A couple of weeks ago during the deluge of free games on PSN a little game called Air Mech Arena snuck in a free to play game (also on XBOXOne) that really captured my attention. Its a mix of RTS and Twin Stick shooter that deserves a download and some playtime. let’s take a look at Air Mech Arena.
Gameplay: In Air Mech you play as the titular Air Mechs which are planes/helicopters/flying saucers that turn into badass mech bots that cause destruction. You start out with your Air Mech and one base which you use to build units to send out to take over the unoccupied bases on the map before the enemy or enemies do. As you take bases your quota of units climbs and your money slowly adds up allowing you to build bigger and better units. You also level up in match which unlocks the units you chose previous to be built. The game ends when you destroy the enemy base(s). At the onset you choose one of three pilots with marginally different stats that you persistently level up over time, and you pick a mech and all your units as well as any cosmetic items before the match starts. While your units are walking the map you have complete control over your Air Mech, and you can use it to help clear out emery units or clear the way for your units. Or you can fight the other Air Mechs on the map its up to you. Now depending on how you choose to play Air Mech the game is a bit different. There is the free to play version where you’ll have to slowly unlock all the units as you go making your climb up the quest list much slower, and there is there $20 starter set that unlocks all the units/mechs off rip and gives you the ability to unlock better rewards than the free to play guys get. After playing the game for about a day I bought the $20 starter set,and with the ability to choose between all the Mechs and units it did make the game a bit more fun. The free version does give you quite a bit to play with…and its free, but if you want to be getting all kinds of cool cosmetic unlocks and extra money/xp boosts go for the starter set. No matter which version you get the game is a excellent hybrid of action and RTS that hooks you pretty quick. There is several game modes like the challenges, quests (with new daily quests added…daily), survival mode, and PVP. Most of the modes are available for 1-4 players online, and I’ve had some great times playing this with and against buddies so far, but be warned the PVP is crazy hard. I have yet to even come close to winning in a PVP match yet, but I’m hoping with some more leveling/better unit loadout I can finally get that much vaunted win. There is a ton of customization in the game, and leveling up will keep you busy for quite some time. As a long time RTS fan its nice to see anything resembling it on a console these days, and the addition of the full control of your Air Mech makes for a really fun game.
Graphics: the Graphics are crisp,clear, and very solid. Nothing major that will blow your mind, but a gray looking game by any standard.
Sound: basic explosions and battle sounds. What’s there works well, but you won’t be humming any of the tunes in your sleep.
Controls: Twin Stick controls with some added stuff for building and setting units on their way. The controls work very well, but I’d suggest doing the training (NOT the challenges that game puts you in automatically from the start) to get the hang of what everything does. One you know there is very little fumbling with the controls.
Replay Value: High. with the amount of modes and multiplayer options you will be kept busy for quite a while with this one. My only complaint with the game is the levels… there is a few, but I could always use more as they do get a bit boring with extended play. Hopefully the debs add some new levels into the mix soon via DLC.
Overall: I love Air Mech arena, and its free to play status means the servers are packed with players. Being free means there is no risk to trying it out as well, and if you end up loving it as I did you can unlock a lot more for only $20.