Broken Bots Hands-on Preview: Johnny Five is Alive
Broken Bots is a top-down online multiplayer shooter complete with retro-styled art and pick-up-and-play controls from a two man development team known as Bunnycopter. The game is similar to other multiplayer shooters in terms of modes and objectives, but rather than just having weapons to foil the enemy team, bots can be tampered with to make them malfunction, so there are more strategies to be had than just zipping around on tank treads and blowing the competition to bits.
The bots themselves are what Short Circuit’s Johnny Five would’ve looked like if he got his own video game back in the 80’s, albeit with a deadly arsenal of weapons to take out enemy bots like a T-1 from Terminator Salvation. Think Rambo Johnny Five, which would make for an awesome movie the more I think about it.
Anyway, you play as one of the bots on a team in the standard multiplayer shooter modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, CTF, and KoH. The objectives of these modes are exactly like you’ve experienced in other online titles, but in addition to avoiding enemy fire, you must also be prepared for bot malfunctions that the other team can enable by attacking a special node on the map. You could be cruising along with a stolen flag as your cargo only to be foiled by a massive slow down that prevents you from capturing the flag. On the other hand one of your teammates could try to have the enemy bots malfunction by having their controls reversed, so down becomes up, up becomes down and so on and so forth.
These unexpected malfunctions truly do help to change up the pace of play in the rather standard multiplayer modes that Broken Bots offers. During my time with the game I played a CTF match and used the malfunctions multiple times to try and alter the outcome, while also getting plagued with malfunctions by the enemy team. There’s nothing like stealing a flag and having your controls reversed while trying to make a hasty retreat. Your brain definitely takes a bit to adjust to these malfunctions, which helps to give Broken Bots a unique feel when compared to similar titles.
Currently, the game will allow for up to 16 players to do battle online in teams of eight. While talking with the Bunnycopter team they expressed that they’d love to bump that number up to 64, which we all agreed would be absolute mayhem, but at this time the design of the available levels doesn’t allow for that many bots on screen at once. Bunnycopter did confirm that the engine and network code could easily handle that many players, which is mightily impressive, but the whole lack of larger maps is why they’ve shied away from it at this point. Having more players definitely creates intense pandemonium, which is the state Broken Bots shines in.
The game is currently on Steam’s Greenlight platform searching for approval to make it to the big leagues of Steam. You can also download the beta for free for PC and Mac to get some hands-on time with it before you submit your vote on Steam. The full game can be pre-ordered for $9.99, which is a fair price for the action you can get while playing Broken Bots. It definitely lends itself well to gamers searching for an easy multiplayer shooter to learn, that also takes a bit of strategy and skill to master. Head on down past the break to see it in action!
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