From the developers of the popular game Rodeo Stampede, Botworld is an RPG monster-battler akin to the Pokémon series where players’ main objective is to collect and build ‘bots’ to strengthen their army to take on the many battles and challenges that take place as you progress through the game’s different levels and world. Although the base formula is the same, Botworld does add its unique twists here and there to stop it from becoming just another Pokémon clone and having its own unique identity. Being in Early Access, the game is already well-designed and crafted with room for more improvements and optimization until the final release.
The basic jest of the gameplay is, you ‘catch’ bots and add them to your army, to then fight and take on other battles and conquer other bots and gain loot by lieu of scrap materials or raw in-game currency and other bot-making materials. Every battle against another bot or multiple bots takes place in real-time with a cutscene depicting the challengers, after which it jump cuts to a mini arena where the player can input multiple options for commands to influence their bots’ behavior/attacks/abilities.
Troop placement and ability usage are key to be successful at this game along with efficient and wise usage of abilities as they do not come cheap, costing a lot of resources per trigger. There exist many types of spell modifiers such as AOE, CC, Shields, etc. and thus mastering the placement of a bot along with which spell to use when goes a long way. Bots are leveled up through their stats, by items gained from enemy drops, while gaining perks from XP. Perks can come with many modifiers, some of which offer a downside with a big buff, while others providing a flat buff giving the players a choice to choose and tune their own bots’ stats to their playstyle.
Stamina exists in this game which is the main way of limiting or hurdling a grind by allowing only three runs into the wilds during the initial stages. This coupled with the fact that there is only a finite number of times you can heal means when either of those two conditions are not fulfilled, you cannot venture out into the wilds to fight and must come back later.
Even though true multiplayer does not exist (where players fight each other in real-time), there does exist a queue-up system where players can match up and fight other people’s ‘bots’, but all of them will still be fully computer-controlled AI. Perhaps the player count is too low for a feasible live matchmaking system, or maybe it is too early, but the day this update hits the game, it will propel it to a new forefront.
To acquire new bots, they are not caught at all after a fight is won in the arena, instead, blueprints are obtained from enemies or as quest rewards and can be used on the crafting interface to craft a new bot depending on the recipe of the resource drops obtained.
The graphics are well-designed and fit perfectly into the thematic that developers were going for, with the cartoony animated style of motion and animations. The game runs exceptionally smooth at a stable frame rate, which makes the animations of the abilities and fireballs going off and whatnot even more immersive and exhilarating.
The sound design for the game does an okay job. It’s nothing that will blow your brains out with how stunning it is, but it gets the job done by not kicking you out of the RPG experience at any point by being too bad. Improvements could be done on the sound quality itself, but more so by adding unique sounds for similar animations.
Being an Early Access game, I fully expected it to milk out as much revenue by forced ad shoving, but to my surprise, this game has some of the most non-intrusive ads that there can be. Ads are presented as an option here for fringe benefits such as doubling some quest rewards or enemy drops here and there. The choice being there does give the illusion that the game is completely ad-free as it is completely up to the player to choose whether to watch the ad and gain a benefit or just sit it out and pretend it was never there. There are in-app purchases (IAP) as well, which only influence cosmetics and aesthetics of the character and the bots from what I have seen and provide no direct influence over controlling the outcome of an arena fight.
Pros and Cons
- Monster Battlers are always fun runs exceptionally smooth
- Relatively Low Battery usage for its size
- Simple Controls
- Good Graphics
- Initial progression can feel like a grind due to many limits placed
- Watching Ads give you more benefits than not
- Live match-up against real players need to be introduced
The lore of a young boy starting with just two bots gifted to him by his parents and setting afoot on a massive adventure that takes him around the realm while fighting different types of bots is the main crux of this game and what keeps it bound to developer’s intent from the start, to make a game where the players’ main goal is to become the ultimate botmaster. Early Access games are usually hit or miss, but this one is going to be a hit, if not already. The graphics are nice, the gameplay is simple yet engaging, and the player progression apart from a few hiccups here and there is perfectly placed to complement the game’s level design structure. Overall a very good game and one to look out for when it does finally hit on a final release.