re not allergic to dairy. Robots have health bars so you’ll see exactly how they’re faring, and once they start breaking down, so do their powers.

It’s downright fun and engaging, and it certainly doesn’t lack in the challenge department. The game begins when you select your robots and items/tools from the Robot Locker each of which is stored in a toy chest. From there, you simply tap to select a robot and tap in the location you want him to go with which he slowly waddles over. You’ll want to think fast because you won’t even have 5 seconds to think because the game begins quickly.

As monsters are dispatched, coins are earned which you collect by tapping. Of course, there are more than enough obstacles that impact your robotic deployment whether they be books on the bed or columns in the attic. Don’t forget to check out your Trophy Room since this is where your enemy kills are mounted. It’s a nice yet eerie touch.

The touch controls are responsive, but the one area where people may have problems will be in selecting and directing robots. Even on my iPad, the units can be small on the screen, and on occasion I would select the wrong robot. Getting them to the right location can be a little imprecise as well because of the way the screen is set up. Also, because collecting coins requires you to tap on them, I sometimes found myself tapping robots and inadvertently moving them. Still, you can change the perspective and angle by dragging around the screen, and you can pinch zoom in/out.

Another area lacking is the tutorial. Although it provides the basics of placement and general directions, it doesn’t provide much guidance in terms of using various items or powerups outside of a brief description. So many times, you’re left to experiment which I don’t have to tell you is always a dangerous thing.

Wind Up Robots may not get the recognition or buzz, but it certainly deserves it. The name may deceive you, but this is a fun and challenging game that delivers lots of content and even more entertainment. Even if you don’t buy the game because of my review, buy it because it has robots.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (unique twist with robot defense that works; charming, well put together game with enough bells and whistles; concept should appeal to everyone with enough challenging gameplay for novices and gameheads alike)

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