There was a very strange cartoon that I used to watch called The Mysterious Cities of Gold. It was a very confusing show that had my young head spinning when I watched it. Thanks to the Internet I have now figured out what in earth was going on in that show, and it was quite bonkers if the synopses I've read are anything to go by. I'm sharing this memory with you as I cannot help myself thinking about it when I play Mayan Death Robots thanks to its setting and theme.
Mayan Death Robots has players taking on the role of alien machines that have found themselves in 1st century Mayan-controlled Central America. These alien robots have recruited the local Mayans (who believe these machines to be gods) to help them return to the depths of space from whence they came as well as take out any other space-dwelling machine that gets in their way.
Mayan Death Robots is based on a now 25 year old MSDOS game called Scorched Earth. In this game you had two tanks that fired missiles in turns against one another from stationary positions in a mountainous environment. Whoever got a direct hit won a point and the battle continued to the next round.
If this sounds at all familiar you may be more used to Worms or possibly Death Tank on the SEGA Saturn, which both boasted a similar gameplay mechanic. The big difference with Mayan Death Robots is that the turns happen simultaneously.
Another unique aspect of Mayan Death Robots is that moving is an action a player can take, but ultimately it should be with the aim of getting a good shot on the opponent's power core and not the opponent themselves.
This is because it is the immobile power core that is the crux of the battle, for once that explodes it's game over for whoever that core belongs to. This changes the dynamic of Mayan Death Robots from the other games mentioned as it switches the focus away from the player's avatar to an object they must protect while trying to take out their opponents immovable glowing box thingy.
One more key aspect to Mayan Death Robots that deserves a mention is the power-ups that exist, which serve to create a sense of balance within each bout. As one player starts to gain the upper hand, the other player is bestowed power ups that curtail their opponent's advancement. Think of it like the blue shell in Mario Kart, only a little more subtle.
Mayan Death Robots is out now on Windows PC, Mac and Linux.