As much as I prefer the Android operating system over any other phone or pad OS, there are days I almost look at the Apple store in longing. MechWarrior Tactical Command is one of those times. I can hope all I want, but to clean up a dirty expression, wishes will fill the other hand long after I wash off the first one.
However, being a paragon of 3rd party and amateur game and app development enterprise, the Android Market has plenty of other Mecha-themed games, even if sadly none have anything to do with BattleTech. Yet. Today I will be reviewing five games for the Android OS that might help to scratch your 31st century combat itch.
Armored Strike by Requiem Software Labs has been on the market for some years now. Its a Worms-style turn-based direct and indirect fire calculation that pits you against the AI or up to three other players. You can even create and host matches on the multiplayer server. It has colorful and eye-catching cartoon-style environments and designs reminiscent of the Metal Slug series. And probably most noteworthy from a BattleTech perspective is that one of the two mecha in the game (there is also three tanks and a powered armor) looks suspiciously like the iconic Madcat/Timberwolf.
Iron Sight by Polarbit is similar in execution to Armored Strike but exists in a pure 3D environment. The game play is kind of slow in comparison but still pretty fun; the player being forced to pick and choose indvidual weapons to hurl at your opponent from a scrolling menu. There are only two mecha designs available. One looks somewhat like a quad-legged Catapult, while the other is more reminiscent of an Urbanmech. Several times during a game there a powerup container will ‘beam’ to part of the board to be picked up. Weapons include single and multiple rockets, multi-warhead rockets, guided missiles, and orbital lasers.
SAWS: The Puridium War, by MWG is a run-and-gun style overhead shooter placing you in what reminds me of a Ravager heavy battlearmor vs a horde of aliens. Your SAWS is graphically and functionally customizable with various weapons, from traditional gatling guns and shotguns to missiles and beam weapons. The graphics are quite nice, but gameplay quickly gets repetitive, until you’re grinding the same levels over and over to afford that new shotgun or laser.
Destroy Gunners, by Shade is a series of free to play games that look very flashy and slick in the Japanese ‘military robot” style. It features visual and gameplay elements highly reminiscent of Armored Core as well as Front Mission Online. Play will require signing onto the Gree network; a Japanese mobile social gaming platform. Through Gree you can also purchase credits, locate friends to help during missions, and challenge others to PvP matches.
There are at least six releases of the game that I can find. I’m not too sure which came first. But are, as I said free to play. The main issue I have with this series is reading comprehension- of just about everything. The series is produced in Japan. And most of the storyline and information viewed in game has some rather rough translations that tend to be hard to follow.
The story is simple post-apocalyptic fare. Humans pushed to the brink face gangs of bandits and AI controlled mecha trying to kill off humanity. The game is straightforward enough- kill everything you can while you can in the time allowed, collect powerups for ammo and experience points, junk (their currency) and other variables effecting how your game develops and how fast you can upgrade your mecha. Weapons are standard Cannon/Laser/Missile types.
Lastly is Gunners Union. Also by Shade, GU is essentially a Facebook-style resource farming game that takes place in their Destroy Gunners universe. Every Mecha design from the 3rd person shooter games is here. However each is assigned a type based on their weapon and armor. Each type has their strengths and weaknesses. Charge units carry autocannon and are strong against Laser type mechs, and weak against Support units, which carry missiles and howitzers, and so on.
There’s unfortunately no real tactical side to it. You have twelve spaces to place which mecha you want in formation against the bad guys twelve spaces. You can field five of your own mecha and up to two mercenaries from your online buddies. Placement is mainly in consideration of your opponent’s splash damage and the range of your own units. Combat is actually pretty close to games like Advance Wars or Military Madness in that regard. Every time your mercenary is used it generates money. Most of your time will be building up a military reservation, which includes everything from building factories and research centers to upgrade your mechs to farming vegetables and building electrical components and water tanks. Tedious but extremely addictive.
These are by no means all the games I could possibly review. But that will have to wait for when I have more time.
Android Market. No you won’t find any real BattleTech games here at the moment, but you can at least scratch the itch for big robot combat while on the go.
Bargained well, and done.