Robots are, arguably, the best toys. A good chunky robo-figurine just can't be beaten.
Only, perhaps, by cars. They look cool, can do jumps, and loop the loops. And stuff. Cars are pretty great.
Well, if you asked Darran Thomas, CEO of Cohort Games, to pick a winner between robots and cars, he'd probably say both are best.
And that’s not cheating. Why? Well, because as the creative director of Cirkits: Toy Robot Racing, he has overseen an almighty mash-up of the two. Darran calls it a "Combat Racer".
“If I have to put a label on it, I see it as a fusion between a racing gaming and a free runner. But it draws in influences from lots of genres. At first glance, it can look like just another endless-running game, but it’s not.”
“We think the blend of gameplay styles and polished 3D visuals brings something fresh to the table. And while it will strike a familiar feel, we believe it delivers a unique experience on the App Store.”
So, what exactly does that gameplay involve?
Darran explains that Cirkits: Toy Robot Racing was designed with multiple layers of competition in mind, so players can just blast around the track as fast as they can, or compete in a high score war with their friends and really exploit all that the game has to offer.
There are 15 tracks available. They are divided into three tiers of difficulty. Along the way, new hazards are introduced, including laser turrets and rocket launchers.
While guiding your robot around the 3D race course, you will encounter a number of enemies in the game.
Darran tells us, “The ‘Blocker’ will try to impede you and the ‘Attacker’ will punch the player if he gets near.”
“Players can also battle against a MIMIC. This is a robot that uses the player’s best score data on any given track, but is not exactly a ghost racer. It uses past data combined with AI, so the player can take it out - or it can take you out - making it a real challenge.”
This is not just a single-player game, however.
You can challenge friends with best lap times or challenge them with scores over Game Center (where your opponents will have to contend with the presence of your battling robot as well as the time limit). This asynchronous competition is ideal for mobile devices.
For those thinking strategically, there is a boost chip system that is used to fit out their robots and improve their performance. You collect these boost chips in mystery boxes in-game or find them by destroying enemy robots on the track.
Finally, there are also Turbo power-ups that allow you to fly around the track destroying every enemy in you path. Oh, and a magnet that attracts all pick-ups in range.
But it wasn’t the gameplay that gave Cohort Studios the biggest challenge during development.
“Getting to grips with the free-to-play model was difficult," Darran states.
"A lot of people regard this model with some suspicion, so we wanted to make sure that we had an ethical approach from day one.
"We are still learning a lot, but we wanted to make sure that if you are going to charge players for something, you need to make sure that it actually has the equivalent monetary value, and that you’re not just trying to exploit them.”
Sounds like a fair assessment. And does Darran think they succeeded?
“Yes. I’m proud of the whole game. When you embark on any creative endeavor, there are always things you look at and think that could be better. But you have to do the best you can in the time you have, with the resources you have. I think that we managed to do that.”
But Cohort Studios aren’t resting on their laurels.
They’ve been busy at work on the first update to Cirkits: Toy Robot Racing. In this update, which has just been submitted to Apple, the developers have included a whole new character called Angel.
In future, they will also be introducing new enemies know as the Shooter and Reaper, and a whole new Elite Tier with five new challenging tracks to race around.
You can download Cirkits: Toy Robot Racing as an iOS Universal app for free on iTunes.
Check out the trailer for the game below.