Thursday, May 29, 2014

IOS Spotlight #68: Robot Tsunami

Title: Robot Tsunami
Developer: Ground Up Games
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $4.99
True to its title, Robot Tsunami is about fending off massive hordes of mechanical foes. Armed with an array of weapons on variety arenas, you must blow away your enemies as they approach from all angles.
Perhaps it's best to first talk about what Robot Tsunami does well. It's a fun dual-stick shooter with solid controls and you have a diverse arsenal at your disposal. Even better is that each weapon has a secondary firing mode; the lightning gun fires bolts that slows enemies, the assault rifle shoots grenades, and so on. Further expanding your arsenal are the special towers and defensive items you can collect and place throughout the arena. Rocket turrets, laser walls, force fields, teleporters, and more allow for a nice range of different strategies. The robots are equally diverse, from charging fodder to explosive-wielding grunts as well as shielded enemies and other larger, better-armed foes.
However, while Robot Tsunami is enjoyable, there were several areas where I felt the game faltered. I felt that the weapons didn't seem powerful. It's a plus that they're different and have alternate firing modes, but they just felt weak and not that satisfying to use, no matter if it was a rocket launcher or flame thrower. Also the item pick-up system seemed unbalanced and unpolished. As far as I could tell, there was no way to really set where the items go, so you might activate a turret and barrier and end up with your rocket turret stuck behind a force field (which it can't fire through). On that same note, you only have a limited amount of time to grab items so if you miss one, you have to wait up to 30 or 40 seconds for new pick-ups to appear. I felt this hurt the game's pacing and its hook of shooter + tower defense, because I found myself either without items and just relying the usual tactic of running and shooting or saving items rather than using them tactically because I wanted to have some back-up if I got overwhelmed and missed a pick-up.

There also wasn't a tangible sense of progression. Playing the game unlocks new maps and challenges, and maps offer different weapons, but I felt like the game grew stagnant after an hour or two, without much to look forward to or encourage me to improve my scores. And lastly, while artistic tastes are subjective, I thought Robot Tsunami's visuals were kind of bland, compared to the vibrant and unique styles that other shooters and similar games offer.
I wouldn't say Robot Tsunami is a bad game; it does quite a few things right. It has solid controls, the gameplay itself is fun, and I liked the varied enemies and weapon modes. But I think there are some issues that hold the game back from being great.

You can purchase Robot Tsunami for $4.99.

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