Combining the lore of an ancient civilization with turn-based robotic face-offs comes Mayan Death Robots:
The team behind the game is Sileni Studios, a Belgian independent games studio comprised of Karel Crombecq (programming/design) and Erwin Heylen (artist). Besides some conventions in Belgium, PAX East 2015 was essentially the big premiere of Mayan Death Robots in the United States.
The mechanics of the game are pretty simple. Mayan Death Robots presents a new twist on an old school style Tank Wars or Worms game. A match requires two real players, as there is no support for a computer player. Each player can control one of ten unique robots in a match on a variety of maps. On the map, players have to protect their own power core, while trying to destroy their opponents. If you destroy another player’s power core, you win. If a robot is destroyed in the battle, then a new robot will spawn in its place. Each player has a time window where they can select an action such as shooting missiles at the core or placing land barriers for protection. However, when the time window has expired, both players initiate their actions at the same time. Since both players initiate actions simultaneously, the game requires strategy and patience while juggling which action to pick, aiming, and preparing for what your enemy will select.
“We find turn-based games where you have to wait for the other person to take their turn to be pretty boring, so our goal was to create a game where both players make their moves at the same time”, says Crombecq. As players become more familiar with the controls, the game will play even faster. While playing at PAX, I felt very little down time, Mayan Death Robots is a genuinely fun game, especially with friends or siblings that want some friendly competition with a twist of creativity.
One of the most impressive aspects of Mayan Death Robots is the game’s attention to Mayan lore. Each robot is based on a Mayan God. In the mythos of the game, you begin to decipher ancient Mayan writings and discover that these robots were actually present in the time of the ancient Mayan civilization. However, the ancient Mayans believed these robots were Gods and treated them as such, which has greatly angered the true Mayan Gods. All of these aspects are portrayed in the game in a variety of clever ways. For example, one of the true Mayan Gods may unexpectedly reign terror onto part of the map during a match, or the small Mayans may attack one of the robots if it travels to an opposing players side.
The game has already been Greenlit on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux, and will also be released for PS4 and Xbox One. According to Crombecq, we can expect to see the game’s official release in August of this year, but due to different publishers with differing preferences, the game will be released to different platforms at slightly different times. Mayan Death Robots will retail at $15USD.