When Stomp Games made the claim that their new Facebook title, Robot Rising, was a “real” game, I’ll admit I was skeptical. I’ve played Mafia Wars (as much as one can actually play it), I’ve witnessed the phenomenon of the ‘Ville invasion and I’ve winced at the Blitzification of popular titles just to cash in on the super-casual market. That’s why I didn’t expect there to be much game in Robot Rising, and I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong.

Stomp Games has created an action-RPG with loot-based customization that will likely appeal to many fans of the genre. While the story isn’t as deep or engaging as that found in Diablo, and there aren’t any skill trees to be found, the core concepts are intact. In the place of what genre fans might consider to be missing, there is a meta-game resembling the base-building concepts found in real-time strategies.

This is where the inevitable monetization aspects come in. You’ll need to build structures that allow you to manufacture new weapons and armor for your robot avatar, store the three types of minerals and teleport into randomly generated dungeons to gather more resources. Entering combat zones costs energy (it’s a Facebook game, you had to know the “E” word would pop up), which regenerates over time. Should you find yourself without the necessary juice to continue the fight or the resources to construct (or simply want to rush one to completion), there are Robobucks available for purchase with real money.

So far, I haven’t hit the typical free-to-play wall where progress grinds to a halt unless you pay. I also noticed that level progression is reasonably paced. In most Facebook clickfests, the first five to ten levels come fast and furious to get you hooked. Robot Rising feels more like a real game. That’s probably because it is one.

There is a thin narrative here, with a sentient artificial intelligence evolving after machines have taken over the planet. Your role in the construction phase is that of the overmind. In the dungeons, you control the robotic avatar. I was impressed by how the game looks, and bumping up the settings offered up some good detail and solid visual effects. The music has a classic sci-fi feel to it, and the sound effects are well designed and sound great through a headset.

As an action RPG fan, I loved nabbing new loot and loading up my ‘bot with new guns, armaments and consumable weapons like frag and cryo grenades. The combat can get tough, so playing smart is necessary. Most importantly, Robot Rising made me think more than any other game on the platform has. It doesn’t hurt that putting it in fullscreen mode makes it very easy to forget that I’m playing on Facebook at all.

Robot Rising is currently in beta, but if you can get in, it’s worth the time investment. If the fantasy settings of Diablo and Torchlight aren’t your cup of tea, but you love collecting loot and and building your own robot, you’ll likely find enjoyment here. You can check out Robot Rising on Facebook here.