Giant Gundam-style mechs have seem a bit of a downturn in recent times. Sure, we had Titanfall and Titanfall 2, but they weren’t as popular as many would have expected. It’s a style that has never really won me over, whereas those who enjoy a bit of robot on robot action swear by Armored Core. For me, this kind of game seems to lend itself too easily to repetitive gameplay, which is exactly where War Tech Fighters falls down.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to like about it. Flying around space with your customised mech (or War Techs as they are referred to in-game) is quite satisfying. You can choose either first or third person viewpoints, but I much preferred the latter. Literally everything on your War Tech can be changed, from the colour schemes to individual upgrades of your head, arms, torso, legs, shield and sword. Altering which of these parts is equipped in battle will give you differing advantages, usually requiring you to consider some kind of trade off. Want more defence against lasers? Well, you might have to suffer a little more from regular bullets.
Some of the upgrades you’ll want – particularly the “Anti-Matter Unicorn” sword, pretty much a purple lightsaber – will require research tasks to be completed. There’s a separate menu for this, with research areas split between attack, defence, energy and specials. It’s all a bit cumbersome, as nothing links together in these menus, so you need to flick backwards and forwards between different menus to see what needs what. Most of the time, the item you need to research is awaiting project tokens to be collected, which are hidden in most of the levels which you play. If you miss them, you’ll need to go back and replay the level and have a nosey around.
The big issue here is that War Tech Fighters is repetitive enough as it is, without going back and doing the same levels all over again. There are some nice touches; there’s an execution style system you can utilise once an enemy is damaged beyond a certain point. You’ll get a short cut scene showing your War Tech destroying an enemy ship in a Japanese anime style, although eventually I simply resorted to skipping them with the spacebar. Occasionally another War Tech will join the fight to mix it up a little. You can either attack them as any other enemy, or get up close and personal with some hand to hand combat.
Even this just gets repetitive after so many goes, because every fight is the same. There aren’t any special attacks, instead you’re just clicking left and right mouse click. The space bar will bring up your shield, but that’s about it. The exact same control scheme is employed when you’re flying about in space; lock onto enemy ships, left click for a quicker, weaker shot, right click for the stronger one. The stronger shot takes more of your energy, shown by a blue bar at the bottom of the screen. At first, you’ll just be firing standard bullets, but when (or if) you make it further into the game, you’ll be shooting lasers.
It’s really simple to pick up and play, but after a few hours I just got bored. I found manoeuvring my mech frustrating at times when a little finesse was required, especially when the game expected me to be in an exact position to do something, like connect to the top of a communication pole.
Aside from that, the game runs really well, and I didn’t have any frame drops or other issues. Graphically, it’s pretty basic. The War Techs look pretty good from the customisation screens, but when you’re flying around in space, the environments are very basic and not much to look at. The minimum spec of an Nvidia GTX 650 should tell you all you need to know about that – although I’m confused as to how they’ve set the requirements to 6GB of memory, considering the entire game itself is only just over 3GB. There’s a very rock-centric soundtrack permeating through each level, which isn’t really to my tastes but others will likely find it suits the action well. There is some storyline, but you only get quick reminders of it every once in a while, so I couldn’t tell you what it is just from playing.
War Tech Fighters makes no attempt to be something other than a game about flying a big mech around space and shooting down evil. I can commend developer Drakkar Dev for that, but I just wish there was some more variety coming from somewhere. The customisation is quite deep and varied, it’s just a shame that most players won’t get anywhere near the end before getting bored with the important part: Gameplay. I wouldn’t recommend it for its full asking price, but if you see it on sale and fancy some robot action, you could definitely do worse.
War Tech Fighters (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
It does its job well as a Gundam-style mech shooter, but it just doesn’t do quite enough to keep me going back in for more action. The majority of levels are just “go here, shoot this, follow that”, which unfortunately gets very repetitive after a couple of hours. There’s a lot you can do with customisation, though.