RoboWars – The “Enhanced” Browser Game

Thumbs ...  well ..., i played this game called robowars last night. it’s another one of these web-based passive games i’m enjoying so much. i was telling one of the sas guys about it and decided i’d just write up a quick review.

first impressions are fantastic. the ui is great. all of the hard-wired graphics are fantastic. although nice, i’d still like a low-bandwidth version — maybe it’s just me. even all of the weapon and armor icons are good. all the atmosphere images are good. the only ones that are actually quite poor are the pictures of your robot.

it’s totally weird. here we have this great looking site with killer images for some 30 or 40 weapons, but, the main thing you look at — your robot — looks … um … bad. you can customize it tho! you can pick from any of dozens of photoshop “colorized” versions of the same image. have your robot be pink! yay!

anyway, overall, the imagery in the game it great and i’m assuming it will just get better.

logging in for the first time, it was pretty intuitive to arm and equip my robot. the way it’s laid out, tho, is a javascript drag-and-dropper’s dream. it’s not there yet, but i bet it will be.

also, looking around, most everything made sense. buy weapons here. buy armor there. bank is over there. scrapyard is over here. very easy and intuitive to get around and, all of the game narative style naming works. so, getting ready for battle seemed pretty easy. you even start off with plenty of money — cash for buying everything and repairs, scraps for a few repairs but mostly to trade in for cash and diamonds which give life back to your disabled robot.

you have health of course. but, you also have battery power. it fills up daily and you can perform actions until it’s drained. then, at 9am the next day, you can spend your upgrade point and have it filled again.

(dude. robot/sci-fi games could be so cool for the passive environment if done right. not a metagame thing like daily turns, but fuel cells that need to be recharged!)

so, i buy 2 chainsaws (the best weapon you can get starting off) and some really terrible wooden armor (again, the best i can get at a low level. wood, tho?) and wade out into the pvp arena.

it looks okay, but playable. you see a list of other players (by default) near your level that you can bang on. they’ve got their levels and win/loss percentages all laid out. should be easy pickin’s to find myself a patsy.

i select someone at random with a terrible, terrible win percentage. click. how many attacks do i want to use? huh?

what does that mean? how many do i get? how much battery power do they use? what on earth?

um. so, i click 25 — the max. go!

the readout comes back with a large blinking graphic “major defeat!” uh for who? me or him? i read the cryptic text. “0 of your 25 attacks are victories.” later down the feedback “294 damage dealt. 384 damage blocked. you take 10 points of damage.”

again. say what?

a couple things:

  1. i was as well armed as anybody could have been at my level. i attacked a guy of a similar level. should have been a 50-50 sort of thing. maybe even better my direction since his loss percentage was so low. (more on that later.)
  2. if i blocked almost a 100 additional points of damage over and above what he dealt, why did i take any damage at all?
  3. major defeat, assumably for me, evidently means doing 10 points of damage to me when i have 110 health.

whatever. i just pressed on thinking i would figure it out and get a feel for it.

turns out, nah. it never made any more sense. every attack i did seemed like some big roulette wheel in the sky determined the results. i was getting things from 0-9 of my 25 attacks would be victories, yet, my win percentage was in the 70% range. huh?

it was strange, unintelligible voodoo combat. the bummer about that is that if you can’t be marginally accurate as to who and what your chances are of defeating and opponent, no one will try. then, the next time they come back to their account, it’s been crushed by someone 10 levels higher (yes. that is correct, there’s no mechanism i saw that prevented that kind of griefing.) it’s kinda depressing. you don’t know who you can beat and all the crazy powerful players are farming the really weak ones.


next site, please.

anyway, aside from a few spammy knick-knacks primarily used to generate clicks or “votes” on various external game listing and whatnot, the only thing to actually “do” on the site is get some pvp love. and, unfortunately, that part’s not very fun despite my 70% winning percentage.

a few fundamental game design issues:

  1. no incremental increases in power. meaning, you fight and fight and fight with no increase in character power/strength. you gain xp like mad — i jumped 6 levels in my little 45 minute foray, including time to figure out what was going on.
  2. cash xp balance. and, unfortunately, i have hocked everything i can at the pawn shop and still will be at least another 6 levels higher before i can afford a weapon with a level requirement of 3. the armor is even worse. if the only way to earn cash wasn’t fighting, i could totally see the item prices justified. as it is, i’ll be level 40 before i have enough dough to buy a level 10 item.
  3. the level disparity and griefing. there needs to be some mechanism in place to prevent high-level characters from just smashing lower level ones. that’s where all the lower player’s piss-poor, misleading loss percentages were coming from i bet.

final thoughts?

the game looks good. sets up nice. but the actual play is meh. it’s not critically flawed because it’s certainly a cool concept, even if relatively one-dimensional.

lump it in as a prettier dark throne with robots.


43 comments so far

  1. Jason on

    Since this review, the game has dramatically improved! I would say by far it is the best free online rpg you can play in my opinion… Its easy to learn, looks great, and everything has been developed with time and accuracy! 5 stars

  2. johnathon on

    i second that 5 stars

  3. m3mnoch on

    heh. looks like i will have to go check it out again when i get some time.


  4. RC on

    I agree with Jason. This isn’t only due to the fact that i am one of the oldest members of the game. (Started in 2002…yea…i know) Over the years, i have seen and been part of the growth in Robowars. I had the same problems and issues you had. The good thing about the staff on the game, they are actively improving the game based on the players thoughts and ideas. Since you posted this a year ago, a serious of revamps/releases have been introduced and have made the game more stable and more “friendly” to new members. I am glad to see input from an outside source, even though it was on the negative side, it shows that the staff have hit on the issues we all had. I would defiantly invite your back to see the new improvements and changes and see if the game would make a better impact with you.

  5. Tazz on

    I totally agree with jason I am another old player the staff will help u to learn and answer all the questions they can..The game is also evolving fast now with all the new updates to robowars .We hope to see you playing soon πŸ™‚

  6. MisterFailure on

    I also agree with jason only not as old as these other guys i’ve played for a good 1 or 2 years. I have enjoyed this game so much that I am addicted one of the best games i have ever played. ^.^

  7. Rhea on

    Not wishing for it to appear like the whole RW community is descending on your blog but i thought i would add a few comments.

    RoboWars has been and still is very much a major development and by no means a finished project, as has been mentioned many changes have taken place since this review ranging from GUI to game play and we would very much welcome a return by yourself to check it out.
    Hopefully development will continue at pace and with the help of the RW community and their input we can develop a game that everyone can enjoy, whether you want to play for 1 hour or 10.

  8. Xero on

    This game has much improved since rejoining for a few months. Only stopped playing one of the earlier versions a few years ago, due to school and exams lol. Now I have a bit more spare time for playing online games again, Robowars was first on the list to try. Now, I worked my way to rank #6 at lvl 600 :).

  9. .fowl masterbaker on

    I’m just here to represent the .fowl cause in promoting Robowars. The game has been overhauled over the last few months to make it faster and more enjoyable. Where we used to have 10-15 players online at one time (4-6 months ago), we know easily have 40-50 players. That is the one true measure by which to gauge the game itself – the number of people playing it!

    As for some of the negative comments listed in the article, I think you may be mistaken. There are measures in the game to protect lower level players from the higher level ones. For example, a level 100 player cannot attack a level 50 player. You can only attack up to 16 levels below you. The sky is the limit for attacking higher level robots, so don’t go crazy! The range of who you can attack changes as your robot gains more and more levels, which definitely adds to the excitement of the game. As far as money goes, I think you will find the game much easier now to acquire armor and weapons to suit your level.

    All in all the game continues to provide fun for more and more people every day and it is definitely worth a visit. Just be sure to log in every day to receive your upgrade chip! -MB

  10. Daniel on

    Yeah I login to RW pretty much every day and see what’s going on. It’s quite addictive and yeah a fun concept, constantly being improved upon.

  11. .fowl fuzzy on

    Not sure your assessment is accurate any more with all the new upgrades and ever evolving improvements. The game and staff involvement has increased in stride with the growth of the game. The squads have become a key part of the game now which helps the new players come up to speed in learning.

    I remember the first time I logged in and had no clue what to do or where to go. I’m now ranked 5th in the game and log on at least once a day. It’s an addiction now!

    I’m impressed with the games continuous evolution. Give it another look and if I’m online say Hi or press 25 attacks on me.

  12. Tom on

    alright jason thanks for letting me spunge scraps off uim at level 100 now and its stupid takes foreva! hows everyone?

  13. Wandering Soul on

    .fowl Wandering Soul – August 1,2007

    Ive only been playing RoboWars for 45 days now,which by most gaming standards puts me in the NOOB category lol.Believe me thats not what I am.Ive played literally thousands of games similar to this one over the years,and this is one of the few that has grabbed me completely.Now I may have more free time on the computer than some for my current work allows this to happen,but after only 45 days I am lvl 514 rank #12.The game is very easy to understand.And if you ever have a question about ANYTHING,there is a great staff there to help you.To top that off,if by some strange reason there is no staff online,we have many experienced players always willing to help out in any way thats needed all ya got to do is ask.The game has had many changes in the short time ive been a part of it,and each one of them has improved the game in some way.Im glad I decided to give this game a chance for it truly has become a fun addiction for me.I could go on and on about how impressive the game continues to be in my opinion,but anyone can say anything to make something look good.My advice to anyone would be to come check us out and see for yourself.Trust me you wont be disappointed!!! Look for me,.fowl Wandering Soul,for im pretty sure I’ll be there.

  14. Evan Decoste on

    hey ive been playing robowars for a while and so far its great i love it no qustions asked i mean most people are nice theres people to help you no one is mean to you there just not happy but any way its the best game ever

  15. Blueslover on

    RoboWars is a far cry different these days…improvements and updates have made it into a radically innovative game which can quickly become addicting. It is easy to learn, fun to play, and there is a team of top-notch administrators, managers, and moderators to keep it all running smoothly. And on top of that it is very family-friendly and suitable for young teens as well as adult players. I urge you to take another look for yourself. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back every day to play some more!

  16. GodFather on

    RoboWars has changed a lot since i have started playing it…there are new and awesome images for the weapons and armor including new added armor added a month or so ago…the game still has its old parts(battle arena, squad zone), but it has improved a lot recently. There were many updates that make the game easier to play, and way more fun to play too. When i started i have to say that i wasnt completely “attracted” with the game, but after i had more time to study the game and everything about it, the game started to be more fun than ever…
    RoboWars consists of friendly players and staff, both staff and more experienced players have been helping new people that join the game, creating a more friendly place for everybody in the game. Now i come back almost every single day to play it and it is definitely very exiting…The most exiting thing is when you get higher leveled and go across the 275 level barrier in which after crossing the game get more difficult and way more fun to play, because you can be attacked by anyone that’s level 275 or above!!!…
    My rate to RoboWars: 10/5 stars

  17. .beef rocks on

    I fully agree with Jason. I started a little more than three weeks ago, and I have not seen any of these problems. I love the game and play it every time I get the chance! This has to be the coolest RPG I’ve ever played. In fact, it’s the only one I play anymore. It’s amazing! Also, they have installed more weapons and new images of your robot, (yes, it no longer looks like a deranged metal spider with half of its legs ripped off.) Believe me, if I ever quit playing RoboWars, it’s going to be if and when the site shuts down.

  18. Pizzaman1800 on

    I’ve been playing for almost 2 months. I don’t even remember how I came across it. Trust me, the game gets better. You should probably start with more endurance and attacking gets boring but the game is rapidly seeing more players. It was so easy to get on the top 100 over a months ago but now I’m finding it hard to stay there, at rank 79 (at one point reaching 74) I find that if I don’t play for over an hour a day I may soon be off the top. All in all it’s a fun game. I stopped playing a Runescape membership account for it so it’s gotta be good!

  19. SCARFACE[RM] on

    if i could choose this or the sun i would be nocturnal like a bat love it 10/10 5star woo

  20. mindfreak(RoR) on

    i love this game and as everyone has said it has changed since the review ive been playing a couple of months and say this game keeps on getting better. so as rednecks say come on back ya hear.

  21. rick on

    the game is great but its missing a bit more role playing

  22. Doomedduck on

    Its really cool, but i think u need to put more moving and action into it

  23. ? on

    the game is alright its no addicting one bit nor is it that great its one of those soso games with no meaning to it.

  24. your_moms_lover on

    I haven’t been playing too long, but I’ve noticed a difference. its a good game to play online.

  25. REDx4203 on

    Well, Im going to have to agree with jason.. most games like this one. you have to pay for…and the ones you dont have to are pretty much junk…cuz theyre free, so i think its a pretty damn good game for being free. but all in all updates are being made everyday and the player enviroment is amazing..not much drama :)….only a little bit when a Drunken Smurf Jr. comes around πŸ˜€

  26. .fowl VIRUS 003 on

    haha i think i punked m3mnoch when i came back for a min last year. better luck next time bro! based on his reveiw i dont think he put much effort into playin the game (no offense). If you were to play for the sole purpose of playin it u would get hooked and find all kinds of ways to amuse yourself here! So check it out if you get bored (not likely) look for me and ill show ya somethings!

  27. lewis on

    so far iv found the game very bassic and not as interactive as id of liked. as a web based game goes i would still recomend it to my friends

  28. Xtreme on

    Over the passed 5 years I’ve been playing Robowars, there has been many improvements to the game. Example one would be that the images of the robots that were spoken of have been upgraded incredibly. I will note that I agree that some of the things in the battle zone are confusing, like the how many attacks, etc. It could be improved, but once you get the hang of what you are doing, the game is very simple.

    One of the key things to the game is not to play it for only a day or two and give up, it takes more time than that. If you play, and talk in the chat, you are surely to find someone who will help you through the game. Its good to have that help from the more experienced members around, they will also show you the secrets to the game that they’ve learned, like how to make money to keep everything updated to your level, what you should train your endurance in, etc.

    Another thing is that for a free online web game, its not like the others. I mean, how many ads do you see spamming you on this game? By my count, there isn’t any. What other game is like that without having to pay to remove ads, thats the most annoying thing in the world, if its a free game, and you want people to stay, you have to make it a nice environment.

    In all of the updates its gone through over the years, the best ones have still yet to come. Even though the game has improved much, imo there is still things that need to be done. I agree that the battle system was a bit iffy, but once you get the hang of it, its worth it. Only thing is, that later on in the game, it starts to get boring when you are sitting there trying to get 1mill+ experience and have to do 25 attacks on a lower bot 100times.. Personally i believe it can be fixed up a bit for higher levels.

    One thing I noticed that you talked about is the win percentage, that really doesn’t have much effect on the games outcome, its all in what you have compared to what they have. Sure it can help at higher levels, but when starting out, i found the best thing to do is look at a few bots, and find with maybe only 1 weapon and armor on, or nothing equipped to just beat on. It helps reduce the chance of lose, anyone can probably figure that out. Another thing is that there has always been a block on the game so a lvl 99 lets say, couldnt attack a level 1, that would just be foolish, but however a lower level can attack anything higher than he/she is. Thats right, there are females that play this game. Now that there level cap has been removed, there is even more level guards around, like a lvl 275 cant attack anything lower than 230 so that they can still gain experience, the ranges are set up so the higher levels with the bigger badder weapons can still pick away at people, but not ruin it for the ones trying to catch them. More than one or two days of play would of helped you discover this.

    I know I’ve criticized a lot about how little of an effort you put into playing it, but i mean come on, do you really think that getting to lvl 45, in 3-4 days is “PLAYING” the game. 3-4 days tells you virtually nothing if you couldn’t figure out that you can play a slot machine to make cash, battle alive players, preferably lower level to help insure that you will defeat them. I’m not saying that 3-4 days you played didn’t teach you anything, but from the sounds of it, you didn’t check the right places.

    I liked the review, but i still think you could of played for a week, Players like me, who are in the chat a lot, would of, and still will leap out and go to great lengths to help you get on the right foot, show you what we know, how we do stuff, and get ya going. πŸ™‚

    If you want, look me up, my name is Xtreme in the game, im sure if you ask around I will be spoken of, maybe not the nicest there is, but I have a lot of people backing me up some way or another, and just throw me and RM and I will gladly help you along your way, heck you may even find yourself staying a bit longer than you expected.

    By the way, in some of the improvements to the game, there has been added content to the game to help guide you as you go to make it more solo able these days as the game is growing, not just in size of things to do, but in the size of the community, so its harder for just the mods to help you out. So if you want to, throw me an RM in the game, and I will get back to ya asap.


  29. […] A Web-Based MMORPG, The Singular, Video Game Design, Reviews. trackback so.Β  a year or so ago, i reviewed this passive web game called robowars.Β  you guys may remember me talking about […]

  30. Sahdrvx on

    Ben playing the game for a few days now it is pretty good . There is still more stuff for me to figure out but most of it is easy to grasp. For a text based game its fun and quick .

  31. Join CaFa today! on

    this game is the best and xtreme was right that others are willing to help u in any way possible

    ~Join CaFa Today!

  32. Trial Player on

    After reading your review and the follow-ups on how it has improved I thought that I’d give this game a go. I found it fairly easy to sort out and with a little bit of thinking it became almost too simplistic.

    Robot progression is accomplished by “harvesting” those bots which are below you in level/strength. This game is primarily a one-way eco chain. Biggies scraping the smallies. This can be frustrating for, well, everyone. It seems that there is always a bot bigger than you. Where is the upper limit? Unknown at this point but for those without a life they are still exploring. It seems that in order to keep this endless progression going an hourly bot refresh is required. This means that no matter what damage you have incurred you will be resurrected within the hour. There are also “scrap” bots available whose sole purpose is to be there for other players to attack and gain experience and scraps. Discovery of these bots moved the game from frustrating toward pointless. Just hang around with everyone and then on a refresh level up by attacking the scrap bot. Do this over and over until you reach level xyz.

    The chat room adds a much needed dimension to the game. Unfortunately, most of the chat is the expected mindless drivel. Verbal challenges, posturing, sleights, etc. Calls by a moderator to knock it off and talk about something meaningful are notice that someone is about to, or already has, lost their chat privilege. The moderators of the chat do well at keeping the bad language out of the room but even they are as uneven in temperament as many of the other players. Questioning a mod about the definition of proper conduct is considered a personal challenge and will likely result in a game penalty of some sort. Certainly never question the super-mod for he will perform the equivalent of throwing the game pieces around the room and allowing players to start all over again. There are those who make up the rules and there are those who follow the rules. In short if you would like to continue to play the game follow the rules, even if you don’t know what they are.

    In summary, I found it to be an easy to play game but with little depth. Not a bad short time distraction. Perhaps this game could even be used as a model for a high-school programming class.

  33. {GR} Eric Draven on

    this has to be one of the best games i have played online and i am getting alot of friends here because of it its nice to see that im not the only old fart that still plays games my pops has gotten into it also i have recomended this site to alot of friends and i will be playing for a very long time i hope

  34. soki the black onimusha on

    robowars is the best game i have ever played it has people on it that actually care for those who play the game and u say that it is need of inprovement i don’t think so if they wish to inprove it then let them i say that it is good just the way it is then again i am a bata tester so hey if u don’t believe me then ask all the other people that play and leave us alone if u don’t care

  35. doomstar01 on

    robowars is a good game, generally and I’ve played it. try to use some brain power. If you had tried out 1 attack first, than you would have understood it. and there’s been lotsa new updates so leave robowars alone if you think it stinks.

  36. m3mnoch on

    heh. doomstar01, did you just tell me to try and use some brain power? ha! funny!


  37. Iceburn on

    I agree that the image of the robot needs to redone. The rest of the graphics is great. I give the site 10 out of 10.

  38. skieblu on

    Robowars is a pretty cool MMORPG. It’s definitely one of the smoother ones. I’m still trying to get a squad but it costs so much:(! It should cost less and i think i think i speak for MOST of the newer members. I just mean, if you come out with a Robowars 2, which would be weird, make the cost for your own squad cheaper. Not too cheap where everyone can get it right out but still cheaper. Other players, what is up with the tags?! I mean c’mon what if other people don’t know how to change their name? Well both of you listen to my complaints and try to do something about them. Peace!

  39. FlameCrest on

    skieblu fyi in most games to own a guild,clan, or squad in this game, it usually costs a bit, the cost isnt that much, i have several million in the game

  40. bonaparteman on

    Man i love this game, i like the recent security updates, i have been playing for about 140 days now, maybe a bit more since i missed a couple upgrades.It is very enjoyable with very help full mods that keep the spammers at bay,easy to make cash, and fun to battle other players.Also, i agree with flamecrest i think the cost is a sorta test of whether you can maintain a squad financially, lets be real if you don’t pay for mech costs no one will join.Only two things i wish were updated are the ancient wall and trading systems they tend to lag tons, and maybe the ancient wall could combine more than just three at a time,like any multiple of three, would be nice.More perks for donators would be cool too


  41. tooth55 on

    Robowars is awesome πŸ™‚ been playing for about 5 or 6 months, i love the community and it is a very addicting game that i cant stop playing.

  42. catles on

    robowars has been the best to for 2 years no it’s my life
    and join my squad BOTS OF ECHELON if u go play:P
    we all hope to see u soon

  43. tormaroe on

    I’ve been playing for 4 days now. It IS addictive, but it’s not great. The problem for me is that there are no challenges. It’s not difficult – progressing only takes time.., more time the higher you are.

    I’m currently at level 64, have more money than I need, but can only train once a day, so I should not progress as fast as I want.

    But there are no ways of loosing in the game, and that’s the problem. You only continue to buy bigger and badder weapons and armor, and then beating better and better opponents isn’t difficult.

    I’m afraid I will keep on playing for a while, but I really shouldn’t, cause it’s not that rewarding.

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