Release Date: 16 December, 2020 (EA)
By Chris Picone, 22 February 2023
Mech Engineer was first released on Steam in Early Access at the end of 2020 but has just recently picked up a new publisher in Microprose, which is super exciting. I went into this expecting a hardcore mech-themed simulator and that's exactly what I got.
The graphics, which are primarily functional control screens clickable through tabs, reminded me of Silent Service 2, an old favourite submarine game that Microprose published in 1990. And while I have absolutely no issues with the game's utilitarian appearance (actually, I like it!), it's not very user friendly (even for people like me who enjoy these layered, complicated games) and I found occasional issues where some tabs would open separately and get in the road of each other. This aspect of the game still needs a bit of love from the developer - but keep in mind it's still in Early Access.
I love the combat in Mech Engineer, which involves commanding and monitoring your mechs (and the waves of enemies) on a scanner. Expect to overwhelmed; you need to carefully position your mechs on high ground and in a position where they can support each other while making the most of your base defences (if available) As expected from any decent mech game, the mechs are highly customisable, and the pilots trainable and interchangeable. Mech Engineer also includes research trees and an additional layer of customisation that sees you creating your own reactors and modding your weapons.
Mech Engineer probably needs a little bit more time in the oven just to sort some of the interfacing features but it's otherwise an impressive game and I expect it will be a masterpiece in the genre by the time it's ready for full release.