148Apps Network Post
Developer: Kylinworks
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.01
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

As someone who has a bit of a thing for both heavy customization and robots, I tend to be a sucker for games that include both those things. Roblade is certainly another blow aimed at my Achilles Heel, but a few performance and interface issues cause it to veer slightly off target. I’d say it ends up hitting somewhere around the shin area.

Roblade is a robot-themed arena fighter offering up a vast number of options for those with a big enough imagination. After an incredibly brief (and somewhat seat-of-the-pants) tutorial players are left to their own devices. They can stick with the two stock bots, switching between them as the combat lineup demands and upgrading or otherwise adjusting them with earned coins as needed, or creating their own custom engine of destruction from the ground up. And when I say “from the ground up” I mean it. Parts used to create these fighting machines don’t come as “arms” or “legs,” but rather separate and individual pieces with a series of anchor points. Once a robot is cobbled together movement and combat animations can be created, which is just as in-depth and time-consuming as the initial construction phase can be. Once the project is complete they can take to the arena and (hopefully) turn their opponents to scrap, thus earning more coins for more parts, etc.

Character creation doesn’t get much more involved than this. Physically building a robot piece by piece is certainly a complex task, but it’s also very rewarding. Especially when it all comes together. The only problem is that the actual construction process is a bit more difficult than it has to be.

Thanks to a somewhat fussy interface, building one’s dream killing machine can be more of a chore than a joy. Parts aren’t categorized at all, save separating weapons from generators from everything else, which makes the simple act of replacing a head feel rather daunting. Once limb construction and positioning comes into play it gets even more complicated. Tasks such as these need a smooth and intuitive interface, which Roblade just doesn’t have.

I see vast amounts of potential in Roblade, especially once creative members of the iOS community start playing around with the creation tools, but unless the core building interface gets a fairly major overhaul it’s bound to remain inaccessible to less diehard enthusiasts. There’s certainly a lot to love, or at least find interesting, but getting to it all can feel like more trouble than it’s worth.


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