First of all, I feel I must apologize for the name of this game, as it is truly horrendous, both to type and to read. Why do developers come up with these names? Robot Gladi8tor, ugh..

Now that is out of the way, on to the game, which gets off to a bad start with the story.

A space marine who gets his squad wiped out is brought back from the brink as a cyborg (guess which number) on a derelict ship. He rebels against his new masters, and equipped with a set of cybernetic arms, takes on a variety of gigantic robotic enemies in order to try and escape his fate. It is all to do with a Running Man style TV show. It is hardly compelling, and you really do not start to care about the fate of your character until a fair way into the game. It is hackneyed and badly scripted, and hamfisted in its execution, and it is only the interesting exploration that hooks you in. It is the kind of game where it is easier to make up your own tale as you play.

The game is an Infinity Blade clone, and a pretty good one. Played from a first person perspective, you must swipe away at the massive robotic enemies in a way very similar to its inspiration, although there are extra elements, such as special weapons, that help to differentiate the game somewhat.

The dodging element takes really good timing, and can get difficult, but with a bit of practise most of the enemies, with a few very notable exceptions, can be beaten in good time. You have a surprising amount of freedom to move around the ship, and there are a few puzzles to solve and non combat sections to find a way through, with many tools and even mini robots that help you out. It is here that the game is at it’s best and stands out from the crowd in many ways.

There are also a couple of on-rails sections, which are fast, and good fun. They really help to add a sense of variety to the package and, although they are not perfect, I am glad they were included.

The graphics on display here, courtesy of the Unreal Engine, are impressive. The environments are large and very well detailed, and it is easy to tell that a lot of attention and care went into them, although not half as much as was lavished on the robots, where the developers really went to town. Some of these guys are enormous, and really imposing. They have bags of character to them, although the animation is perhaps not what it could be. Another graphical oddity is the way humans are rendered, as they look really poor compared to the rest of the game, although you rarely see anyone else apart from yourself.

The game has a great soundtrack, and it really helps to get you pumped up for the big encounters in the game.

The exploration aspect of the game is great, the graphics are fantastic, and I liked the puzzles and enemies. The game is let down a little by the combat, which I felt lacked excitement and a little depth. With Infinity Blade, you always feel on the edge of your seat in combat, yet here it feels a bit like you are going through the motions. The story I really didn’t like, but if you are a fan of space marine mush then I suppose you might find it bearable.

In Conclusion

Overall, this is a difficult one to judge, as there is a lot to like here. It is let down in a couple of areas, but I still found the game to be an enjoyable experience. If exploring a spaceship filled with giant robots to battle, solving puzzles with a great set of visuals sounds like your thing, then Robot Gladi8tor for iPhone won’t let you down. If you are looking for a deep combat game, then there are better options on the App Store.

A decent exploration/combat game, if you can look past the name, story and imperfect combat then you will have a good time with this.

This review originally appeared on The Smartphone App Review (February 16, 2012).