Welcome back to Click To Play , the new-old regular series that takes a look at a new browser-based curio each week to further the fine art of procrastination. We accept absolutely no responsibility if you get caught at work/school/uni gloriously wasting time on the games listed here when you should be working.
This week: Assembots
Assembots is basically what you'd get if you crossed robots with Lemmings.
Each stage sees you attempting to guide a certain number of robots from one factory to the next and, just like the eponymous heroes of Lemmings, your mechanical chums in this will simply trundle forwards until you give them a new instruction or they hit a wall. The game eases you into things with a smattering of commands available from a horizontal array at the bottom of the screen, and to begin with you'll dig through dirt walls and platforms, climb walls, and turn into stationary pillars that can be used to activate switches and prevent robots from hurling themselves off of cliffs. You'll only have a limited number of these commands, however, so it's important to think carefully before applying them to a robot -- you simple click the command (or use the hotkeys) and then click the robot you want to apply it to.
The commands vary in terms of length -- some, such as climbing, will last until you apply another; other, such as digging, will only last for clearing a single obstacle. You can pause the action with the spacebar, which becomes rather handy when there are lots of robots onscreen. It's also the only time you can turn robots around to face the opposite way, which again can be useful for diverting them from hazards and chasms of death. Additionally, there are options to slow down and speed up time, along with a button for instantly restarting the level should things not go to plan. There's usually a quota of robots that need moving to the next factory, meaning that you might not need all of the bots available to you in a given level, and so those looking for the highest scores will want to tackle levels in the quickest, most efficient fashion possible.
It works very well indeed, although an expanded soundtrack would have been nice -- the music gets very old very quickly. The presentation is otherwise rather charming, and the robots do a little victory dance whenever you complete a level, which pleases me more than it should to be honest. The difficulty curve is smooth, and Lemmings aficionados will have no problem breezing through the early levels, but it's nice to see later ones prove quite cerebral indeed, especially if you're going for efficiency. Sadly, I feel that the game could have done more to break down the challenges of each level in terms of feedback - -that is to say, it would have been nice to have a "pass" mark and a specific "challenge" goal, and to see how the score you're given is actually reached. I enjoyed myself regardless, mind, and it's the sort of game that I really wouldn't mind paying a little something for if there was a level editor and the option for community expansion.