Robot Master in Review – I, for one, welcome our new Robot Masters

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I was first struck by the ‘look’ of Reiner Knizia’s Robot Master, with its cartoon robots it looks like something out of a retro-futuristic Chuck Jones cartoon. I had no idea what the game was going to entail, though it looked vaguely puzzle-like and therefore up my alley. Turns out, I was right, and just as the developer claims “it’s an easy to learn, hard to master” game.

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Apparently, this is a card game that’s been around for some time, I’ve just never heard of it. What you have are 36 cards, with a face value of 0 through 5 (six of each). A card will be drawn for you from the deck, and you will have to place it on the board in a grid of five by five squares. Once you’ve placed your first card down (which can be put anywhere on the board,) all remaining cards will have to be placed adjacent to a previously placed one, until you run out of squares (note, with 25 squares you will run out of squares before you run out of cards). The goal is to maximize your score on each row and column, by adding together the face values of the cards. The lowest number on a column or row is your final tally. There are some additional rules to keep things interesting. Doubling up on a particular card in a row or column will equate to 10x the face value of that card (instead of adding them together), and triple cards equals 100 points regardless of face value. So when you’ve been given a zero, you want to try and gather them as best you can to maximize their potential score.

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And that’s all there is to actually playing the game. There is a nice set of instructions as well as an online high score chart and a pass and play versus mode you can use to play against a friend. The colorful graphics make for a great design consistent through the entire game, and it’s the drive to want to get a better score that will keep you coming back. The lack of any depth to the game is really the only thing keeping this title back – perhaps variations on the game mode – but as an adaptation of this card game, it seems very well done (for someone who has admittedly never played the original). I give it a Grab It rating.

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App Summary
Title:Reiner Knizia’s Robot Master (v1.2)Developer:Conlan Rios
Price:$0.99App Size:2.4MB
  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Fun to play, nice to look at
  • No real depth to the game besides the one mode

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