Technically AirMech is not even released yet but as it is undergoing open alpha testing for the Google Chrome version there’s an opportunity to have a sneak peak at a fantastic game and help the developers out at the same time. Sounds like a win-win situation if there ever was one.
Developed by Washington based Carbon Games AirMech is an Action-RTS game with a twist. Like League of Legends or Defense of the Ancients AirMech matches are played by controlling just one advanced unit that levels up and gains new abilities as the match progresses. These particular units, as you might have guessed, are mechanical in nature and have the bonus ability of being able to transform into an aircraft at will.
Flying around above the battle is more than just a way to skip around the map quickly though. Unlike MOBA games such as League of Legends or DOTA, there is a great emphasis placed on managing the other units in your army. Hovering above a unit allows it to be picked up, transported across the map and positioned exactly where you want it to be. Alternatively, if offloading infantry or tanks rather than a stationary turret, commands can be issued to go forth and attack or to patrol a designated area of the map.
Like a more traditional strategy game players are also responsible for building units by spending credits. Credits are obtained steadily throughout a match but additional credits are awarded based on the number of bases that your side controls. Bases are scattered around each map and have a number of additional features, outside of the additional credits, as they can also heal your hero unit and be used to collect any units that have been built.
Bases are captured by successfully having four infantry units enter the building. Infantry regularly depart from the main base and automatically rush out onto the battlefield towards the nearest base but it’s entirely possible to create more infantry units at will and ferry them across the map yourself.
Controlling bases and successfully defending them, is key to success but ultimately the target is to destroy your opponents main base in a standard game. There are five different game modes on offer though: PvP, Solo, Coop, Survival and Challenge. PvP games pit you against real people while solo games feature only AI opponents; Coop games are also against AI opponents but with a team of player controlled allies; Survival mode features waves of AI controlled enemies rushing your main base, which you must defend and Challenge maps are specially designed encounters with unique win conditions.
As this is a free to play game it should come as no surprise to find that their is an in game store stocking an assortment of new mechs, pilot characters, units and items that can be bought with real world dollars or the in game currency Kudos.
Kudos is earned at the end of each completed match regardless of whether you were victorious or not. Most items in the store can be bought using Kudos although not all. The first few affordable AirMechs will set you back around 3000 Kudos and a completed match pays out a few hundred so it’s a fair grind to unlock new equipment but not too prohibitive. Alternatively if you’re really impatient, desperate or enjoying AirMech so much you would like to contribute financially then those cheaper mechs are available for $2.99 (around £1.85) with the most luxurious ones going for $4.99 ( about £3).
The blend of traditional strategy elements with MOBA games’ creeping infantry and powerful hero units puts AirMech in a rather unique place and already at the alpha stage it’s ridiculously entertaining. As the game plays through Google’s Chrome browser it’s easy to start up a game be happily distracted for a good few hours.
The easiest way to get involved with AirMech right now is through Chrome as the alpha testing is completely open for everyone. Simply install the game through the Chrome Web Store and you’re all set. If for some reason the thought of installing Google’s browser disgusts you but you’d still like to fly around and blow things up AirMech style then don’t worry, it’s still possible you’ll just have to join the queue. For a native PC client version you’ll have to post in this thread on the Carbon Games forums and hope for best.