Aug 23, 2012

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Rigonauts Review

Rigonauts Review

I am sure everyone remembers K’NEX. K’NEX were similar to LEGOs and Lincoln Logs where you piece parts together to make something. The attraction to K’NEX was that things you make actually moved. Half the time, the contraptions never worked as intended or never worked at all. This is similar to my experience with Engient, Inc’s game Rigonauts.

In Rigonauts, the game starts with you learning that you just escaped the evil overlord and landed on a remote island. You think you have escaped, but you are met with enemy after enemy that wants to destroy your ship. You control multiple materials like bone, stone, and wood, and guns like cannons, laser guns, and mortar guns. You must defeat each enemy that stands in your way to escape. Each level poses new challenges with one or more enemy ships.

The game is strategy based. You set up your ship for perfect defense and offense before you set it free to do battle. All the controls are point-and-click to make the building experience as easy to understand as possible. Once a piece is placed, you can use the control wheel to move the piece in any direction. You must be careful which pieces you choose to use for the ship, however. Knowing what the enemy ships’ weaknesses are is half of the strategy. Once you gather which materials your enemies are using and which guns they are using, you can begin to build your ship with materials to defend yourself from the enemy guns and add guns to break through enemy defenses. Do not forget to click a spot on the enemy machine to aim at it. If it looks like your ship is not strong enough to defeat the opponent you can use the “Stop” button to return to the building screen or the “Fast Forward” button if it is taking too long.

What kept me coming back for more was the challenge of getting three stars on each level (111 stars and over 30 levels). Three stars on a level means that you were able to complete the level with minimal guns and materials. It sounds simple, but it was in fact very hard to do. Since the battle plays out on its own with you watching, as you are forced to wait as Lady Luck plays a cruel game on your ship.

The game’s cartoon-like graphics and good sound effects and music may be enough to keep you building, but a few issues exist within the game that cannot be overlooked. A few times material and guns would get stuck and become untargetable; however the biggest issue for me is the fact that you can use one basic design strategy throughout the entire game. Once I realized what design worked for me, only slight changes between levels needed to be made. Not much incentive is given to vary ship designs. The fact that after building the ship all is left up to luck makes for frustrating evenings trying to figure out what in the basic design needs to be changed slightly. At times, it was just pointing a log in a different direction.

The premise and ideas are solid and charming, but some design flaws keep it from reaching its full potential. It is a shame the game cannot be given a higher score because of the issues, but I’m hoping a future update (if possible) may fix some of these issues and make the game a little more interesting. In the end, when your little ship takes down an enemy monstrosity, you still get the undeniable feeling of satisfaction that every gamer craves.

Platform: PC
Genre: Strategy
Release Date: 8/7/2012
Developer: Engient, Inc
Publisher: Engient, Inc
ESRB Rating: NR
MSRP: $9.99