Who would have thought falling down would be so fun? Tumbling end-over-end down a steep, steep slope — No, we’re not talking about a typical Slide To Play weekend bender.
Digital Chocolate’s Kamikaze Robots takes gravity, flips it upside-down and drops it on its head, providing a surprisingly addictive gameplay experience that’s part racing game, part destruction derby.
Start with a robot. Kick said robot off a mountain. Watch it roll. And that’s about all the setup Kamikaze Robots needs to get started. As the robot bounces and bumps down the mountainside, it topples end-over-end. The player’s goal is to tap the screen to control or slow the rotation in an attempt to get the robot to land on its feet. If it lands on anything else, it’ll take damage.
And that’s what puts the “Kamikaze” in Kamikaze Robots. When the Robot takes a critical amount of damage, its body will explode, sending its head hurtling toward wherever it was pointed last. Timing that explosion is often the key to winning. It can send that mechanical noggin over the finish line for extra distance and a last-second finish. It really lends new meaning to the phrase, “winning by a nose.”
There are two basic modes: Quick Play and Tournament. Quick Play is all about trying to get maximum distance, with an option for pass-and-play multiplayer for up to four players. Tournament is the game’s meat-and-potatoes, so to speak, setting up a ladder of progressively harder races against other robots. Bonus “chips” are awarded during races for rotations, height, distance and, of course winning. These can then be used to upgrade the robot in durability, jumping, rotational skill and explosion size. All upgrades apply to Quick Play, as well.
It’s hardly a deep selection of gameplay modes, and there’s no global online scoring. The lack of iPod support also hurts, given the somewhat annoying music. All minor stuff, really, and easily correctable in an update.
But where Kamikaze Robots shines is in its simplicity. It’s incredibly easy to pick up, and the progressive upgrade system provided through the tournament is enough to keep Quick Play replayable as well.
The game doesn’t it take itself too seriously — that much is evident from the giant mechanical boot at the top of the mountain — and it’s seems designed as a quick distraction from the commute, waiting in line, whatever. Either way, it pulls it off, and is a truly worthy title for even the most casual of gamers.