by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
“What could possibly be involved in a game with such a cryptic title?” I hear you cry. Well, I am here to let you in on the little secret behind Masthead Studios’ new product. I was invited to take part in the final closed beta test. It turned out that in Guns and Robots, you build robots and attach guns to them. Not only that, but you will be able to take your armed metallic creations into multiplayer arenas and fight to the death with other players online.
The short tutorial video gives you just about everything you need to know about constructing your robot. You choose from locomotion options, add a strong chassis, stick on your weapons, then add a head to make it all go. There are dozens of different options to choose from, so the potential for creativity is very high. It is fairly unlikely that you will ever come up against a player with a robot that looks similar to yours. You could have a robot that hovers around using fan propulsion, with a rocket launcher and a ray gun attached. Or you might take a more traditional approach, with tracked movement and a fast firing minigun.
You construct separate modules, so you can save specific combinations if you want to reuse them later. This allows you to construct robots quickly, instead of starting everything from scratch when you fancy a change. Most of your time between battles is spent in your garage. In there, you have space to store a few ready made robots, and you have the option to buy more slots using the in game currency. These coins are acquired by participating in fights, and of course you get more coins by performing better and winning matches, but you will get a small payout even if you lose. The coins are also used to buy new components to help your creation work better, but there are also cosmetic options available such as stylish hats.
Fighting in battles against other robots is risky, and you will usually take at least a little bit of damage. Coins are also used to repair your metallic friends between fights, as if you go into battle already damaged, your chances of victory are severely reduced. In a multiplayer match, you control your robot in the style of a third person shooter, with the keyboard to move, and the mouse buttons assigned to your various weapons. Right now there is only a Team Deathmatch mode, and I get a very Team Fortress-y feel from the art style in the matches. The graphics are fairly cartoonish on the one map that is currently available. The map does have a surprising amount of depth to it though, with many secret passages and multiple height levels. The country style soundtrack complements the dusty town to give it a very wild west feel.
Matches see teams of up to five squaring off against each other. During the game you have to keep an eye on your battery level, as you are not able to keep moving and firing for extended periods, otherwise you will run out of power. Your power is limited by the battery you put in your robot when you made it. Each weapon also uses a certain amount of power to fire. You could be left stranded without being able to move because your wheels have been taken out, or you could run out of ammo in your weapons rendering them useless. To help you out, there are battery packs and ammo cases scattered around the level to be picked up so you can replenish your supplies. These are limited, however, and both teams can use them so they are often points of contention.
The potential is there
Most of the fun in Guns and Robots will come from seeing what concoctions you can come up with in the robot creation mode. With so many options to choose from there will no doubt be some exciting looking machines soon enough. There is also great potential for DLC, as we have seen something as simple as cosmetic hats become so popular for TF2. Whether that happens or not, this game will contain both guns and robots, and those are things that many gamers can get behind.