(Impressions) Gladiabots

I stopped coding my game a little while back due to an unforeseen circumstance. Something about Gladiabots was super intriguing to me and having put a few hours into it I believe I know what it is. Gladiabots is basically Construct 2: The Game (Now with robots!). (In case you miss the subtlety, I was using Construct 2 to make my game.) The coding is done with preprogrammed options and you arrange them in order of how you want your individual robots to behave and when. Or at least that’s the basic idea. Is it worth your time? Let me break it down for you.

If you ever watched any form of robot fighting show, Gladiabots will look instantly “familiar”. You take your team of preprogrammed robots into an arena and have it out with another team’s robots and hope for the best. In the shows I watched, it was less “hope” though as they controlled the robots and the carnage ensued. Here, you set up the program for your robot to follow and then let it loose. You can test out your A.I. in a sandbox mode before taking it to the arena against other people’s team to see if you’ve made a mistake. I’ve a have a few ideas that ended poorly with robots simply following fellow teammates to walking straight to their own deaths. (The coding seemed so good at the time though…)

There are four types of robots you can deploy for your team: Assault, Tank, Sniper and Shotgun. The Assault is your regular, all-around good mech. There’s nothing flashy here, but he’ll still get the job done. The Tank is the one with all of the health, the mini-gun that takes a while to setup along with slower movement. The sniper feels about as quick as the Assault, but it’s accuracy is higher at longer ranges and while it may shoot slower, it does a good chunk of damage. The Shotgunner is fast and nimble. It’s not as fast as you may want it to be at times, but it can scurry away fairly quickly. It’s damage is mostly felt up close, but still feels weak compared to the rest of the mechs. They each have their pluses and minuses and you can only have multiples of the Assault on your team. There won’t be teams with four Snipers or Tanks.

I’m not sure that Gladiabots will be for everybody. There can be a bit of a simplicity to the game, but after your initial poking through what there is to offer, you will either be inspired by the crazy amounts of possibilities or bewildered and put off. It may not be in a negative sense, but there is a lot to take in here. While the programming chunks are all in English, there are a ton of options and the ability to invert them and a ton of variables to work around. I mention Construct 2 in the intro because Gladiabots really does remind me of that coding software in the simplicity. Even though it’s simple, you can make something incredibly complex and that’s also where the beauty of Gladiabots shows too.

Yeh… it can get pretty crazy.

For those willing to invest the time it will no doubt take to gain a familiarity with all of the options given, there will be some pretty gnarly competition. Each player starts in the Silver League (I’ve since moved down after almost ranking up and then hitting a line of loses). I’ve seen many different types of team types already and I’ve seen some that do something similar to what I was trying to do and do it better. I loved taking the “Trinity” approach of having a Tank and some DPS robots (heals would be retreating for the shields to recharge). That can be done way better than I’ve attempted no doubt. However, I came across a team of simple DPS Assault droids that simply walked up to me and shot me in the face and then collected the orbs afterwards. It was rather bothersome to realize that all of my strategizing up to that point was shut down by an enemy with such a blunt strategy.

Further Reading on Gladiabots: Facebook / Official Page / Steam / Twitter

Gladiabots is good, to be sure. The difficulty ceiling for some may prove to be a turn off, but there is the aspect of learning here. If you’re interested in learning some basic concepts of coding then Gladiabots is a fantastic approach to it. You are not learning how to code; you’re learning how code goes together though and you can apply it elsewhere fundamentally. It’s fun and challenging and come on, who doesn’t like watching robots fight each other to the death. (Although sometimes it feels like it’s to the pain…) Gladiabots is a great concept executed well even if it gets frustrating and complicated with the massive amount of options on how to program your robots. It’s also the only game on Steam that deals with coding as a game mechanic that isn’t boring to me. I was beginning to feel that wouldn’t happen.

Love it or hate it, let me know!