Roboquest is a First-player-shooting (FPS) game with Roguelike features, playable in single player or 2 players co-op. It was released on Steam in 2020 as an Early Access Game, later released on xbox in 2021 and now is being periodically updated with new contents.
There are 3 main mechanics of this game: FPS, Job System and Roguelike. Firstly, the FPS system allows players to use a vast variety of weapons to shoot down enemy bots. Players can also use sprinting and double jumping to dodge incoming bullets or to do sneak attack. Secondly, the job system offers players different special abilities such as shielding, teleporting, and launching assistant robots. The experience (XP) that players gained from shooting down enemies will be used to further upgrade their abilities. Lastly, the Roguelike system creates random maps at each stage, and players have the freedom to decide which weapons to loot from their rewards, which aspects of their abilities to upgrade, and which stage to move to after clearing current stages.
The game takes place in the age where robots rule the world and humans live scattered through the desert. One day a young girl discovers a old Guardian robot, repairs and reactivates it. The robot decides to stand by human’s side, and help the girl to discover ruins for answers to save humanity.
The story is presented as comics when the game is loading the next stages.
The visual art has very iconic Cel-shading style (rendering 3D models with a cartoon-like texture), which is highly inspired from Borderlands game series. A series of fast-paced background music is used to stimulate players to shoot faster and rush to their destinations.
The game is developed on Unreal Engine 4. There seems to be no specific feature that is difficult to implement. However, the smart integration of different mechanics gives players a immersive, re-playable gaming experience.
There are over 40 shooting weapons in the game. Players can acquire them either from stores, or from reward boxes. Based on the unique feature of each weapon and job abilities, players will make different attacking strategies. In addition to the weapon genres, there are over 40 purchasable weapon affixes to enhance players’ attack power. Acquiring those weapons and affixes is randomized under the rogue-like mechanism. Players may feel the joy of getting powerful affixes matching their existing weapons, or feel the freshness of new combat styles with random weapons.
#5 Endogenous Value
A “Time and Experience” scoreboard is used in the game, which rates player’s performance based on time spent on current stage and number of enemies defeated. A rank from ‘S’ to ‘C’ was given by the system, and players are awarded with currency and collectibles according to their ranks. Currency can be used to purchase affixes, weapons, or weapon upgrades, while collectibles can be used to make permanent upgrades such as job system and store availabilities. Under such postive feedbacks, players are inspired to perform better to get these awards, and these award will again enhance players’ shooting experience.
One challenge is the mighty boss enemies at the end of each stage. They have much more healths, higher damages, and faster moving speed. To defeat them, players need to make calculated strategies in choosing their weapon affixes and upgrading job abilities. They also need to observe boss enemies’ attacking pattern, learn and practice to attack boss enemies’ weakness.
Another challenge is the timing scoreboard ,which is mentioned earlier. To maximize their awards, players have to kill more enemies as well as take less time to clear the stage. The maps are full of sliding rails and shortcuts, which implicitly encourage players to take advantages of those features to shorten their travelling time.
Two players can play together in cooperative mode. The stages become easier under two players’ effort. Players can take different jobs to make combat more efficient. Chance of survival is multiplied as players can revive their dead allies by sharing their health. However, the communication between players is purely based on communication applications outside the game. A labeling feature that targets enemies or position the next area to explore will be helpful for strangers.
Overall, Roboquest has a well-designed game mechanics that provides player enriching re-playable gaming experience. Every single feature is simple enough, and even old school. There is no astonishing graphics, no attractive soundtrack, and no impressive storylines. This indie game utilizes its limited resource wisely in its postive-feedback game mechanics, as I feel thrilled in challenging myself to shoot down more enemies and sprinting forwards. I am looking forward to its complete version, which will be released this year.