By Chris Picone, 29 May 2021
I can’t scroll past the word “mech,” so I’ve been keeping an eye on this one for a while. I went in expecting a sort of BattleTech clone but I was way off the mark. This is more like a game which I played in the 90s or early 00s which I unfortunately cannot recall the name of and haven’t been able to find since. Great story, right? Anyway, in that game, one of the core components of the gameplay is building the best fighting machine that you can. Not in a complicated “loadout” manner we’ve come to expect from Mechwarrior games but in a simplistic modularised way where you pick the legs, torso, weapon slots, etc.. It was a great game, you should play it.
In Mech Armada, that core mechanic exists, but they’ve taken it several steps further. First, you don’t just put together the blueprints for one mech, you design multiple. Where it gets really different is that another core mechanic involves you collecting resources and building the actual mechs on the battlefield. And the battlefield itself is very different. Mech Armada sees you fighting off swarms of dangerous critters in tile-based, turn-based combat, so the battles are as much about resource management as they are strategy. Also, about six or so levels in I worked out that whatever mechs remain at the end of the level follow you into the next, so you need to manage your resources in the long as well as the short game.
Mech Armada is a beautiful game, with a range of gorgeously designed mechs, critters, and scenery. As a final word, I just wanted to say that the voice of MAVEN (the AI narrator) is divine. I don’t normally pay much attention to the voice acting unless it’s really good or really bad but MAVEN’s voice fits the mood of the game perfectly.
The verdict? Mech Armada is only in very Early Access right now but what’s there is extremely promising. I’m very much looking forward to the full game with all of the features and a complete campaign.