Robo-War

Pinside rating

This game received 49 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.610 /10

7.61

Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #159 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.



Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game Design: 7.579

Artwork: 7.063

Sounds/Music: 7.814

Other Aspects: 7.66


Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 2 of us have rated this game.

7.498

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Found 22 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 22 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
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6.414/10
39 days ago
Music and sound is obviously great (second to TX Sector though). The spinner shot is sweet, but the game lacks much else. I've owned it for 2 years and it just feels...clunky. The loop shot on the right never really goes very smoothly. The Ramp is only doable when the ball comes down the right in-lane and off the flipper with speed. The Alpha targets resetting each ball is annoying...and there isn't much point to hitting them anyway. The game relies on its well-earned reputation for great music. I just don't see much else there. I'm still resistant to sell it though. I do like rocking out to the tunes, just wish the playfield and rules had more going on.
8.282/10
10 months ago
What a "sleeper" of a game! At first glance, it looks very basic and lacking depth, but boy oh boy is that far from the truth.

There are multiple ways to attack this one, with the goal being to spell "ROBOWAR" from completing the drops in order, completing the rollover lanes, or attacking the "BASE" drops. The spinner is lit from rolling through the rightmost in/outlane, and it absolutely rips (and has the most satisfying sound/feel) when you hit it cleanly. Whooeee! The bonus multipliers are various shots that move around the playfield, so it keeps it fresh.

The game has some cool "quirks"; the ramp has a lift for a shot underneath it (ala PinBot) to release a previously locked ball. The right in/outlane has a gate and an adjustable post that makes it possible to nudge the ball back into play. There is real strategy when to go for multiball, as the multipliers are dependent on how many banks of targets you've dropped.

As said, the sounds, music, and light show are incredible for a game of this vintage, even by today's standards. I didn't think this one would last or fit in the lineup, but I find myself playing it when I want a few quick games.

Very underrated game, that I don't think many people know about, or have played.
8.775/10
1 year ago
If I could rate Robowar an 11 in sounds, speech & music I would. The best 80's sound package ever. Speech that sounds like Soundwave from the Transformers & it has a soundtrack that I've actually listen to when I'm not playing pinball. This game just reeks of cool 80s nostalgia. Gottlieb was definitely trying to cash in on the popularity of Transformers at the time, without blatantly ripping the theme off.

And the the layout & gameplay are outstanding. It's fun to rip the spinner. The game is full of flashers. And Robots! At WAR! I mean come on! The only gripe I have is the backglass art. For robots at war, it could have been so much better.

Everyone gets a big hard on for TX-Sector, but Robowar is where it's at. I should have never passed on my opportunity to buy one. I'd love to have one next to my Alien Star
6.800/10
1 year ago
This is such a cool, quirky game. A lot of people knock it because it is a gottlieb, but...man, Is it fun!!
8.853/10
2 years ago
The soundtrack on this game is one of the best ever in an 80s pinball machine, it really fits the sci-fi theme! Best Gottlieb System 80 game to me.
8.644/10
2 years ago
At first glance, Robo-War looks like an out of date game that spelled out the writing on the wall for Gottlieb back in the late 80s... and if you compare it to games like Taxi and Earthshaker, it absolutely was. This is probably the best game you’ve never played.

But with the advantage of hindsight, and without the need for the game to compare competitively for arcade space, Robo-War is an absolute players dream game.

The game has multiple strategies that can be stacked differently depending on how you want to approach the game. The first main objective is to spell ROBOWAR. The second is attaining multiball. When going to spell ROBOWAR, you want to advance as many letters as you can early on in the game--as your progress is carried over ball to ball. Each letter is worth 10,000 points. While doing this, you want to advance the multiplier. You can rack up as much as a 15x bonus, which is applied to each letter. The bonus advance targets move around the playfield, so it forces the player to make a various shots around the playfield at different times.

In multiball, the player's objective is to hammer down the drop targets. You get 3,000 points TIMES the multiplier for each target during multiball--so it behooves the player to really focus on building the bonus multiplier each ball before working on other objectives (you can theoretically work the target value up to 45,000 points EACH). This score is compounded, but not added to the players final score until the end of the final ball. A shot up the ramp during multiball scores the player’s multi-bonus, but doesn’t reset it. You are your own best jackpot. Simple, but effective.

There's definitely more than meets the eye on this game, and it's a shame it's often overlooked.
-----

Pros:
--The music package is OUTSTANDING. Gottlieb based the soundtrack off of Gustav Holst's Orchestral Planet Suite "Mars: Bringer of War" and it's depth and breadth is unparalleled when compared with what William's was doing. I don't think any other game has an early century orchestral sountrack.
--Visually, this game stands out as well. It has great light shows, and while I'm not generally a fan of LEDs in games, this game BEGS to have a conversion done.
--The game is a shooters paradise. Care must be taken to shoot the drop targets in order, and "sweeping" the beta drop target bank is always satisfying. Especially when coupled with a good spinner rip. Good risk and reward here, and the lock qualification shot, while always available, is NEVER easy.

Cons:
--There's not much reward to completing everything, other than the crazy bonus score the player can accumulate when spelling out ROBOWAR and lighting special. Though, there is plenty of strategy.
--Speech is repetitive, but typical for the era.
--Flippers never seem strong enough. Luck and laser beam precision is needed to really make this game sing. Sometimes a successful lock shot feels more like luck than skill.

Overall, it's a real shame the game is so rare. People are missing out on a real gem. If you see one, play it.
7.632/10
2 years ago
So neat! Challenging and Fun!
7.124/10
3 years ago
Solid game. Overpriced. Like the music.
7.590/10
4 years ago
Just finished shopping a Robo-War. What a fun game! The key is strong/clean flippers and just the right pitch (refer to the manual’s suggestion). The ramp should not be a gimmy every single time.
Don’t just go for multiball right away. Work those top rollovers and build up the multiplier before activating, that way your drop targets will be worth more within multiball.
I really like how 80’s this game is with the cool walking AT-ST like walking robots and the X-wing looking ships. The music and sounds are top notch for the era. The game play is fun, but I think passed over during the time for more advanced system 11 games. These 80-b games are now becoming more popular as collectors have seen and played the popular games and now must dig deeper to find something different. Funny how 5 years ago you couldn’t give away a Genesis, TX-Sector or Robo War. Wish I would have got ahead of the hype.
8.541/10
5 years ago
Robo-War is a good game. Once it hits the Pinball app, it may have a similar effect on the market as TX sector. Definitely pairs well with that game!

Good:
-you've head it before, the sounds are absolutely incredible. Completely retro Sega Genesis quality. So fun.
-The layout is fantastic. You can clearly tell that the guys needed to crank out another pin and went to a tried and true, classic design. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. It's a very basic design that flows and just works.
-The premise of the game is to just blow crap up with your pinball. Extremely satisfying
-The light show is quite impressive. Tied to the music, it's a great effect.
-Multiball is appropriately chanllenging to get, which means it's rewarding. Tough to get up that ramp without having some velocity heading into the flipper
-Artwork is cool (if you're into sci-fi)
-Drop target delight
-The in-lanes design is so fun
-Ripping spinner
-Much better display than previous Gottlieb system

Bad:
-Not enough made
-Suffers from typical Gottlieb issues of the time (grounding issues, WAY outdated MPU boards and overall tech, ridiculous wiring system makes repairs difficult, etc)
-A great game for 1985!! Unfortunately this game came out much later than that. It just couldn't keep up with games of the same time (Taxi, etc)
-"Destroy ____" callouts can get a bit old after awhile
-Not satisfying enough finish to destroying all the bases. It just restarts to base 3. Feels like they could have at least said something like "well done." Same thing when completing all letters in "ROBOWAR," no affirmation in completing an objective. Minor quibble, but wouldn't have taken that much more memory to throw in!

Overall, it's a very good game! I'd compare this a bit to Barracora (which is a better game IMO) in terms of simple objectives, drop targets galore, and multiball. Robo-War may not be a Top 100 game, but it's pure fun nonetheless.

UPDATE: the longer this game is in my collection, the more I love it. It def gets more play than all my other games (which include many A-tier games). I feel confident saying that this games completely eclipses TX-Sector in terms of greatness and yet is much less well-known. Cheers to Robo-war!
8.632/10
5 years ago
I've only owned this game for a few months, but really love it. I was looking for an 80's solid state that had all of those cool 80's sounds that were used in video games, etc., and this one fit the bill. I stumbled on this one. I just happened to be talking to a non-pinhead who knew I was into pinball and had "a pinball machine" in his game room he wanted to get rid of because nobody every played it. I paid him a fair price. It needed some work, but now works perfectly. This is a super fun game! It's fast, the sounds are awesomely retro, and the it's just very addicting and fun. I keep coming back for one more game. The "reversed" right inlane and outlane are cool. This game is a refreshing change of pace from my DMD's that can sometimes take 45 minutes to play. This game is always going to be a quick, fun challenge that keep you coming back for more. Highly recommended!
7.859/10
5 years ago
Haven't played this, but I know I want to. Will jot down a few observations soon.
8.048/10
6 years ago
It's Gottlieb's knock off Transformers, complete with fairly competent imitation of Soundwave's voice for the call outs.

Some drops, a sequential target bank, a special that moves about and an inlane trigger spinner along with a ramp and a basic multiball so it's got enough of everything and it's accessible instant fun.

Standard 80b meh cabinet in firetruck red, a logo as with all the others and an airbrushed backglass that honestly looks like it belongs more on the side of a funfair ride but eh it sorta works. Playfield looks nice but nothing great imo.

Soundtrack is stellar and pretty much the main attraction, toss up between this and TX-sector for the best of the bunch, weird how nobody has sussed who actually wrote these tracks by now as said person could probably be a megastar in todays indie game/demo scene.
8.196/10
6 years ago
The music is catchy, as are the sound effects. The layout is interesting and the rules are challenging.
6.393/10
7 years ago
Another great system 80 game. Love the ruleset. Backglass is not great, a robo war really doesnt come through all that well.
8.926/10
7 years ago
The 8-bit style music is fantastic! We had a pinball gathering and friends started a game just let the music play.
7.794/10
7 years ago
Game is so refreshing.. after playing new games, this is such a fun pin, its simple, but it is just right, best sounding 80's game hands down.. tons of "one more game" factor, and it is so different from what most are used to playing, find one of these and put 10 games on it stat.. what a value..
9.684/10
7 years ago
John Trudeau is the man--Robo War has rewarding sound effects and a very fun outlane gimmick on the right side--collecting ROBO letters is challenging, hitting alpha and beta targets are a fun repeated task, multiball has very straightforward and simple guide. Beauty in simplicity!
8.884/10
7 years ago
Great game, amazing sound and speech. I keep on playing it and I have had it for months!
7.703/10
7 years ago
Robo-Wars is a much better game than pinball players think it is.

The Pros:
This game sounds absolutely fantastic. IPDB states that John Trudeau used Sinbad/Eye of the tiger as inspiration for this design. The drop targets are in a similar layout, but the rest of this layout really sings. The two orbit shots to the top of the PF require solid aim and if you have the spinner lit from the right outlane and you rip it! Sweeet 10k spins will make your day. Bonus multipliers with 7 inserts spelling ROBOWAR mean that bonus can take off in this game. However memory fails me if you spell out ROBOWAR and then start back at R after completing your sequence, does your bonus drop back down to 10k? The music and the light show that accompany the multiball sequence are top notch.

The Cons:
Finding one in good shape can be an ordeal. That is IF you can find one. Finding parts / boards for a system 80B game can be difficult. The ruleset is shallow, esp. when compared to other games of the same vintage made by Bally and Williams. If this game was made in 1979, it would have caused waves. However this deck was made in 1988 and is a great example of why Gott/Premier lost touch with the players and to a lesser extent, the operators of the late 80's. Compare this deck to: Blackwater 100, Banzai Run, Cyclone and Taxi (heck even Swords of Fury!), and the difference is abundantly clear as to who was making better tables at this time. The PF and the cab are OK, I don't care for the BG in the least.

The Takeaway:
Between this deck and TX Sector, Victory, Hollywood Heat, Genesis, Diamond Lady, Bad Girls, and a few others that I'm forgetting, Premier made some seriously underrated decks with great layouts that sound great! Seriously, I don't usually recommend a game on how good it sounds, but this game is pure digital effects heaven. Multiball is simple and if the game is set up correctly, will keep players on their toes. Find it, play it and if you are at a nice copy, you will discover a simple SS deck that has that "1 more game" quality down solid.
7.819/10
8 years ago
Fun game. Play one if you find one. The multi-ball drop target challenge is good. I would call it slightly easier than average. The ball does fly through the air a little too frequently, however. The sound is awesome. John Trudeau at his best.
8.260/10
8 years ago
This is a pretty rare game and not many people get a chance to play it....bummer for them!It is underatrated.This pin has has a nice ramp shot,many sets of drop targets,multiball,and cool speech and music.It's pretty fun over and over.I think if more people seen it and played it would be in the top 150 list.
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