Few things in this world are more adorable than a pipsqueak goblin captain leading his people to battle. In Rigonauts, you are one such goblin (or Hobs, as they’re called), put in charge of a band of Crewlins and Saplins (your green-skinned compatriots) aboard the Rigo warship. It’s up to you to chart your boat-with-wheels to freedom against the hordes of evil Komondants who’ve been oppressing you – though they’re awfully cute themselves. It all adds up to some goofy battles of exchanging cannon fire and strategic targets that take advantage of structural weakness.

Playing like a mix between World of Goo and Advance Wars, the name of the Rigonauts game is building up your own impenetrable juggernaut to destroy the opposing vehicle. Each mission starts out at a standstill, giving you time to assemble planks, wheels, and turrets just so, in the hopes that your warship can take down the enemies’ before it falls apart.

Once all your Crewlins are in place, you pinpoint the areas you want them to attack on the opposing vehicle, the press “Go!” to start the fight. From there, it’s a hands-off firefight, putting your wacky wooden tank into autonomous action and demonstrating whether or not your armored vehicle’s got the structural fortitude to withstand incoming fire. First adorable critter to raise the white flag loses.

This adorable head-on warfare is the product of Activision’s own Independent Games Competition; indie developers Engient snagged the second place prize of $75,000 and went straight to work on their charming concept. Pieces start out basic, with wooden and bone components and some simple machine guns – but progressing through the game’s 30 missions unlocks crazier and more efficient artillery and resources.

You can take down vehicles with abandon using cannons and flamethrowers, or take to the skies with a bunch of balloons. A combination of additional wheels and some shock absorbers can make the charge forward that much easier. The further you progress through the game, the more insanely complex the enemy ship designs will be. Building a stationary skull made of planks in the middle of your ship does wonders for your general intimidation factor, if nothing else.

Rigonauts is unapologetically wacky, and great fun for constructing bizarre contraptions and seeing how they fare in battle. There’s no word yet on the price, but expect to see this game hit Steam, iOS, and Android later this month.


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