You know Minecraft and you may have seen us play Space Engineers, but have you heard of Robocraft? Developed as a free-to-play PC game and first released early 2013 in an alpha state, RoboCraft is the brainchild of Freejam Games and quite simply, is amazingly addictive and fun.
The best way to describe RoboCraft is to say that it’s LEGO meets World of Tanks (or War Thunder) meets Space Engineers. Players collect blocks and use them to build whatever they want to drive. It can be a wheeled ground vehicle hybrid, a hovering whatever-you-want, or a flying airplane thing. We use those vague descriptions intentionally because players can build whatever they want with what’s available in the game, and trust us, there are some wacky designs some players experiment with. You can make vehicles as sexy and sleek or as ugly and odd looking as you desire.
When your vehicle is equipped with a few weapons, a pilot’s seat and some form of drive mechanic, you can test it out against unarmed bots in a practice arena to see how it performs, to make sure it’s balanced (extremely important for flying vehicles or tall ground vehicles) and to see how your weapon arrangement functions. Different blocks have different weights and all the components of a given vehicle must stay below a given petaFLOPS ceiling (CPU power for your vehicle).
Here’s the latest RoboCraft trailer as an example of some of the more elaborate creations players can get into in higher tiers.
Then, when you’re ready for battle, hit the “B” key and players will be queued up against other players using vehicles in the same or similar tier. There are thousands of players currently online at all time so matchmaking is almost instantaneous and players are mostly put on balanced teams for 10v10 matches where a team wins by either capturing the enemy base first or destroying all of the enemy vehicles.
RoboCraft is another example of an early access game done ‘right.’ It plays well and is extremely polished. It’s user-friendly and intuitive, and the developers are rapidly updating the game, adding new content, and teasing exciting new features. There are already four new maps on the way, which will bring the total to nine. There are spider leg mechanical engines being added as another drive form, that will even let players scale walls. More customization options and powerful weapons are coming and being tweaked as well so it’s a great time to jump in and see what the buzz was about.
I did this week for the first time and I’m going to play some more right now.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.