Since before the dawn of man, as we rose from the primordial soup, discovered fire, inscribed stories on cave walls and crafted spears and arrows, a deep rooted, primal affinity slumbered within us all. A deep seated love of giant ass-kicking robots. That’s exactly what War Tech Fighters hones in on, an exhilarating tribute to the likes of Mobile Suit Gundam, Pacific Rim and Evangelion, this is a game that slots you snugly into the helm of a giant, blade wielding mech roaring through space blasting anything and everthing in sight, and it feels great.
As War Tech donning Nathan Romanis, you’re sent on missions that range from fending off the militant Zatros Empire surrounding the resource ravaged black sun Hebos, to gathering raw materials and inspecting suspicious sites. Don’t worry, fights always ensue. It’s immediately apparent just how much effort and attention has been poured into the central mechanics of flight and space navigation, movement is slick and weaponry easily accessible from the moment you start, left or right clicks dictating quick shots or more powerful blasts. Coupled with a keyboard-typical WASD control system, with Q and E allowing your War Tech to ascend or decline, its very easy from the get go to understand the basics of combat. Where things begin to get interesting however is the gallant, close range equipment each War Tech has access to – gigantic swords, sabers and shields. Drummed enough bullets into a dangerously close air craft? A click of both buttons initiates one of many one hit kill cutscenes which vary between enemy type, keeping the action varied, fresh and always satisfying. Shields are helpful against long range fire, but especially in toe-to-toe combat with another War Tech. Fights can be fought in any way you want, purely long range, locking on and firing missiles whilst deftly avoiding the enemie’s or by rushing in a delivering the final Coup de Grâce, slicing them in two. We’ve come a long way from spears and arrows.
From the outset players can pick between three types of War Tech: the fast but frail Eagle, the all-rounder Lynx unit or the immovable tank, the Rhino. Depending on how you want to play, this is important, as whilst the Eagle is fast, inadequate dodging or a stray gaggle of warships will spell quick and relentless doom, over and over again. Thankfully, Upgrades to your War Tech will help bolster its firepower, health and defenses alongside a graphical overhaul, slowly building the cybernetic titan we’ve all dreamed of owning. Whilst Upgrades offer new parts and different equippable bonuses, Research offers permanent boosts to your personal, towering armour. A ton of cosmetic changes can be made, starting from base colours and details, to patterns and Upgrades with distinct visual themes; one set lets you plough through enemy hordes as a glowing, anti-matter reaper, complete with bone encrusted shield if you’re feeling especially edgy.
Certain materials need to be found to craft such pieces however, laser, electro-magnetic and anti-matter to be exact. These themselves, alongside regular fire, are the four attack types that permeate the game, discovering and affording your own laser infused space chainsaw is a goal worth aiming for from the outset. Yet between slicing and missile volleys, there’s a surprising amount of variety apparent in any given mission. Between fights, access ports on space stations or items that need to be analysed or even codes that need to be cracked are dotted throughout missions, offering a breather between high-octane fights with a smidge of puzzle-solving. These sections appear semi-regular enough to be more nuance than nuisance, highlighting the short, yet-deeply engrossing combat sections that are a joy to play for any fan of mech-based fiction. Mission types themselves range from timed rescues , to combat heavy wave missions to resource gathering, avoiding floating mines and other insidious traps. War Tech Fighters is constantly introducing new enemies alongside these new objectives, the whole game somehow able to feel fresh whilst keeping a heavy focus on combat.
What must be mentioned is the heavily streamlined UI, a wonderfully simply, single radar appears in the middle of the screen indicating enemies and objectives, allowing your main focus to be the thousand ships you’re about to tear apart. It’s great to see a game that could so easily be prone to filling your screen with a menagerie of useless icons instead make room for the action, what you really want to be focusing on. The feeling itself of swooping above and below, firing homing missiles, whittling an enemy with weak yet swift gunfire to obliterate them with a single heavy blast all feels intensely exhilarating in the moment, especially when the energy guzzling thrusters are involved, essential to get you between mission points against the clock. Missions themselves offer short but intense bursts of action, addictive gameplay that’s only broken by an insatiable need to makeover your mech before jumping right back in.
A challenge mode is available, a whole bestiary of Zatros troops is there to compile, set against a narrative backdrop highlighted through fully voiced cutscenes between missions, War Tech Fighters offers not only a lot of action, but also a lot of variety. It’s defining feature is a smooth and absorbing combat system that’s kept fresh by myriad additions and a soundtrack of epic guitar riffs that accents the action. Even if by some strange birth defect you find yourself immune to the evolutionary thrall of the Mech, War Tech Fighters is worth the time of anyone inclined to explosions, sci-fi or high energy action games. If your not sold by a sword wielding mech drop-kicking aircrafts in space, you’re missing out.
War Tech Fighters offers not only a lot of action, but also a lot of variety