It's Victorian England but not as we know it. Once again we see it presented as an alternate history with a distinct Steampunk flavour. England is at war, and the enemy have invaded! Not only have they been bombing the UK from the air, and bombarding us from the sea, they have had the audacity to actually land enemy units on our streets. But they are not foot soldiers, oh no. They are steam powered, walking, fighting mechs!
The game story really kicks off after the demo level where our heroine's commanding officer has been slain on the field of conflict and under orders from her new superiors, she enters her mech and prepares to take back the country! For Queen and Country, Huzzah!
What follows is a series of skirmishes between you and your computer controlled opponents. You'll face enemies one on one, chaining together attacks by forging 'links' and chains on the battle table.
You have a grid of symbols, spanners for repair, electrical bolts for attack, snowflakes for engine coolant etc. Link the symbols together and click A and voila, your Mech will prepare it's weapons, or shields or if needs be, repair itself.
It's turn based combat, which is divided into rounds. You have three attempts to link together your combos, and charge up the weapons and decide to move, stand and fight or go all out for repair and hope the enemy does not take you down.
Tactics are key....
Indeed they are and if you think this is just another link three puzzler, you are mistaken. it's surprisingly tactical and some fights can be quite tough. The boss fights await you on the map, so take care here. You may have a time limit, i.e it might say you have 9 'days' to face this enemy and destroy it, but you may also find it harder to get to that enemy than you think.
It's all about salvaging scrap, collecting merits and upgrading your unit as you progress, which gives it a sort of RPG feel to the proceedings. Unlock new weapons, armour upgrades, new Mechs and even new soldiers to fight with.
There's quite a lot to do here and if you die, sure it sends you back to the beginning, but all money, scrap etc. collected in previous rounds are fortunately 'banked' and you get to keep it to upgrade and strengthen yourself for the next attempt.
The game does not play at a lightning fast pace, and some may find it to pedestrian. In won't appeal to everyone, if you don't like puzzle games similar to Bejewelled then stay away, but if you do, and you enjoy a game that challenges you tactically then this may well be worth a look.
It's intuitive though the tutorial gives you all the guidelines you need. It's easy to learn though harder to master and yes I enjoyed it. Would I like to see a sequel? Yes maybe but what I really hope they do is take this world and explore it further. Imagine if this had been a third person, or first person shooter, or a turn based X-Com style strategy game? I think either would be kind of cool, and I hope the developers have plans like this in mind.
Tactical, engaging and challenging in some ways.
Music: a nice period soundtrack, like it.
No one on one competition in the comfort of your living room.
No online battles, though there are leaderboards.
Overall, worth a look if you like this sort of thing.
Thanks to Xbox for the code.