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Indie Corner: Mayan Death Robots: Arena

Mayan Death Robots has been playable on PC for over a year now and managed to gather some positive reviews since its release. One of the main criticisms it received, however, was that this multiplayer-focused game was only playable with a friend in local multiplayer, without an online component. Sileni Studios listened to this criticism and is about to release Mayan Death Robots: Arena, an updated version of the original game that will support online multiplayer.

Mayan mayhem

The game comes with a light story that is basically included to help you get familiar with the gameplay mechanics and different playable characters. Intergalactic Sports TV is broadcasting battles between two robots that take place on Earth during the age when Mayan civilizations ruled the Americas. These Mayans worship the robots since they think they are gods who descended from the sky and blessed them with their appearance. The Mayans help the robot that is on their side while attacking the enemy’s robot ‘god’ when it gets too close to them. Nothing more happens in the story, but like I said, it’s there to let you test out the gameplay. Playing through the story mode will unlock additional robots to play with, but you can also use the ‘unlock everything’ button in the settings menu if you don’t want to go through that hassle.

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There are 10 different robots you can select

Pure chaos

The gameplay of Mayan Death Robots is obviously inspired by the classic Worms franchise. You and your opponent are placed on a map. The objective is simple, destroy your opponent’s power core. This can be done by shooting explosives (or other objects like bananas) at it, or by destroying the area around it so that it falls down into the abyss. You can also shoot directly at your opponent, but killing him won’t make you the victor of the game. A killed robot simply misses a turn and is then placed back on the map.

Each round consists out of two turns. The first turn lets you choose whether you will attack the opponent or fortify your base with additional pieces of land. The second turn will then let you aim your weapon or give you Tetris-shaped building blocks that you can place wherever you want in a specified range. Unlike the Worms games, these turns are not turn-based but rather time-based. You and your opponent have to perform actions at the same time, instead of waiting for each other’s turn to end. This makes the gameplay fast and engaging since you have to come up with your next move while still playing your current one.

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Placing blocks of land can provide additional cover for your power core

A unique gameplay element in Mayan Death Robots is the inclusion of boss fights during battles. While fighting your opponent, the both of you can suddenly get attacked by a boss. Since both of you are taking damaging, you have to work together in order to defeat the boss. The one who defeats said boss receives a power up item that either boosts your attack or raises your power core’s defense. The game shines the most during these boss battles, especially when you’re playing with a friend since the computer AI isn’t exactly that challenging.

Multiplayer

It should be obvious by now that Mayan Death Robots is supposed to be played with other people, which is why Mayan Death Robots: Arena includes an online multiplayer mode. While the original version of the game certainly wasn’t bad, it suffered a lot from the decision to make the multiplayer mode local-only. That is why the new online component is such a welcome addition. At the moment, the online component will only be available in the Xbox One version. I do hope that the original game on PC will receive an update that installs the online mode because it’s easily the best part of the game.

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Fighting against a boss in the form of a dragon with a stranger from the internet is surprisingly a fun experience

Verdict

Mayan Death Robots was already a fun game to play with friends in local multiplayer, but the Arena version makes it so much better with its online component. Whether you are looking for a fun game to play with friends or with strangers, this one might be worthy of your time. Just don’t expect too much of the story mode.

4 out of 5:

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