Extra, extra! Read all about it!
Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai
Release Date: October 9, 2014
Platforms: Smartphones & tablets
Category: Puzzle Strategy
“I will be downloading this on my tablet when I get home!” Contained within this article is the official press release, product description, key features, Developer Q&A, screen shots, and trailer. Enjoy!
New Ubisoft Mobile Game The Bot Squad™: Puzzle Battles Now Available
“A Unique Mix of Classic Puzzle and Tower Defense Gameplay in a Futuristic Setting.”
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 16, 2014 – Today, Ubisoft announced that The Bot Squad™: Puzzle Battles, a free-to-play strategy game that mixes classic Puzzle and Tower Defense gameplay, is now available on the App Store and Google Play.
Played both offensively and defensively, players must help the futuristic Dynamo City collect and protect orbs, the power source that fuels the city, from a rival robot. Available on smartphones and tablets, in The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battles players control robotic units that search for orbs in obstacle ridden maps.
The robots’ unique abilities can be combined to navigate trap-ridden arenas when searching for orbs. Players must also deploy defensive units to protect their orbs from waves of invading robot forces, by strategically placing blockers and attack bots. With four different strategic puzzle modes, 180 stages to complete and dozens of robots to manage, players will have to carefully contemplate their combat strategies as The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battlesprogressively becomes more difficult.
Developed by Ubisoft Shanghai, The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battles will receive post-launch support with regular free content updates that include new stages, units and modes.
Lead your Bots to victory in an epic quest for energy, paved with mind bending puzzles & frantic battles!
THE BOT SQUAD: Puzzle Battles is a brand new puzzle/strategy game by Ubisoft that twists and redefines classic Puzzle and Tower Defense gameplay and takes fun and challenge to a whole new level!
- Play both Attack & Defense
- Combine your Bots’ unique abilities to navigate trap-ridden arenas and to defend your energy against waves of voracious enemies!
- Compete in 180 challenging puzzle stages
- Challenge yourself with 4 different strategic puzzle modes! Collect and protect stars in battle and use them to open new areas with increasingly formidable stages. See how your friends are doing on the map and try to stay ahead in the race.
- Unlock and Upgrade your Squad
- Unlock new Bots with unique abilities and cool Power-ups that give you an edge in battle. Modify your Bots through upgrades to beat the most advanced stages.
- Enjoy a full story campaign
- Learn about the on-going struggle for energy that tears apart Dynamo City as you progress through the adventure.
Stanislas Mettra, Creative Director at Ubisoft Shangai
Wang Xu, Producer at Ubisoft Shanghai
Qiu Xu Feng, Art Director at Ubisoft Shanghai
- To start things off, what is The Bot Squad? Please tell us more about the game and your team.
- Wang Xu: The initial concept for The Bot Squad came from Stanislas, our Creative Director. We’re all big fans of tower defense games, so we thought it would be cool to play offense as well as defense. Our core team is around 10 people, with most of them having been in the video game industry for over 10 years.
- Stanislas Mettra: After many years of console development and seeing our teams growing exponentially, several of us felt the need to go back to smaller scale production, which would allow us to be much closer to the game we make. Ubisoft was also starting to develop a mobile gaming division and the executives liked our proposal for an innovative tower-defense/puzzle game, so here we are.
- What’s the gameplay for The Bot Squad like? What type of players did you design the game for?
- Wang Xu: Most of us worked on console games before, so naturally we wanted to create The Bot Squad for console players. However, they’re getting more and more busy and don’t have time to sit in front of the TV to play games. Our focus then turned to accessibility while being able to maintain The Bot Squad’s deep gameplay, so we turned to mobile devices.
- Qiu Xu Feng: TBS is a game for all players and isn’t targeted at a specific demographic. We hope everyone can enjoy the game, so we tried to keep a neutral design for the UI, characters, color scheme, etc.
- Stanislas Mettra: It’s a game rooted in the tradition of old school gaming: simple, lighthearted, and filled with wacky sci-fi art, but with deep enough gameplay and many features to discover and explore.
- You say the game is a new IP designed exclusively for mobile and tablets. What do you mean by that?
- Wang Xu: Design for the controls, camera, and gameplay are all completely new and made just for mobile and tablet devices. We wanted to create something different for players.
- Qiu Xu Feng: We have many games with existing universes, but TBS is different. We have no reference and needed to start from zero.
- Stanislas Mettra: It uses many of the cool key points of mobile gaming: short sessions, lighthearted, no heavy cinematic, focus on gameplay, big accessibility… The game was designed around the strong points of the touch screen as a controller.
- What was the most challenging part when developing the game?
- Qiu Xu Feng: There are many roles in the game with different functions, sizes, and colors. Most mobile devices have a small screen, so we put a lot of effort in ensuring that each robot maintains a high degree of recognition.
- Stanislas Mettra: One core challenge we faced was making the controls precise and enjoyable. Once we had the Bots and Towers controls quite polished, we still wanted to increase the amount of comfort and precision. We implemented a time-freezing system that stops the action as long as you hold your finger and drag the path. That helped a lot in giving players precise control and putting an emphasis on the puzzle gameplay. This allowed us, in return, to make some really precise challenges in some advanced levels.
- What’s your favorite BOT and why?
- Wang Xu: Tank! It’s hard to say why, but maybe because of how cute he is? I also think he looks quite similar to our Art Director, Qiu Xu Feng. I really enjoy seeing he walks into a group of enemies and… BOOM! XD
- Qiu Xu Feng: I participated in designing every robot, so it’s not easy to choose. But… probably the Crusher. He took us a week to design, so it’s kind of like a love-hate thing.
- Stanislas Mettra: On offense, the Blitzer is my favorite. He can completely save the day in those time-limited levels. For defense, the Piercing Blaster is my weapon of choice to fry entire lines of enemies at once.
- Tell us about the world and characters. Where did your inspiration come from?
- Qiu Xu Feng: We mainly considered functionality during character design. I am confident you can find out each robot’s function just by looking at them. For example, the “Tank” is a defensive bot, so it looks fat and slow. On the other hand, the Crusher has huge fists, well, crush his enemies.
- Stanislas Mettra: Robots fit well for our theme. We needed grid-based environments, which is obviously not an organic and natural thing, so we went for a futuristic robotic world. Plus, robots leave enough creative freedom and it’s very easy to give them a “form follows function” design, where players can easily identify what each robot is best at.
- Is there a political metaphor hidden in this story?
- Stanislas Mettra: Not so political, but it mostly revolves around the theme of an energy crisis which is a big issue for humanity in both the present and the future. But all this is treated in an absurd fashion!
- Finally, do you have any good tips to share with future players?
- Wang Xu: If you log in using Facebook and invite your friends, you can send batteries and gems to each other!
- Qiu Xu Feng: Do not waste your Tank!
- Stanislas Mettra: The Disruptors are super powerful weapons, but it’s a kind of cheat! Each level can be won without using them if your bots are upgraded to match the current level.
For more information on The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battles please visit http://www.
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