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iPhone  header logo

Robot Gladi8tor

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Human after all

Product: Robot Gladi8tor | Developer: Speedbump Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.2
 
Robot Gladi8tor iPhone, thumbnail 1
Given the incredible critical and commercial success of Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade 2, it was almost inevitable that clones would start to appear.

Robot Gladi8tor
is indebted to Chair Entertainment's insanely popular action series, and while this may lead some to dismiss it out of hand there’s actually a lot here worth investigating.

Set in a distant future when robot warriors are commonplace and humans are augmented with cybernetic implants, Robot Gladi8tor at least boasts a backdrop that's different from the fantasy realm of Infinity Blade.

You are Number 8, a contestant in a violence-packed take on the Big Brother TV show concept. A former marine framed for the untimely death of your entire squad, you've clearly got an axe to grind, but the sinister administrator of the show is holding all of the cards.

Anything to be on the telly

As the game begins, he offers you a deal: play along, try to survive, and he may release you from your prison. To begin with you have no choice but to trust his word and endure his wisecracks, but as the storyline progresses you're given opportunities to rebel against his commands.

One of the things that sets Robot Gladi8tor apart from Infinity Blade is the freedom to explore. When you're not engaged in a combat situation, you can move around the derelict space station using FPS-style controls.

You can interact with items, solve puzzles, and acquire weapons and health packs. This portion of the game really sets it apart from its inspiration, although controlling your character can occasionally be awkward due to his slow turning speed.

Street fighting man

As appealing as the exploration element is, it's clear that Robot Gladi8tor is being sold largely on its fighting sections. As with Infinity Blade, these one-on-one encounters revolve around swipe gestures. You can dodge certain attacks, as well as fire a ranged weapon to set your opponent up for a critical attack.

Initially, on-screen prompts offer the chance to learn enemy patterns and movements. After your first couple of fights, the game asks whether you wish to switch these off - we'd highly recommend doing so - otherwise the difficulty is practically non-existent.

Robot Gladi8tor is powered by Epic's Unreal Engine, and the results should be obvious from the screenshots you see on this page. While it doesn't run quite as gracefully as Infinity Blade, the graphics are still impressive. The robot warriors you confront are especially detailed, as they tower menacingly over the comparatively weedy human protagonist.

Real steel

Also noteworthy is the standard of the audio. The music is atmospheric and well-produced, and the voice of the shady Administrator is brilliantly executed, treading the fine line between self-serving friendship and complete distrust.

The only real complaint we have with Robot Gladi8tor is that, even with the combat hints disabled, battles become slightly predictable after a short time. A little more variety would have been welcome.

Taking into account the colossal development budget behind the two Infinity Blade titles, it's amazing that a small-scale studio can produce something like Robot Gladi8tor at what must have been a fraction of the cost.

It's not a perfect game by any means, and despite its innovative exploration segments it never feels as dynamic and exciting as it should do, but Robot Gladi8tor is still worth a look. Developer Speedbump is one to watch.

 
Robot Gladi8tor
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 24 February 2012
Robot Gladi8tor cleverly expands on the Infinity Blade blueprint with FPS freedom and stunning presentation, but it's not quite as polished as Chair Entertainment's offerings
 
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