In the days of ancient Rome, slaves were pitted against Gladiators and creatures from exotic lands to engage in mortal combat for the entertainment of thousands at the Coliseum. Today, as with many things, we have robots do the job for us. Clone Drone in the Danger Zone is basically the cooler videogame version of those real-life Roman games, and it’s a grand time.

Clone Drone is currently in Early Access but still manages to offer a large variety of modes. The general premise is that players take control of a toy-looking humanoid robot to fight against other (mostly) toy-looking humanoid robots until one dies by using a variety of weapons from laser swords, to bows with laser arrows, to laser spears with laser shields, or just… a giant metal hammer.

In the singleplayer modes, the formula is generally a round-by-round system where the player fights progressively tougher forces in various arenas.

Between these rounds (depending on the mode) upgrades can be purchased for the ‘bot, adding additional features to a weapon or adding new weapons entirely. Other options include extra lives or armor, or even a jet pack that lets the ‘bot hover across the ground and glide around foes.

There is a story mode including four chapters so far, which offers an excellent two hours.

As for other singleplayer options, there is an endless mode which changes each playthrough for those who wish to aim for high scores and better rankings. There are also preset challenges that can unlock new upgrades or other in-game trinkets.

Also included is a “Twitch mode” letting the player stream their game and have spectators bet on how their ‘bot will meet its demise. Clone Drone, of course, offers multiplayer options, both cooperative and versus, as well as an expansive achievement list.

Outside of gameplay, there is a level editor for gamers to create their own battle arenas, and a robust list of accessibility options. I was glad to see subtitles present, so that nearly anyone can enjoy the quirky and humorous commentator duo found in the story mode.

With this Early Access version being more feature-packed than many games are at release, I would say Clone Drone in the Danger Zone is an easy buy for anyone who enjoys 3D fighters or roguelikes. Or robots. Or lasers.

Players can join in on Steam Early Access right now, or wait for the full release coming March 16th.

— Mitch Zehe

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