‘VOLT: Robot Battle Arena’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Although the robot-fighting game genre has been around since the heyday of Robot Wars in the early 2000s, now you can savour the destruction of all your engineering and programming work in the comfort of your own home.
VOLT: Robot Battle Arena is an arena fighting game for two to four players designed by Emerson Matsuuchi and published by Nazca Games in 2014. In the game, you control a fighting robot. In each round, all of the players program their robots’ actions, and then the sequence is run with robots colliding with and shooting each other. Players score points by ending the round on a control node or destroying other robots. The first player to reach five points wins.
VOLT is fast. The programming mechanics are very easy to pick up and the actions resolve very quickly. Turn sequence plays a large role in the strategy of the game, with shorter moves and weaker attacks resolving first. Most of the gameplay mechanics are in the turn resolution sequence, so it’s obvious who moves first.
The board layout is very simple, composed of a nine-by-nine grid with control nodes, pits, and repair centres.
The game plays well with two players, but is designed for three to four players. There are some weaponry advancements and game mechanics that can be added to flavour the game for more advanced players.
I find the simplicity of VOLT refreshing. Its short game length lends itself to tournament or round-robin play, unlike other action programming games that can run over two hours due to more complex boards, hazards, and longer programming sequences.
I would recommend VOLT to any playing group, especially those with a few engineers or other tech savvy people. Some people aren’t comfortable with the blind programming mechanics, but may still find joy in the game’s well-choreographed chaos.