Oversee a team of custom-built mechs as you cut a swath through hordes of kaiju in this turn-based, tactical rogue-lite.
Developer: Lioncode Games
Publisher: Lioncode Games
Release date: 10 August, 2021
Mechs are fun and all but where their theme shines in gaming is in their customization options. A good mech title will spoil you for choice and let you develop something that’s at least unique enough to chat about with others who are playing the game. MechWarrior stands out to me as the granddaddy of the genre and I remember having fun fine-tuning my mechs in it, though I was too young at the time for the details to have stuck with me. M.A.S.S. Builder is the most recent release that I’ve jumped into, and although it was a bit too anime for my taste, it ended up having a great selection of options for your mech even in its Early Access release. I’ve also spent some time kicking around BATTLETECH for a more strategic take on the genre, though I really need to get back to that one.
Mech Armada is another strategy-focused exploration of the theme. Though its complexity doesn’t even scratch the surface of a title like BATTLETECH, it’s a surprisingly addictive rogue-lite with few flaws that hold it back.
It’s been decades since Earth was overrun with giant monsters and humanity has long been fighting a losing war. Battle after battle has ended in defeat, but these struggles have bought enough time for a particularly determined scientist to put together a mech factory to turn the tide. You’ve been chosen to be the mastermind behind these constructs and what the armory’s roster looks like will change drastically depending on your decisions (and a little luck).
Break Out Your Wrench
Your stable of mechs starts out with only a few basics. One mech on legs with a double-barreled assault gun and a second on treads with a simple machine gun. This pair is unlikely to get you very far on their own, but as you gather credits and energy during your first victories, you’ll be able to upgrade them and build new models as well. Credits can be spent on researching new parts or drastically upgrading those that you already have while energy is used to construct the templates that you’ve created. Managing both of these resources is integral to your success against the monstrous hordes.
Every mech is composed of three categories of parts: transport, body, and weapon. Transport is what your mech moves with, whether it’s a set of legs that allow it to move after taking an action, treads that let it speed along roads at high speed, or even a platform that grants it the ability to fly. Bodies grant all kinds of abilities including an increased number of weapons platforms, boosted range, and auras that affect the entities around them. Finally, weapons come in a wide variety from rocket launchers and snipers to damage and armor buffs. Putting together your roster is good, clean fun and as your part research is random on each run, you tend to have a different set of builds each time. On one run, I was sporting armor and damage-boosting mechs that supercharged a lead mech that was capable of both dealing and absorbing huge amounts of damage. On another, I decked out the squad with long-range weapons and whittled the enemy down before they could reach my front line.
Kaijus as Far as Your Eye Can See
For every impressive mech that you build, there’s an equally nasty monster waiting to destroy it. Your enemies come in many shapes and sizes from the slow-moving and weak trolls to the flame-spewing crawlers to the absolutely massive boss monsters. The best method for dealing with them tends to be to kill them before they can unleash their nasty techniques on you, but it’s never a bad idea to have a burly mech who can take an acid blast or two.
Your battles against these creatures take place in a small variety of post-apocalyptic environments that will quickly start to feel familiar. The turn-based, tactical battles are surprisingly fun, though it doesn’t take long before you’ve seen most of what the game has to offer. Fortunately, the rogue-lite progression will keep you coming back with new parts and perks each time that you die along the way.
Mech Armada is a fairly simple, yet challenging rogue-lite that’s composed entirely of level-like battles. There isn’t much of a story though there are plenty of parts to keep you entertained modifying and upgrading your mech squadrons. I recommend this title as something of a reliable side diversion, though I find it unlikely that anyone will be sitting down and main gaming this one for hours at a time. All in all, it’s a solid purchase for the $15 asking price.