There's nothing more satisfying than crushing your pathetic foes with a ruddy great mech, and Return Of The Bots shrinks this concept down to a dinky scale. When voracious enemies infest your computer hardware, PC World (or whoever it is) counters the attack with a mini-mech of its very own.
Players will take control of one of the titular Bots - that still tower over their puny adversaries - and attempt to purge the infestation with extreme prejudice. Levels all correspond to the same basic formula: destroy a number of microchips to unlock the next arena and eventually face off against a massive boss. Tight time limits make the levels increasingly frantic, and the solid twinstick (twin-virtual-thumbsticks, if you want to get technical) mechanics do a fine job of providing tight aiming and movement.
Return Of The Bots is basically just another repetitive twinstick shooter when you get down to brass tacks... but it sure is pretty.
The visuals are the first thing you'll notice. Return Of The Bots looks absolutely incredible thanks to sharp, polished graphics and cohesive art design. Arenas and levels pulse with colour, and the robots themselves are beautifully detailed. Each Bot looks distinct, deadly and packed with all manner of pistons, panels and lights that really help root you in the chunky, clunky game world.
As a fan of shooters and all things mech-related, Return Of The Bots pushes most of my buttons. Unfortunately, it also manages to rub me up the wrong way with a couple of its design decisions.
The close-up camera is designed to showcase your lusciously detailed robot to advantage, but the tight angle makes it easy to get bushwhacked by enemies and bosses. The slow movement speed also means that pushing through moving lasers and other obstacles a bit of a pain... and don't get me started on unnecessary time limits!
Credits can be used to purchase a handful of new (and extremely powerful) bots, it's a shame that players can't upgrade and deck out their mechs with new weapons and hardware. It's a missed opportunity that would have greatly lengthened the experience beyond its nine missions.
Ultimately, Rise Of The Robots is also a fairly short and repetitive app - but this arguably comes with the twinstick territory. Nine levels and two challenge arenas will take an hour or so to complete, and unlocking all the robots requires some extra grinding, but it all comes down to whether you have room for another twinstick shooter in your life.
Personally, I do.
- Sweet visuals
- Solid core gameplay
- The Bots are really, really cool
- Formulaic and repetitive
- Camera zoom controls desperately needed
- Middling value (though hey, it's only 59p, right?)
Summary: Return Of The Bots is a solid and enjoyable shooter that isn't quite as advanced as its hardware. If you love twinstick shooters (and big stompy robots), you'll be in seventh heaven.
Developer: Blur Coast
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later
Price: £0.59 - App Store