As a child of the ’90s, I have very fond memories of watching space-themed cartoons all summer long. The vibrant colors and mechanics of shows like Gundam were always quick to grab my attention. It was with this fascination that I began playing War Tech Fighters, the latest title from Blowfish Studios and Drakkar Dev.
What is it?
War Tech Fighters is an arcade-style space shooter placing players in control of a Battle-Tech robot. Battle-Tech’s are highly customizable space vehicles designed to protect and defend yourself and your friends against the evil Zatros empire. Players are given a variety of unlockable battle-tech upgrades to improve offensive and defensive capabilities. These offerings are unlocked by completing missions, finding special research projects, or playing various challenges.
What is it about?
I can say quite definitively that the storyline of this game is as thin as a sheet of paper. Players begin in the middle of a war with Zatros empire as an elite Battle-Tech pilot. Your mission objectives are extremely simple, ranging from seek & destroy missions to stealth objectives, or a combination of both. Tragedy strikes the Battle-Tech squad upon the first encounter with the Black Hound of Zatros when Jacob’s Battle-Tech explodes from apparent sabotage. What ensues is a hunt to discover the traitor in your midst and to avenge Jacob.
Piloting the Battle-Tech units is a relatively simple endeavor. Battle-Techs can move throughout spaces with the joysticks. My major complaint is while movement is simple, the movement feels very loose. When flying around the controls feel slightly unresponsive and I found myself fighting with the camera regularly.
Weapon systems are controlled using bumpers and triggers. The weapons systems work splendidly. I found the differences between the long-range missiles, machine guns, and heavy energy cannons to be unique and well-conceived.
My favorite combat feature by far though was channelling my inner Gundam Style with hand-to-hand Battle-Tech combat. Players can unlock and customize both their swords and shields with a variety of energy upgrades. When a fellow Battle-Tech opponent comes within range, players are prompted with the ability to enter combat. As the swords come out players are then able to assault opposing battle-techs with fast and power attacks. Once an enemy is defeated, the players are rewarded with a satisfying death sequence where the fallen tech is sliced in half.
It has some issues
During my time with War Tech Fighters, I did encounter a game-breaking glitch. On two separate occasions, serious framerate issues and lag forced me to abandon the mission in order to hard-reset the game. When the missions contained a large number of enemy combatants and explosions my original Xbox One began dropping frames heavily. After a restart though, things seem to return to normal so I’m unsure as to the cause. Loading times are quite long, so be ready for them.
Is it a cohesive product?
War Tech Fighters is a bit of a conundrum. As a mech arcade game, it functions passably. It has all of the right components, space battles, an evil alien force to combat, lots of unlockables, etc. However, the lack of variety within mission objectives combined with the wafer-thin story let the game down.
It has great potential. Sure I get a bit annoyed with the movement, and I did experience a few game-breaking glitches, but the bones are there. I love the battle-tech upgrades. For fans of player customizable systems, it’s a delight. One can easily spend several hours min/maxing a few different suits builds, especially with the additional unlockable classes beyond the three base sets. It COULD be a great game. If the developers would invest a bit more into the story, even a TINY bit more, give it just a fraction more depth it would make it a much more solid experience.
Would I recommend this to the average gamer? Probably not. However, if you love giant fighting robot mech suits, and don’t mind a thin story, this game is good fun.