There are some things in life that are always enjoyable, no matter what. Kittens. A cold ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day. Fail videos. All of these have an intrinsically “fun” aura, and always seem to put a smile on your face. Another such enjoyable element is Mech suits. From Voltron and Power Rangers to Pacific Rim and Gundam, seeing giant robots battle it out never disappoints. Hell, even Leopardon, - the mech suit that Spider-Man uses in the Japanese TV show from the late 70’s - gets a pass. And this of course translates to video games as well. What’s more fun than piloting a gigantic metal robot and laying waste to your enemies? Not much, that’s what. And although it does hold a few flaws, War Tech Fighters proves itself to be a solid space action game.
Title: War Tech Fighters
Genre: Action / Arcade
Modes: Single Player
Developer: Darkkar Dev
Publisher: Blowfish Studios
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Switch, PS4 (reviewed)
War Tech Fighters is pretty much what it sets out to be – an arcade title. Arcade-style games normally do not carry a deep plot, and this game is no different. You are working with the rebels of Ares and Hebos (the good guys) and fighting against the evil Zatronian Empire (the bad guys). That’s really all there is to it. So, as one of the best pilots in the galaxy, you hop into your War Tech Fighter and battle against your enemies.
Each chapter of War Tech Fighters plays pretty much the same: you are battling in space versus various enemy ships, and many of the fights culminate in a one-on-one against an even bigger ship (or another mech). There are a total of 33 missions, and each one can last from three to ten minutes, so you do have a good chunk of gameplay here. In between missions, you can use your earned experience to upgrade your War Tech with new weapons, perks, parts, and colors. This affects different aspects of your suit, speed, energy, aim and endurance. Then, once you’re all geared up, it’s on to the next mission.
Gameplay is straightforward. You have full 360 degree movement in space, and you use a combination of ranged guns and your sword and shield to take out the dozens of enemy ships that come your way. You can lock on to a specific ship, weaken them with your light and heavy weapons, then choose to keep shooting or finish them off with a very stylish kill move. Once you take out the ships, tougher ships appear, and, on some levels, an enemy Mech. Those final battles take on more of a quick time event/fighting game approach, where things get up close and personal. The pace is frantic and chaotic, and it definitely puts your hand-eye-coordination to the test.
The Tip and the Top
War Tech Fighters has a lot going for it. First and foremost is the level of customization for your Mech. There are thousands upon thousands of combinations you can make with your new weapons and armor. And when you add the color customization scheme to the mix, you truly can make your giant battling robot your own. Upgrades are plentiful and are fun to obtain and unlock. Additionally, special projects allow you to search for secret Mech parts hidden throughout various levels, which gives you all the more reason to revisit old missions. That, paired with challenges and a survival mode, keep the game from feeling too repetitive.
Another fun thing about War Tech Fighters is the finishing moves. As I mentioned earlier in the review, once you wear down an enemy’s health enough, you can press a corresponding button to finish them off. This has two benefits. First, when you finish an enemy in this fashion, you regain some of your health as well as stamina. And second, it looks badass. The different ways you destroy enemy ships gives you a real feeling of empowerment as you use various, stylish moves to take them out.
The Flip and the Flop
And to that point, I wish the finishing moves were a bit more varied. While they are fun to see, they do get a bit repetitive after a while. Luckily, you can skip through these animations if you want, and get right back into the action. This was a great decision on the part of the developers to help keep the gameplay going at a fast pace. The levels themselves can also feel the same. The graphics aren’t going to blow you away, and the environments are for the most part, the same outer space backdrop. So don’t expect any major diversity in settings when playing War Tech Fighters.
The battles themselves are pretty frenzied, and it can be pretty easy to lose your place. Oftentimes I found myself lost after spinning around and chasing after a fleet of enemies. Then, once I defeated them, I had to spin around again to get my bearings. There is a compass that shows you where the action is, so that helps, but due to the 360 degree movement and “samey” backdrops, it can get a little confusing.
Finally – and this is more of a personal preference – War Tech Fighters can feel a little too “arcade” – meaning that style is favored over substance – and could have benefited from more in terms of the story. It felt bland at times, and I didn’t find the characters left a lasting impression.
Final Grade: B
War Tech Fighters is one of those games that we don’t get very often, which is surprising considering how fun Mech games can be. It’s a fun title to pick up – especially at the price point of $19.99 (BONUS – if you love your physical copies as I do, Red Art Games will be releasing physical copies of the game, and pre-orders go live here around mid-August). It’s a fun game to pick up and play for a few minutes at a time, but can also get very deep with its customization options. If you can get over some of the repetitive gameplay and environments, you’ll find yet another fun giant robot-related experience.
Review code provided by Stride PR