Ironcast, developed by Dreadbit, in an indie RPG, which focuses on strategy. Inspired by steampunk, it takes place in Victorian England in the 1880s. The premise is you take control of a seven metre tall robot, called an Ironcast (think Jaegers in Pacific Rim, but without the monstrous Kaiju), to fight against enemies, who also control Ironcasts.
Your Ironcast is tricked out with all the latest in weaponry, and a large array of defensive mechanisms. The more you progress in the game, the more tricks you have up your sleeve. To fire weapons, you have to match their respective nodes on your board, to make sure you have enough energy to fire them. The game is reminiscent of games like Candy Crush, but you are not limited by how many you can match in Ironcast. It makes you become more invested in spending time on the game, because games like Candy Crush make you work fast, whereas Ironcast makes you slow down, take a breather and smell that petroleum smell steampunk games make us think of.
The story and dialogue is thought out well, but does not gain momentum. At no point are you thinking: ‘how am I going to get out of this one?!’, like some RPGs mamge to pull off. There is a lot of dialogue to read through, which resulted in my eyes skimming the screen instead of reading it. From what I gathered, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to help The Spire take back the British Empire from the French, who whip out the best weapons in their arsenal.
However, I get the feeling this game does not revolve around the story, rather how well you can play an RPG. Taking your deadliest hits, the French can deal you a lot of damage if you do not think ahead and plan accordingly. You are the type of player to shoot first and ask questions later? Do not expect to survive long, because if you get hit with an energy lance with your shields down, it only takes a couple of hits with that bad boy before you go down hard. You have to be able to decide what the best way to approach the situation is, such as do you raise your shields, or do you walk and hope they miss you when your health gets low. If you want to be the best, like no one ever was, you may have to become a master strategist over night.
The game explores its metal roots, by choosing a colour scheme you would find in a game that revolves around anything remotely mechanical. The game has a dark palate of colours, such as brown, grey and green, which are aesthetically pleasing when used in this sort of game. The colours suit the style, so you will not hear any complaints from me about them.
The soundtrack is loud and rhythmic, playing the sort of instruments that make you feel invested in this war. A jaunty tone will blare out of your speakers, producing deep notes and paying homage to the wartime genre of music. With music constantly going in the background, I think this is the sort of soundtrack where it is completely up to the gamer if they let it play in the background, because it does not add anything, it is simply just background noise.
An interesting concept can be explored through Ironcast, and it tests how good you are at planning for the worst situations. This game will show you the kind of player you are, by making you delve in to strategy, showing you whether you are an defensive or offensive player. A good game by Dreadbit, and one I would not be surprised to see more of in the future.
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