Drakkar Dev and Green Man Gaming Publishing have partnered up to release War Tech Fighters onto Steam. War Tech Fighters combines everything gamers and mecha anime fans love about giant robots and fuses it with action-packed gameplay. Does this hold up against the plethora of other third-person action games out there though? The answer is more nuanced than a simple yes or no.
First and foremost, the story of War Tech Fighters takes place somewhere in the depths of space near a Black Sun. Players will have to face off against the evil Zatros Empire as Nathan, a War Tech pilot, that flies for the resistance army. The story is about as basic as it gets really but it does a good enough job to keep you playing the game. Some space pirates are also thrown into the mix and ultimately you do have a purpose in each mission while defeating wave after wave of enemy forces.
The gameplay in War Tech Fighters is where the complexity of the title lies. Players will control their War Tech, a giant robot that looks something like a cross between a Transformer and a Gundam. The designs are incredibly detailed and players can even customize their War Tech at the end of every mission with new parts, weapons, and colour schemes. A lot of effort was put into the customization options and you can truly make your War Tech your own in terms of how you outfit it and the colour scheme you want to implement. Props to the development studio for doing this.
Back on the topic of gameplay though, the War Techs move in a rather rigid up, down, left and right manner. The over the shoulder camera is not as free as it should be and the game suffers a bit because of this. Being limited to a set of movement options by the camera yet being in space makes the game feel like it’s being held back. Using a mouse and keyboard confounds the matter even more and a controller is highly recommended.
Players will have access to a range of weapons to use. The War Techs are outfitted with a light weapon, heavy weapon, melee weapon and a rocket or missile barrage system. Using any of these weapons will drain your energy though so you have to be aware of what you’re using and when. Running out of energy in the middle of a firefight will lead to you not being able to boost away to safety and the chances of you dying will increase drastically. A careful balancing act is therefore required to make full use of your War Tech’s power. Apart from using the light and heavy weapons, the missile barrage is useful for targeting larger ships subsystems and the melee weapon is used in executions or in close quarters duels with other War Techs.
The game’s execution system is a nice touch. This is triggered when enemy ships have low enough health and input a command that makes your War Tech drop kick enemy ships, grab and tear them apart, slice them with its sword etc. Overall you end up looking ultra cool while destroying an enemy in one fell swoop. The only downside to this, however, is the fact that there is a limited number of execution moves and once you’ve seen them all, they do get repetitive. Getting the same execution to move multiple times in a row is also disappointing but thankfully the game lets you skip the sequences so you don’t have to suffer through them once you’ve had your fill.
The actual missions in War Tech Fighters are quite basic at first with a simple “Go here, kill that” objectives but some variation is introduced later on. Hacking resource containers or protecting your own capital ship is an example but the game prioritizes wanton destruction over anything else. And with good reason. The combat, despite being limited in its simplicity and by the rigid camera controls, is actually extremely fun. Going into the game my first thoughts were that it wasn’t as good as it should be, yet I stuck around and surprisingly had a lot of fun in the process. It feels arcade-esque in a way with how many targets as humanly possible are thrown at you and how you are able to lock on and obliterate them wave after wave. The game is not difficult but there are some missions where should you not pay attention to your energy and armour reserves, you will definitely end up dying.
The graphics apart from the War Techs and enemy and allied ships is somewhat lacking. Space can be beautiful. Games like Elite Dangerous and No Man’s Sky have shown this but War Tech Fighter’s space environment just looks watered down and lackluster. This is, however, an indie title so it can be forgiven. The soundtrack features some rock, metal and electronic music and while forgettable, it’s enough to get your adrenaline pumping during battles.
Overall, War Tech Fighters is a good action arcade-esque game. It’s not a Triple-A title by any means but if you’re seeking some great mindless action with some cool execution sequences, fast-paced gameplay and a bit of a challenge to round things off, War Tech Fighters will not disappoint you. It does, however, get repetitive quite quickly and you may end up moving onto something else sooner rather than later.