A case for Robot Rising as the Reese's Cup of Facebook games

Robot Rising preview
Robot Rising preview

It already sounds like one delicious social game. But after some time with Tencent Boston and Stomp Games' first-ever game for Facebook, Robot Rising, this machine-focused action role-playing romp (RPG), it undoubtedly looks scrumptious. As Tencent Boston VP and GM Jeff Goodsill guides us through the metallic sheen and fiery explosions of Robot Rising's world, he makes the delectable analogy.

"I like to think [that] in a pure Diablo style, that's your peanut butter. Then, on the social side, you have games like FarmVille or whatever, [which] are your chocolate," Goodsill says. "We're taking the best of those, putting them together and making a Reese's."


Unfortunately, there is no chocolate or peanut butter in sight amid the polymers, alloys and conductors that build the world of Robot Rising, but Tencent more than makes for that in the upcoming RPG's punchy, gripping play style and gorgeous Unity-powered graphics. And thanks to Unity's linking up with Flash (the most popular tool for making web-based games) creator Adobe, Robot Rising will come with no download.

"We made this game in about nine months. So, we [did] not have to build our own engine, and we could start right away," Goodsill reveals. "We built a lot of extra tools around Unity to help us work effectively, but Unity also allows us to get it to other platforms." So, yes, the Tencent Boston team is considering bringing the game to iOS in the long term, but back to the good stuff.

Robot Rising screens
Robot Rising screens

Robot Rising sees players assume the role of a rogue artificial intelligence, an AI. In fact, every player in the RPG is, in the game's lengthy fiction, an AI that's part of a resistance group fighting against, well, a stronger group of AIs. Of course, the AIs (i.e. you and every other player) do battle through controlling fully-customizable, undoubtedly destructive robots.

Like any good Facebook game, you have a home base to build up and out over time that your friends can visit to help speed up the progress of your buildings and shower you with gifts. But that chocolaty goodness is merely the wrapper for the salty filling that is the combat in Robot Rising.

Just like classics such as Diablo, players click around to make their robots navigate the countless shiny corridors and ramps that line the maps in Robot Rising. Attacking enemies is as simple as clicking them, and avoiding enemy missiles and other slow weapons takes just clicking out of the way in time. But battling enemy machines goes slightly deeper with repair items to keep your robot alive and secondary weapons like frost and fragmentation grenades, especially as the difficulty ramps up.

"The nature of our game is much quicker combat, so you're going to be kiting monsters into those different blast zones," Goodsill teases. "When the game ratchets up in difficulty, you can pick a hard level as well. Then you're really going to have to start using strategy in your combat. So, it's real-time strategic combat. I think that will be quite different from what's out there."

Most weapons have what Goodsill refers to as an "alt fire" option, a secondary attack that players can use once every few seconds to either devastating or debilitating effect. Since each robot can equip up to four weapons, players can arm their robots with four unique abilities. For instance, the rocket-propelled grenade launcher (also "RPG") comes jacked with cluster bombs that rain fire down on enemies, while the 10KK Blaster can freeze opponents will a coolant cloud.

Robot Rising images
Robot Rising images

Every ability in Robot Rising, like most occurrences in the game, fire off to plumes of flame (or ice) and smoke, peppered with bits of metal and other robot parts. There are seemingly countless customization options at players' disposals that affect everything right down to exactly how much damage points you'll inflict on an enemy per shot, but it all amounts to the same result: beautiful explosions.

Frankly, this is one of the first Facebook games we've seen in which you can turn the graphics quality up or down. But don't go thinking this is one of those benchmark "hardcore" games that releases every few years. "Because it's scalable, you will be able to run Robot Rising on a wide variety [of computers]," Goodsill says. "Because it's Facebook, it needs to play on a fairly low-end system."

Robot Rising screenshots
Robot Rising screenshots

This is all well and good, but how does Tencent Boston plan to attract the proverbial unicorn of Facebook gaming, the traditional game fans, when Robot Rising lands this fall?

"Basically, if you build a great game, people will come to the platform. And we think, by bringing high production quality to a browser that you play with no download--you play quickly within 10, 20 seconds--no hour download with a patch," Goodsill promises. "No lengthy tutorial. For a really core gamer, this is probably more mid-core. For a Facebook game, it's more hardcore. We think we're taking the best of both and merging them together."

As for that sweet and salty peanut butter cup of a social game that Tencent Boston looks to craft, it looks like all the elements needed for such a treat are there. Just don't ask about the taste ... at least not until Robot Rising launches on Facebook this fall.

Are you psyched for Robot Rising on Facebook? Does this look like the "hardcore" social game that the masses are waiting for? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.