From the dark corners of Guilford comes Ironcast – a steampunk tactical game that sees you facing off against war machines set in an alternative Victorian Era. It just sounds delightful.
Ironcast is a match three or more game with strategic elements very much like Puzzle Quest. There are different nodes that can be matched with all different effects. Power nodes allow you to move and raise your shield, ammunition nodes replenish your weapons, repair nodes allow you to fix your mech, and coolant nodes keep your mech from going boom during play.
During your turn though you only have three moves to plan your attack; this is where the strategy comes into play. Do you go for an outright attack, do you repair or do you charge up? These are all the decisions you must make and even if you think you have got it all worked out, your opponent could easily undo it all during their three moves, leaving your poor mech in a sorry state. For tactically minded players this should be very straight forward but for players who only think one move ahead this may cause some trouble.
In addition to the basic nodes are three extras; scrap nodes that go towards repairs or upgrades, overdrive nodes that increase the performance of one of your systems and a link node that allows you to link more than one type of node during a move (very useful when you are feeling the pinch)
It is great that you have managed to collect a handful of nodes during your turn but in the bigger picture what are they actual for and how are the used? I hear you shout. They are used on your mech to change the outcome of the battle. Each mech (including your opponants) have four main systems; drives, defences and two weapons. The drives allow you to move causing a higher chances are dodging enemy fire, the shield protects you and the weapons are used for attack. Each weapon offers something different – one is a low powered multiple shot with the other being a powerful one shot. Each of these systems use up the corresponding nodes so once you are out, you cannot use it any more.
As well as repairing systems you can assign which of your opponents systems to attack next. This is very useful if your opponent likes to raise their shield a lot.
The unique thing about Ironcast is how much freedom you have on your approach. The final battle happens in 9 days when the French reach London & you can approach that day in what ever order you like. You can attack straight away but you will be sorry for doing that so attaching in a logical way is the best approach. As well as the final mission (the 9th day) there are various missions spread out across the map. Each missions gives you all the information regarding that level; the difficulty, what type of mission it is and what the rewards are so you can figure out for yourself if you can complete it or not – if you fail it is game over and you must start your campaign again from the start. However though during your playthroughs you Commendation Marks for every one thousand XP earned. These are used to buy new Ironcasts or Pilots prior to your next campaign attempt thus giving you a slight advantage.
Whether you do it in your first run or 10th run, the main goal is getting yourself prepared for the ninth day so by completing the missions available this is achievable but the thing to remember is that upon completing a mission you get closer to the final day.
In between missions you go back to your garage to repair your mech and to apply any upgrades you have picked up after your battles. Upgrades and repairs are paid using the scrap you pick up from winning missions – extra can be picked up by matching them during battle and it later levels this proves to be very useful. Upgrades though can only be brought if you have the blueprint for them and these are randomly dropped during battle. If you are lucky you can pick one of these up very early on but it is all down to the roll of the dice behind the scenes – if you are having a bad day you could be left with some pretty basic equipment (sorry).
Ironcast is fun simple premise that will take time to truly master. Along the way you will fail but you will learn from your mistakes and achieve a greater sense of accomplishment when you do succeed. Ironcast was made with love and you can see it pouring out of everywhere. You can tell that this is a game the folks at Dreadbit have always wanted to play so the decided to make it. With each campaign attempt being randomly generated there is a lot of gameplay on offer here. If you enjoy technical warfare and have a slight addiction to match them up games then Ironcast is just for you!
Who Should Play This?
- Match them up fans
- Lovers of Puzzle Quest
- Future commanders of future armies
Who Should Not Play This?
- Sick of matching different colours on your Candy Crush clones? This may tip you over the edge
- Do not like the try and die way? Again, this one may not be for you
- Gamers who are not very strategic minded
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