Man vs. Robots (Juan Baruque)


Man vs. Robots is a puzzle game about surviving killer robots. – [Author’s description]

[Play Online (HTML5)]


  1. If anyone’s interested, I stumbled across a post on the DROD forums a while back that partly traces the history of the game lineage (alternately called Chase, Daleks or Robots) this game clones back to the 1970s:

  2. Reached level 5 then learned you can actually teleport to an occupied tile. Pretty cool while it lasted.

  3. Wow, my game is on the front page of Free Indie Games. I feel like I’m officially a legitimate indie developer now.

    Teleporting is random and can cause instant death, and that’s why you’re only supposed to use it as a last resort. It can feel frustrating sometimes, but I think if it took you out of dangerous situations automatically it would be too easy to just teleport out of danger whenever you find yourself in one of those, and that would make the game not challenging at all.

    • Yeah, an unlucky teleport is the only possible game ending trigger besides making an obviously wrong move. So, as you mention, it works to keep teleporting to a last resort maneuver.

      But the ruleset becomes a bit threadbare when that fact is combined with a level in which you’re forced to teleport as your first move — because at that point you realize that your overall progression is being capped much more forcefully by the random number generator than by your ability to puzzle through the possible set of moves to determine the ideal one.

      It sounds like this was a limitation of the original game as well, since its Wikipedia article mentions later variations that included a limited number of “safe teleports” per level.

      But I bet there’s a still more elegant solution to this problem lurking around in the space of potential rulesets here.

      (It’s otherwise a really satisfying game!)

    • I don’t like how you can’t stay in one spot for a turn. That was a vital part of my strategy of the original.

  4. I like how you can make the right decisions and still die, but maybe that’s just me. 😀 But the fact that the only way to die once you learn the game and get moderately good at it is random teleporation bothers me.

    Making teleporation safe would destroy the challenge, and I’ve already explained why. Limiting the number of random teleports would still make it unfair, since that can still kill you or get you into unsolvable puzzles. Limiting safe teleportation could still get you into unsolvable puzzles. I like how teleportation can save you or kill you, and I would like to keep it like that.

    Something I think could work is only generating levels that can be solved. You could still teleport yourself into another location if you get into a bad position or you can’t see the solution and want to try something else. That way just using the regular moves would be the smart option, teleporting could still be a dangerous shortcut, and you would always get a fair chance, even when teleporting would still be the only cause of death. At least it would be a fate you earned. That shouldn’t be too hard to code. Maybe version 1.3.

    Thanks for the feedback!