App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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World building games have melded with the iOS gaming scene in ways that would have put skeptics to shame. The touch interface alone was enough to push the genre to the forefront of the marketplace, and when it was hybridized with the free-to-play pricing model, it seemed like the sky was the limit. Looking to continue in this tradition, Backflip Studios have introduced another similar release, in the form of Gizmonauts. Are the title's nuts and bolts enough to ratchet up the success, or has this screw been stripped bare, long ago?
On the heels of their tremendously successful DragonVale, it was only a matter of time before they had to follow it up. Gizmonauts follows the fairly similar formula of world crafting, only set in space and featuring a collection of robotic minions. Maybe the word minions is a bit extreme, because the game is actually sweet enough to induce cavities. The animated aesthetics further drives home the appeal to a primarily younger demographic.
Players set out to design a whole new colony in space, and then expand to fit the need of the rapidly expanding mechanical masses. Each different type of bot will need a home that is customized to its needs, which in turn helps to drive the expansion of the world. The problem is that the building of these structures takes either an extensive amount of waiting time, or actually paying to have the construction sped up. Of course, these diamonds have to be purchased using real money. If players are patient they should have no issues building out their world. Sadly, it will have to be done at a fraction of the pace of those willing to shell out.
The one interesting component that seems to step out of the traditional "world building" simulation is the ability to select robots to battle in the arena. Should the selected units come out of top, the player can reap the bounty. These funds can then be re-invested in building out the ecosystem.
Those that have previously played Backflip's previous game, DragonVale, will find a great majority of the mechanics are a fair duplicate of what is found in Gizmonauts. While the slight variations certainly add to the experience, it is not enough of a change to shake the feeling of déjà vu onset by every play session. Though the software still remains free, there isn't enough new to validate an download.