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Metal King Slime
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2014 In Review: Iron Galaxy (Pre-Alpha) 
 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 3:51 am
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Get that textbox off of her face! I wanna see that face!
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Just like on the GBA.. only without all those nerdy stats and figures!
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It's that kind of a game.
This is a review of Iron Galaxy (pre-alpha).

This game identifies itself as a Pre-Alpha, and that's an accurate assessment. It makes critiquing it feel pointless. There's just enough content in the SD Giant Robot designs to make it feel like it belongs in the Reviewable Game category, but there's so little polish and effort that it doesn't feel like a complete game.

The game starts without any fanfare, just a "Name The Hero" screen. This is a shitty way to start a game. I know nothing about the hero. Is it a man? Is it a woman? Tough guy? Nerd? Paladin? Necromancer? These are things I need to know before I can name this person. If the hero turned out to be a buxom blonde with a libido faster than the Indy 500, I'd feel really stupid giving her my own manly-man name, right?

I stuck with the default. Kenzo, the hero, is charged by some urgent looking lady to save them from some kinda space threat. But first, he has to choose his team! This is another frustrating part: You're given a list of names. There's no descriptions, there's no biographies, not even any pictures. Once you choose one, they say hello in a portrait and then you choose another. It's basically a guessing game. I wasn't lucky enough to pick any healers, and one of my guys had an ability that supercharged his offensive capabilities at the cost of HP, so trying that out once turned out to be a really bad idea. Spent most of the demo regretting it.

I will give credit to Blasted Earth, the game looks super cool. All the robots have nice designs, there's a lot of animationy type stuff in the battles. One of my guys was JET LEADER and he could call in his sidekicks in fighter jets to do attack runs on the bad guy. That's a really cool concept and was executed great for an OHR Battle! ...but then Jet 1, 2 and 3, his squadron, were also enemy encounters! You coulda at least given 'em different names! Each design was unique, and also seemed to have a pilot portrait. The enemies were also very well drawn. It's a beautiful looking game. The only downside to all of this animation is that the damage doesn't seem to be indicated correctly. It'll pop up "417!" and then your HP goes down by 60. Sometimes enemies die from an attack before the damage they took was displayed. I have no idea what's going on with it.

I mention the OHR Battles, but between battles you're constricted to an Advance Wars type of turn based strategy. Apparently the goal is to keep the enemy from getting to your planet, while you try to kill all of them and get to theirs. You control two units, the four heroes you chose and a second group consisting of a robot named Desiree and a rookie. The game doesn't tell you which is which when you're moving around, which makes it fun when the moron platoon takes on the final boss. In their defense, they whittled him down to his last segment before dying, but still. It's well scripted, but kinda pointless? The enemy doesn't seem to employ a whole lot of strategy, you can't tell what the enemies are, you can't even tell which heroes you're using, so it loses... basically everything you'd expect from Advance Wars. The enemy got to my planet once, I attacked and beat them and didn't lose. Either it gives you a grace period or it doesn't work.

I got to the final boss, as I said almost beating him with my rookies, and then dying with my main crew who was out of MP and one of whom had foolishly blown himself up trying a technique. At this point the game entered a loop of the "You're now fighting the final boss!" textbox, followed by an immediate fade to black 'cause everyone was dead, what might've been the game-over screen, and then BACK to the "You're now fighting the final boss!" textbox. So I guess that's the game.

Even though they're nicely animated, the battles are really pretty slow and lack a lot of strategy. The main difficulty is in figuring out which of your various options do the most damage, and once you've found that you can just spam it, occasionally "recharging" for more MP. The enemies have a lot of HP, as I mentioned before the damage display seems to be total nonsense and the game neglects to give you a lot of crucial information. If all of the mecha art was uploaded somewhere, it'd be worth taking a look at. Very stylish, very cool. The game itself is in a shameful state and I wouldn't bother with it until it's out of pre-alpha.

Not that that'll ever happen, of course. Can we change the name of the Random Collab contest to the "Empty Promises and Broken Dreams" contest?
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