PAX South 2015: Broken Bot impressions

In my Broken Bots preview piece, I mentioned that the developers for the game, Bunnycopter, are a duo from Leuven, Belgium who came up with the idea of robots battling each other while on vacation. It seems far fetched but then I have had head much stranger places where developers have gotten inspiration. While at PAX South, I had the chance to meet up with Toon Van Wemmel and Niels Dehaes and they were really nice, although a bit nervous. And who wouldn’t be, not only do they want to impress the expo goers, but they want to impress the press as well. And impress they did, at least I was.


As I mentioned in my preview, the art style reminded me of a combination of the classic Atari game Tanks and SMASH TV. When I asked them if those games had any influence on the design of the game, they responded with no. Actually they have had never heard of the game SMASH TV before. Regardless, I really enjoyed how the game’s single level and the design of the robots. There were at least six different kinds of robots each with their own unique design. As I mentioned there was only one map available, but was assured that there will be more maps and different robots as they continue development and gather input from testers.


Now my major concern was that Broken Bots looks to be a twin stick shooter. Sure you could play with a mouse and keyboard, but these types of games are best played with a controller. Luckily they had both styles set up for demo, and I did try both. For keyboards, movement is done with the WASD keys and aiming is with the mouse. Firing main weapons is the left mouse button, right mouse button is secondary one and clicking in the mouse wheel is secondary two. As for the controller setup, bot movement was on the left stick, aiming on the right, L1/R1 were the primary fire and L1/R2 were secondary one and two respectively.  After about playing a round using both methods, the controller setup is the best and I’m glad there is support for it.


As for the gameplay, it fast paced, explosive and action pack. Don’t take my word for it, here is some gameplay I managed to record:






Each of the six bots has their own unique primary weapon, such as rapid laser fire, rockets and even a flame thrower. Upon further inspection I noticed that each of the robots has its own stat. For example the robot with the rockets has a high defense but its rate of fire is low and can overheat easily. While the flamethrower robot has a bit slower speed and attack it has a high defense thanks to the wall of flame it shoots out and doesn’t overheat as easily. It also has an added benefit of blocking rockets and lasers being shot at it. So there is layer of strategy picking the right team of bots. I almost forgot to mention the defining feature of the game and the reason the game is called Broken Bots. There is a malfunction system built in to the game. Take enough damage and instead of your bot exploding right away, it will be inflicted with a malfunction. Think of it as a status effect. The malfunction random and can be either helpful, such as higher shields. or hurtful, such as inverted controls.


I really had tons of fun with the game, that I didn’t want to stop. Lucky Broken Bots has gone into open beta as of this writing. I recommend downloading the game and supporting these guys, the game is tons of fun and it seems that its just going to get even better. There’s no set release date as of yet so hopefully we’ll hear something soon.



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