Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Transform and Roll Out


'Action RTS' is a new genre to me, because even though the likes of Warcraft and Command & Conquer are fairly action-packed, they're not quite as frenetic as the latest game I've been playing on the ever-wonderful Steam platform: Airmech.

Airmech is by independent developers Carbon Games, and is Free To Play on Steam for Windows. Here's a video rundown of it from an earlier Beta version by the man, the legend, TotalBiscuit in his 'WTF is...?' series.

Now, far be it from me to think I can describe Airmech in text better than a professional game commentator can do via a video, but otherwise there'd be no point in this post at all ("Is there one anyway?" I hear you cry). So here goes:


If you put a flying Generation 1 Transformer into a 3D isometric setting and make them do a base capture game with Command & Conquer units, then you've mostly got what this game is about. Though your mech is very cool and flies or runs around shooting things, it can't take on an army (or even a couple of units) by itself and, crucially, can't capture bases. So you have to build troops, tanks, defences and other accessories to capture and defend the bases on the map, while your opponent is doing the same.

Sounds simple, but to complicate matters your mech - in flight mode - can pick up and ferry units and defences around. Though you can usually carry only one tank or turret at a time, you can carry several troops and drop them off at enemy or neutral bases to capture them, then build and drop off defences to keep it yours.

You can only have eight different units - selected on your loadout screen pre-match - that you can build in any one game, but scores to choose from in order to come up with the perfect combination. There are different Airmechs, too, from jet fighters to apaches to flying saucers and helicopters, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Even the pilots in the mechs give you different bonuses and drawbacks.

From such a simple premise (which research tells me was taken from the Mega Drive game - which I'd never heard of -  Herzog Zwei), with neat graphics and what feels like it could be twin-stick shooter interface rather than keyboard and mouse, Airmech is hugely enjoyable once you get the hang of it. My first couple of games ended in hard-fought yet bitter defeats as I just wasn't using the units properly, but soon I was laying waste to the AI.

The Free To Play set-up works brilliantly, too, as you can have a perfectly fine time without spending a single penny. The various mechs and units are free to use on a rotational basis, meaning that you'll get to play with most, if not all, of the toys, just perhaps not quite when you want them. But hey, it's free, so no complaints.

By buying the Starter or Beta bundles, you can unlock all the mechs and units at once, or gain enough Kudos points (earned in game) and Diamonds (which you buy with real currency) to unlock whatever you like. Custom mech skins (which includes the model as well as the skin), bonuses and cosmetic items are available for your real-money purchases, while the units and general category mechs are unlockable through Kudos.

If you're on Steam, or if you fancy playing it through Google Chrome, I definitely recommend Airmech as a great way to spend a couple of hours. Go on, it's free, what's the worst that could happen?

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