Robocraft is a mix of voxel block builders like Space Engineers and vehicle shooters like War Thunder. Build airships and tanks using various cubes, items, and weapons to be deployed on a battlefield with other players. Learn from your mistakes, improve your designs, buy new building blocks, and upgrade your weapons. A sprawling tech tree features a number of upgrades to choose from to customize your vehicle. It’s two games in one. One where you design and build your vehicles; and one where you send them off to war. But the building system is the glue of Robocraft while battles are an application of your work—and serves as a means to unlocking new materials for crafting.
Permission to play with Legos
When designing my first robot I left any tactical brainpower behind and opted to create a cool-looking machine. Building is easy. Slap a bunch of cubes together, stick some guns on (with wheels or wings), and as long as you don’t tip over when applying acceleration your vehicle is battle-ready. Designs are not unlimited. In the top left-hand corner of your screen you’ll notice a CPU bar. Every gun, block, and wheel eats up some CPU—determining how many voxels can be mashed together. Starting off you don’t have many cubes to choose from. But as you blast apart opponents you gain Robot Points and Tech Points that can be traded in for new building materials.
And building is where the game shines. You can spend hours tinkering and refining, playing with designs to suit practicality and aesthetics. The simple, easy-to-use interface makes it a joy to see what pieces can fit together. More than half of my play-time was spent moving blocks around trying to figure out the perfect vehicle recipe. With my first vehicle I strived for style over practicality. But soon realized a heavy tank would endure lasers far better than my first design after it was shattered like a kid throwing their Legos against a wall.
Smashing your Creations
My first tank was a hunkering tyrant that quickly flipped over after one turn too sharp. I wasn’t alone either. At the start of nearly every match—at least for beginners— a few of your teammates will roll over or drive into a rockwall and somersault onto their backs. You can press “F” to realign but while your vehicle takes 10 seconds to correct itself enemies can continue blasting your vehicle apart. In one engagement I was on my back like a helpless tortoise, firing lasers frantically but hitting only the sky as enemies blasted me apart piece by piece. It’s helpful to test your design in Practice mode before voxels start exploding.
You don’t defeat someone until their crude pilot is sent skyward off his seat. So often vehicles appear in various states of disarray. Some look like they’re begging for death. One enemy was just as a single strip of cubes and two wheels with a pilot catching flies between his teeth. I promptly sealed his fate with one-click of my turret. It adds a level of humor and tactics to the game. You can choose to blow off the cubes supporting the wheels on an enemy, effectively locking their position. Or, elect to take out their guns first and render them useless. Learning your weak points and reenforcing them is essential to surviving firefights. Many of my vehicles exploded because I didn't protect my pilot properly. Back to the drawing board.
"Voxels... Voxels Everywhere..."
Combat is straightforward. Whether you’re taking to the skies or rolling over the surface of distant worlds, a crosshair dictates where your guns will be firing. You roll off in a, probably, dilapidated vehicle and shoot any enemies that appear on screen. It’s rather repetitive. Battles play like test-runs for your latest and greatest design. Unlike Battlebots, the fights feel like a secondary consequence with little depth beyond the pattering of guns and the amusement of seeing enemies blown apart. They offer the same experience each time, and can’t be avoided if you want to unlock new building blocks. But they are quick. It takes no more than a few seconds for a match to begin and they're over in a few minutes.
Every battle awards Robot Points (RP) and Tech Points (TP), as well as experience towards your rank. TP is spent on the massive tech tree, determining what items are available to you to build your robot while RP is your currency for purchasing those blocks. As you progress through tiers of technology you can go from building simple, cubed toys to formidable tanks and scorpion machines. While the tech tree seems overwhelming it isn’t diverse. Essentially you’re upgrading the same components to be more durable, move faster, or employ more firepower. That doesn’t mean building becomes stagnant. More resources allow more diverse, bigger, and exotic looking machines.
Like Picasso... But Robots
Players are infinitely creative. Part of the joy of entering a battle is seeing how other players design their vehicles. Limited cubes can be combined into a wide range of shapes. One guy on my team was inspired by the Borg and charged into battle as an enormous cube—quickly destroyed. Some designs will make you feel better about your own abilities, while others will inspire you to head back to the garage and tinker.
Blocks Ain't Cheap
The game is free-to-play but seems to motivate users to spend cash on in-game currency to build more elaborate vehicles and faster. Grinding for more points can become arduous if you're not motivated by combat—as in my own case. You can trade in cash for Galaxy Cash (GC) which can then be used to purchase all items, as well as cosmetics. Robocraft avoids the pay-to-win branding by limiting what players can buy to their tech tier. So you’ll never see tech nine weapons devastating the field in a tech one game. It's certainly the right way to handle a cash shop and I appreciate the developers fortifying against pay-to-win. At the beginning of an early tier match it’s easy to spot who has opened their wallets. They're typically made entirely of the highest tech items available to your tier. Just hope that they're on your team.
Final Verdict - Great
Robocraft is an entertaining creative-builder with lackluster combat. I could spend my entire play-through fiddling with cubes in the garage to build ever grander and more powerful vehicles. Sometimes I only enter the battlefield to rack up points and unlock more materials. Its a secondary aspect that grew tiring. It was still highly amusing, particularly learning from other players vehicles and watching enemies explode thanks to my—sometimes— superior design. The developers are active and engage the community, releasing updates frequently and responding to community input. While combat didn't amaze me it didn't bore me either. I'll be making frequent pit-stops to my Robocraft garage to build new vehicles and play with designs.
Apple's iOS is fertile ground for a wide variety of great mobile games across every genre. Armed with strong graphics and responsive touch screens, the iPhone and iPad are solid gaming machines. Check out our roundup of some of the best games available on iOS across multiple categories. Whether you're looking for the latest action-gaming hit, a cerebral puzzler or a story-driven role-playing epic, there's sure to be something here for you.
MORE: Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Reviewed
Best iOS Trivia Game
There's a reason everyone's talking about Trivia Crack. It is THE hyper-addictive game that challenges your brain, as well as the brains of your friends. It combines cute, cartoon designs with a wide variety of question types. Go up against Facebook friends or random opponents, and spin the wheel to answer questions based on sports, science, history, geography, art or entertainment. You must master each category to win the game.
See More iOS Trivia Games
FTL: FASTER THAN LIGHT
Best iOS Strategy Game
You've been waiting for the FTL: Faster Than Light game to come to iPad, and now it's here. The title brings its brutally challenging space adventures to legions of gamers. You must outfight and escape a vast rebel armada as you protect the Federation's last hope for victory, as captain of a Federation starship. Along the way, you'll navigate uncharted space, unravel strange mysteries, and fight off pirates and slavers, while trying not to run out of fuel or oxygen. The numerous ships unlock, and the randomly generated galaxy ensures no two games are the same.
See More iOS Strategy Games
Best iOS Sports Game
The app version of NBA 2K15 delivers great basketball gameplay to iPhones and iPads. Slick graphics and fast-paced action add to the latest updated Career and Quick Play modes, which are joined by new Season and Blacktop modes. Almost the entire console NBA 2K15 experience fits inside this mobile package.
See More iOS Sports Games
REAL RACING 3
Best iOS Racing Game
Newly available for free, Real Racing 3 provides a fantastic driving experience that will make you wish for the open road. You can get behind the wheel of a wide variety of realistic-looking cars and speed them across beautifully rendered racetracks. Numerous game modes mean the fun never stops, as you complete time trials, standard races and the unique Time Shift multiplayer mode. Plus, you'll continuously enjoy new content such as new cars and racing events.
See More iOS Racing Games
Best iOS RPG
In Shadowrun: Dragonfall, high tech meets high fantasy. It's a cyberpunk-themed RPG that's filled with cyborg elves and magic-wielding mega-corporations. You play the role of Shadowrunners, highly skilled freelance operatives who specialize in black ops. The world's many mega-corps, governments and other shady conspiracies give you assignments. Improvements to the original game's turn-based combat and fixes to the save-game system make this our top pick because it still manages to preserve the series' wonderful fantasy cyberpunk ambiance.
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Best iOS Casino or Dice Game
Play Texas hold 'em poker with your friends or random players worldwide from the comfort of your touch-screen device with Zynga Poker. The app offers casual games of hold 'em, or competitive tournament variants such as Shootouts or Sit-n-Go. The free chips delivered to your account daily, with extra chips available for real money, will keep you coming back day after day.
See More iOS Casino and Dice Games
Best iOS Puzzle Game
Even if it weren't so beautiful and set to such lovely music, you would still find yourself dreaming about Monument Valley. The designs of the puzzles draw inspiration from optical illusions and M.C. Escher prints. As princess Ida makes her way through a series of surreal monuments and structures, you must navigate hidden passages and manipulate mechanisms that may require you to rotate the map to make sense of each puzzle.
See More iOS Puzzle and Word Games
WALKING DEAD: THE GAME SEASON TWO
Best iOS Adventure Game
The follow-up to the award-winning and critically acclaimed series by Telltale Games picks up where the first season left off. In The Walking Dead Season Two, you play Clementine, an 11-year-old girl who has lived through the zombie apocalypse for well over a year when the new season begins. Instead of stumping players with difficult puzzles, The Walking Dead places an emphasis on character interaction and the emotional burden of decisions made. Players who have completed the first season are rewarded Mass Effect-style, as choices made in Season One (free) carry over to the new game.
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INFINITY BLADE III
Best iOS Action Game
The Infinity Blade series outdid itself with its third iteration and action-packed conclusion. As the fierce Siris or stealthy Isa, you take on the nefarious Worker of Secrets. The battle scenes are filled with frenetic swipe-and-tap combat that has proven a hallmark of all three editions. You'll soon be crafting your own weapons, armor and potions in the new exploration hub, when you're not storming into a fight. Spoiler alert: The last expansion, Kingdom Come, reveals more secrets and answers, and pits players against one very pissed-off dragon.
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HEARTHSTONE: HEROES OF WARCRAFT
Best iOS Card or Board Game
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a fun, free and fair digital collectible card game that you won't be able to stop playing. Playing as one of the great heroes (or villains) of the Warcraft universe — such as Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore or Gul'dan — you'll fight epic duels and summon allies and minions to your side. The simple, easy-to-learn rules work cross-platform among PC, iPad and Android players. You can earn gold that can be spent on booster packs. Plus, in the Arena mode you can play in a special, "sealed draft" format that rewards canny deck building and smart play.
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Best iOS Family Game
Heads Up is sort of like charades, and it's the most fun you'll have at a party all year. The app challenges players to guess as many words as possible from a themed deck of cards based on their friends' clues. You'll quickly get over the awkwardness of holding your phone up to your forehead, where the screen displays the word to be guessed, because you'll be laughing too hard. Deck themes include celebrities, movies and animals. You can even create your own custom decks with an in-app purchase of $0.99 per deck.
Rolling out to a subset of preview program members in waves starting this weekend is the first hands-on look at the new Xbox One experience. At its core, the new Xbox One interface is centered around making it quick and easy for you to access and discover what you want, when you want. Our focus for the completely redesigned dashboard is speed, ease of use, and—of course--fan feedback.
The team at Xbox had a packed summer sharing what’s coming to Xbox One at E3 2015 and gamescom 2015, along with contributing to the launch of the best version of Windows ever for gaming: Windows 10. Throughout the summer, droves of Xbox fans have logged in and provided excellent feedback on Xbox One updates and the Xbox app on Windows 10. Today, we’re excited to take another step forward in bringing our vision to life for a new Xbox One experience.
This entirely new user experience is a work-in-progress and will undergo rigorous updating and polishing with the help of our Xbox One preview members. Here’s a closer look at what’s coming slowly to select early preview members in the first wave over the next week:
A redesigned Home to help you truly jump in. While keeping the main section concentrated on your task at hand (say, getting back to playing Gears of War: Ultimate Edition), we’re introducing vertical scrolling and a rearranged interface to provide faster and easier access to your most-recently accessed games and apps. You can also easily share your achievements and clips with the Xbox Live community, see whether your friends are playing the same games, and enjoy one-click access to Game Hubs to get news and updates from the publishers themselves. Engaging socially on Xbox One just got a lot quicker.
Quickly jump to Pins and My Games and Apps. At the bottom of Home, you’ll have quick access to the games and apps that you have pinned. You can quickly jump between your pins and most recently played game by using the triggers on your controller. Right trigger will take you straight to your pins. A pull of the left trigger will take you back to your most recently played game or app.
A new guide for fast access to essentials. A new Guide lets you quickly access essentials with just one button press, and without leaving your game, to save time spent weaving in and out of apps. You can access the Guide from Home by pressing left or double tap the Xbox button on your controller to instantly overlay the Guide.
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