Robot Crusher Battle Ballz is a fast paced, action packed take on classic pinball with a rough and ready Sci-Fi style. It boasts a striking art design, explosive skill based battles, and an extremely satisfying ‘CRUSHING’ feature that lets you pound vanquished robot foes into mechanical pancakes. It makes for a gratifying arcade experience and a very impressive debut for the rather peculiarly named, Big Boy Pants Studios.
Judging by the name, the small New Zealand based outfit doesn’t take itself too seriously but it definitely took a great deal of care and effort in crafting its very first game, as we shall show…
Creating the world of Robot Crusher Battle Ballz for mobile
Heavily inspired by the arcade games of their youth like Speed Ball 2, studio founder Jason Metcalfe explains that the aim with Robot Crusher “was to create a fast paced, explosive, robot crushing sport for mobile, that was of similar existence to games I loved as a kid. The concept for the game involved a fully automated battle track, with a surrounding crowd. Two robots would battle head to head until there was a winner.The concept was to fire 3m wrecking balls down the battle track, that would then go into one of 4 lanes, or off the track entirely if you gave it too much power. The first robot to clear their 4 lanes would win the round.”
With the concept for the Robot Crusher set, the team needed to decide upon the style and theme for its high octane pinball game. For this they’d fall back on their passion for science fiction, making the future of 2742, and its robot protagonists are perfect accompaniment to the game. This turned out to be a particularly adroit choice as it allowed the game’s lead artist, Felix Riano, to demonstrate his superlative artistic skills and flair for design.
Robot Crusher’s visuals are among its strongest assets, but the grungy, rough around the edges, designs on display in the game today could have been very different. Metcalfe went on to explain that when the project started, the game’s original lead artist had to depart two thirds of the way into production.
Besides the loss of a key team member, the studio had also lost valuable time as it would be impossible to continue the existing art style. Luckily, after searching for a new artist, the team would chance upon the very talented Felix Riano, which would turn out to be a huge positive after the developer’s original misfortune.
Jason Metcalfe offered a huge amount of praise and gratitude for the very talented Felix, saying “Felix’s art style had a polished, yet rough feel about it that we really liked, and knew would be a perfect fit for the rough tough world we were trying to create. Felix really grasped the concept and after sharing some of his initial concepts we were happy to say the least. Felix kept the world advanced, but at the same time also made sure it featured a rough beaten up edge to it. This was shown in his robot design that took us on a journey through creating Jun-Ko, a robot made of scrap parts, through to more advanced robots and aliens, such as ZLOG from Mars.”
If you’ve taken the time to appreciate the visuals we’ve showcased so far, then we’re sure you’ll agree that the devs really struck gold in finding their replacement artist. We weren’t able to pry any of the original designs out of Big Boy Pants, but it’s hard to imagine they could look any more impressive than the work that’s on display in the finished game.
Besides the visual treats on offer, Robot Crusher Battle Ballz also has a fantastic array of sound effects and VFX that make it a real sensory treat for hardcore arcade gamers.