Clone Drone in the Danger Zone (which is, by the way, a great title) is nothing short of bloody good robot-slaughtering fun.
In this third person slash-’em-up, you play as a human mind encased in a robotic gladiatorial shell whose only mission is to take the fight to those nasty robots in an arena-based fight to the death! That’s perma-death, by the way. Though you can unlock new upgrades for your robot body, none of these will carry over to your next incarnation, so this is a game where skill is pretty much everything.
Clone Drone in the Danger Zone is still in Early Access but, currently, boasts three game modes: story mode, endless mode and challenge mode. These may sound pretty self-explanatory but I’m going to give you some more details anyway. Story mode is almost the game’s tutorial; setting you up against increasingly difficult groups of enemies as you fight for the liberation of human minds (no telling how that one’s going to turn out!), endless mode sees you come up against randomised enemies in random arenas but you’re still able to upgrade as normal. Challenge mode is where things get really tough as you’re pitted against fearsome foes or forced to battle with limited weaponry or a random choice of upgrades, to name but a few.
The combat itself, as the core of the game, is solid. It’s not too strenuous but it does leave room for tactics and improvement. The same button lets you slash both vertically and, by turning at the same time, horizontally, you can block enemy attacks and, with certain upgrades, even deflect incoming arrows. While you can unlock another two weapons (the slow, hard-hitting hammer and the energy-guzzling but infinitely long-ranged bow), the sword is where it’s at and it’s clear that this has gotten the most love. As it should.
Combat damage is handled extremely well – depending on the depth of your cuts you can take out chunks of your enemies’ armour or even lop limbs off. Higher slashes can separate heads from bodies and a well placed cut across the middle can literally cut your foe in two. But, all being fair in love and robot death-games, your enemies can do exactly the same thing to you – so be prepared to go into battle hopping if you’re none to careful where you put your knees.
Enemy types are fairly limited but the game makes up for it by sending them after you in various numbers and configurations. Play through so far and you’ll hit the spidertron: a bomb-slinging arachnid whose legs you need to cut down to size before you can tackle its cuboid head. Further on and you’ll meet upgraded versions of the original enemies with more abilities and tougher armour. Fortunately for you upgrades can be purchased at the end of every round and you’ve even got the chance to stock up on a limited amount of additional clones (like lives) so that you can carry on the fight if you lose.
Though your human/robot mashup of an avatar doesn’t speak, the game has some excellently humorous robot announcers to provide all of the charm and necessary comedy relief you need. And you’re gonna need it when you’ve died to the same pair of fire-sword wielding robots five times already… Clone Drone in the Danger Zone‘s no slouch when it comes to graphics and audio, either: though it’s got that whole blocky, 3D pixel-art thing going on, it still looks good and, while there may only be one battle song at the moment, I never found myself getting bored of its insistently pumping rhythm.
So, if you’re worried about the coming robot apocalypse, and you should be, you could do far worse than arming yourself with Clone Drone in the Danger Zone; if only to see how many different ways those dastardly automatons can think up for you to die. But at least it’s a laugh, eh?