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Suit Up and Strap In: 3 New Games Putting You in the Pilot’s Seat

Happy Friday, adrenaline junkies. Today we’re kicking the tires and lightin’ the fires! We’re locking and loading! We’re…um…well you get the picture. Today’s games are putting you behind the controls of some serious firepower.

The Last Mechs – Kickstarter (Q4) >>>

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The Last Mechs comes from Juegorama who already proved that they can produce some amazing looking mech combat with their previous release Iron League. Rather than an arena fighter, though, Last Mechs is a 1 to 4 player cooperative dungeon crawl.

Players explore the wasteland that is Earth, destroyed in the last Mech Wars, looking for salvage and civilization. The game uses the increasingly popular zoom-in mechanic to go from a world map to a detailed dungeon map. Of course, any place that can be described as a “wasteland dungeon” always has some very uncivilized inhabitants. Fortunately, each of the 4 characters comes with some version of mechanized armor to help you battle your way through the hordes of savages, mutants, sandworms, and enemy mechs. Paul and Lorna come with your standard-looking battle mech, all dusty exoskeleton and bristling guns. The character Gork takes a very different approach with a simian-sized suit of gorilla armor. I expect lots of punching is involved there. And then there’s Karl, sporting a mechanized flight suit and a buddy-bot that looks reminiscent of a familiar, beloved Pixar character.

You being the “last mech” is in no way guaranteed.
Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners

Cool mechs and monsters are great, and honestly The Last Mech might have been able to rest on the strength of their character designs alone. But they’ve gone further by adding several unique story elements as well.

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In addition to looking for salvage and gear, each character also has a mysterious past that players are trying to uncover. As you explore ruins and cities, you can find and unlock your character’s back story which is told through an in-game comic book. Also, in addition to standard town actions like “Repair” and “Trade”, players can also send their characters to the tattoo shop for some serious customization.

The Last Mechs: A game about a camping trip where absolutely NOTHING goes wrong.
Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

AEGIS: Second Ignition – Kickstarter (Coming Soon) >>>

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

“Ready to form Voltron!”

“We need Megazord power, NOW!”

Any time you heard these words as a kid, you knew it was about to go DOWN! Some giant, improbable monster was about to get a well-deserved ass-kicking from an equally giant, improbable robot, and We. Were. There for it. Zephyr Games has capitalized on our love of giant, morphing robots by giving you literally hundreds of them to choose from.

AEGIS is a light robot skirmish game for 2 to 4 players with everything that entails. Players form squads of 5 robots from various factions and battle it out on a hex grid map. At the beginning of a round, each robot will generate energy per its stat card which forms the main resource of the game.

Even though the core mechanic is simple resource management, AEGIS aims to give players a dense catalog of possible Action and Ability combinations. Actions come in multiple categories, and each one costs energy. Most robots have an attack which entails a simple d6 roll. Of course, these attacks come in a variety of flavors such as Lasers with infinite range and cutting abilities, or Restraining attacks that pin down enemy bots. Movement is also varied with some robots being able to Fly or Jet over terrain and enemy bots. On top of this, there are Commanders which can be added to your force that bring passive abilities to the mix.

But be real. You’re still here because of the combining robots. And it’s that aspect of the game which brings the most possible variation. Each basic robot falls under 1 of 5 categories: Assault, Evasive, Guard, Intel, and Support. Clever, right? But in addition to the basic robots, there are also combo bots. In order to create a combo bot, a player must have bots of the correct make and model. For example, a Combo 2 bot might require a basic A and I bot joining together.

Brightly colored robots need an equally bright battlefield.
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If you’ve got the right combo, spend the energy and morph away. Voila! A new combo bot with all kinds of shiny new Actions and Abilities. And combo bots just go up and up until you reach the pinnacle of robot awesomeness: Combo 5 or AEGIS form! Better start finalizing your power-up catch phrase.

Blaze. All. Enemies.
Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

And in case you need even more options, the game comes with multiple play modes. For the wargamers, there’s an Advanced Mode that will force you to bust out the measuring tape. There’s also Chess Mode that has players going back and forth rather than activating all of their bots at once. And then there’s Point Control which is essentially mechanized King-of-the-Hill.

Dockfighters: The Ale Wars – Kickstarter (May 24) >>>

But maybe giant robots aren’t your thing. Maybe you prefer something a little more old school. Something a little less Power Rangers and a little more Rocketeer? That helmet was pretty dope. If that sounds like you, then get ready to fly the unfriendly skies in this new dieselpunk dogfighter.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Like AEGIS, Dockfighters is a hex-based skirmish game, only this time set in the skies above Germany. Deutschland has broken into various regional factions battling for supremacy. Fighter pilots are treated like rock stars, and everyone wants to become an ace whose mere name strikes fear into their rivals.

I am physically incapable of not making machinegun noises any time I look at this picture. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Players lead squadrons of beautifully designed aircraft in furious aerial brawls, asymmetrical missions, and even a full campaign. And if your regular gaming partner is busy, don’t worry because there is a solo mode. To complete your mission, you’ll need the right tools for the job. Choose from fighters, bombers, zeppelins, or the tiny dockfighters, single man fighters that launch from the zeppelins.

Many wild planes evolved to grow a propeller on their rear to confuse predators.
Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

But don’t get comfortable with your army lists. Dockfighters is a semi-legacy game, similar to Necromunda, in that units aren’t automatically replaced for the next game. Instead, players keep a running battle log and must replenish their forces using Fame and Honor, the in-game currencies received based on their successes. These are used to purchase new planes, upgrades, and pilots. What, you thought the planes flew themselves? Each of your pilots has their own character sheet for tracking their experience and earned abilities. At first simply surviving a mission is enough to gain experience, but if you want that coveted Ace title, that pilot has to make at least 5 kills. And when a pilot is dead, they’re dead and must be replaced with a green recruit. Be a real shame if something happened to that 4-kill veteran…

That guy on your six might disagree with you.
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There’s a reason not everyone is an ace, though. Shooting down planes is really hard. Dockfighters goes out of its way to simulate real aerial dogfighting in a way that is both authentic and accessible. Planes run out of ammo. Combat is modified by elevation, speed, and facing. And for the first time in an aerial combat game, you also have to contend with clouds. They move across the sky blocking your visibility and possibly even hitting you with lightning strikes.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

And I never thought I’d say this, but I really like the cloud terrain? Really all of the game components are amazing. That’s because the design company, 3DARTLAB, is primarily a 3D design studio. This expertise shows in the product. From the wooden game box, the magnetized dockfighters attaching to the zepplins, plane designs, freaking clouds, all of it looks amazing. They even have plans to take this further, launching a 3D terrain set as an add-on to their Dockfighters campaign. So get that Kickstarter “Notification of Launch” button in your sights and give it hell!

by Zane Messina

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