Version Reviewed: 1.5
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Warbot Assault is a good old-fashioned brawler - a classic style that’s taken a beating of its own in recent years. To compensate, this game tries introducing some radical new structural ideas. Unfortunately, they ultimately end up bringing out the worst of the genre along with the best.
The most immediately striking thing about Warbot Assault is its visual quality. The game fuses United States vs. Soviet Union Cold War militarism with Japanese giant robot conventions for a killer, instantly cool look. And if the concept wasn’t awesome enough, it’s brought to life through amazingly detailed and fluid 2D animation. Punching and kicking feels like conducting a living cartoon. This is the logical, dreamlike end point of injecting archaic brawlers with modern technology.
However, it is still a somewhat archaic brawler. Players walk through linear rooms unleashing flurries of attacks on enemy fodder. They can strike high or low as well as use jumping or dashing attacks. Foes hit hard though, so properly timing blocks is crucial. Along with their regular moves, players can also occasionally summon an assistant to join the fray - almost like a partner in a Marvel vs. Capcom game. And when the time is right, activate justice mode for unstoppable barrages. But as exciting as these ideas sound, it all ends up being a lot of empty, destructive noise. Plus, the slightly sluggish controls dull the tactile satisfaction.
But Warbot Assault’s biggest problem comes from its progression system. Instead of a traditional campaign, the game uses a kind of PvP system. Players start a battle, take out a room full of enemies, and then enter a boss fight against another player’s mech. Using new parts earned from victories like claw arms and armored heads, the goal is to create a fighter no one else can stand against. However, this means that pretty much the entire game is a series of short, mostly similar battles in small, mostly similar corridors. Brawlers are often criticized for being repetitive, but this takes it to a new level.
Like its glorious giant robots, Warbot Assault is very big, very beautiful, but also very hollow. Its war starts hot, but turns cold too quickly.