Dreadbits Victorian Steampunk title Ironcast is back, this time around jumping from the PC to our Xbox One and PS4 consoles. I haven’t had the chance to play it on the PC, so I am going into this with a fresh open mind. The game is set in 1866 where the lovely French have developed a new super-energy known as Volite. This is a power source that is part of a new shield like technology and new energy based weapons. The French have decided not to share this discovery with the rest of the world, which has caused conflict with their neighbouring nation Britain. The war is ever going, lasting over decades with both countries consistently making new weaponry. This is where the titan war machine Ironcast is created. These are 20ft iron-walkers that are like Victorian Gundam fighters. Piloting an Ironcast to defend England from the French invasion is the main factor here.

The story is sadly a bit on the dull side, the concept is great and you can admit it sounds very interesting, but sadly it falls a bit flat. The story doesn’t have much depth to it which is what lets it down the most, but as mentioned the concept is great, sadly it’s down to how they tell the story through newspaper clippings, and short pre-mission dialogues that are more plot fillers than story. Ironcast’s gameplay requires 3 turns per phase to match up 3 three or more of the same coloured nodes. Once matching, this will create consumables for your mech, ranging from ammunition, tools, coolant and power.

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These consumables, especially Power and coolant are both required to turn on the mech’s defensive capabilities. The consumables are continuously drained over the forthcoming phases as the systems remain on. All pretty straight forward, but tools are required for repairing any broken systems. The game also offers power-up nodes that help make the game have that extra bit of fun, the overdrive nodes increase efficiency, link nodes allow you to link multiple resources and lastly scrap nodes gain you some extra materials for upgrading your walking tank.

Each day the French invasion force makes further ground towards London. The missions will focus you to gain man power and upgrade your mech to defend against the French mechs. Each mission focuses on different objectives, rewards and varying difficulties. One mission will focus on you stopping the French gaining supplies, then the next may require you to save some tea leafs to keep up moral. This also means that the playthrough’s are very unlikely to be the same, but it also offers the ability to make it as challenging as you want.

The game has a lot of RPG elements that focus on you collecting scrap, so you can make repairs to your mech, blueprints from missions to upgrade weaponry and defences. You can also get equipment drops, but it’s a luck game and shouldn’t be relied upon too often. When levelling up you get a choice of three augmentations which come down to passive skills for your character/mech or abilities for equipment. These are sadly randomised every time you level.

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Unfortunately, Ironcast does not have a multiplayer mode, despite the fact that in many ways the mechanics are perfect for match-ups that include the potential for a battle between two human players. I have a feeling that this was not included due to it being quite unbalanced, considering you cannot see the opposing players board, which most of the time makes me question if they purposely did that so rival opponents in game continue to battle with you for as long as possible, which does make the game drag and can make the mech fights a tad dull.  As mentioned previously, the game I feel requires a lot of luck which I think will frustrate a lot of players and is also a downside to the game. I would rather it be based on skill than luck.

However, Ironcast is a very interesting streampunk title that offers a lot of nice features. The progression system is rewarding, but challenging. The Victorian setting is an interesting choice and a great alternative time period in time for mechs to appear. Could you imagine if that actually happened in history? Sadly, the story is flat and is the lowest point in the title. Hopefully if a sequel is planned this is something to work on. The gameplay is great, the music and sound design is fantastic, right down to the metallic clunks. Mech on mech combat can be a bit dull, but the soundtrack keeps the battle alive. It is all about the gems and bear in mind that this is a gem matching game with some RPG elements should you decide to give Ironcast a shot.

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Author

Marshall
Marshall

Video game fanatic since a young age. FIFA expert and all-round sports junky. I dive into various titles and love experiencing new and creative games.