AirMech is an upcoming Action / Real Time Strategy hybrid game by Carbon Games, heavily inspired by Herzog Zwei. Players control the eponymous Humongous Mecha, which is also a Transforming Mecha: they can fly and airdrop units, or land on the ground to trade shots with the enemy.The objective is to destroy the opposing player's base, just as in a Real Time Strategy game. But as in Herzog Zwei, the player cannot directly damage the base. Instead, players can build a variety of units to attack, defend and capture bases to collect resources, and only those units can destroy the opponent's base. Fortunately the AirMech can pick up and airlift any unit their team owns.No game is complete without customization, of course. You can only bring eight units into battle at one time, varying from infantry to scout vehicles to heavy tanks to artillery to stationary defenses, and many of them have advanced models that can be purchased with "Kudos" (earned after every match as currency), "Diamonds" (paid for via microtransactions). There are also a number of different AirMechs and pilots for same.The game is free to play. It is in it's beta stages, and players can either sign up for the private Windows version, or immediately be able to play by signing up for the open Google Chrome App version.
This game features examples of:
A Commander Is You: An interesting blend of this; see Genre Busting below. You can specialize in playing a certain way on either an army (macro), tactical (micro), or personal (mostly just your airmech) level. Thanks to the customization and gameplay dynamics, you can be a huge variety of faction types, or a decent blend of several.
Anti Air: Seekers, which are basically mobile SA Ms. There are other units that fill this role, however, including the T99 defense turret, which is capable of launching seeker missiles and firing an autocannon at ground turrets. Thankfully, those are immobile, expensive, and heavy. There is also the HAAT - "Heavy Anti-Aircraft Turret", which shreds passing Airmechs, and the Aegis, supposedly responsible for the "extinction of several species of bird."
Combat Medic: Patchers and Ratchets. The Osprey airmech can fill this role as well, and for once it's actually very fun.
Continuing Is Painful: The penalty for dying is similar to Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. It awards your opponent experience and funds, and leaves you unable to do anything while you wait to respawn. In fact, you can't even see the battlefield (except for where you died), as you watch your new Airmech be assembled from scratch. Still, it's merciful enough that dying multiple times a match can be perfectly okay.
However, you are still allowed to queue up units for construction while being re-built, so long as you have the funds.
Death from Above: The Bomber airmech (an Expy of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber) has the unique ability to carry cluster bombs like you would carry other units, and drop them while still in the air (Airmechs normally have to be on the ground to attack ground units). The Bomber also has a skill dedicated to bombing, allowing for faster, more precise deployment of cluster bombs. These bombs are nicely balanced in that they are powerful and do a bit of splash damage, but they require good aim, timing, and planning to make practical. But when you do...
Difficult, But Awesome: Many things, which is part of what makes the game so fun—but different things require different kinds of skills. Some players are excellent macromanagers, some are very good at making a decent push into a threatening freight train with their Combat Medic skills, and some people equip some boosters onto their Bomber airmechs and run constant cluster-bombing runs while dodging 20 missiles at once. Oh, and those macromanagers? They're the guys who have been sending endless waves of infantry at your bases, and eventually reach the economic critical mass to start mass-producing Goliath tanks.
Fragile Speedster: The player, who can fly all over the map at blazing speed, but is not meant to fight alone. You're still more than a match for all but the heaviest Mook's, but when outnumbered by a wide margin, you can be brought down. Even better, it leaves you wide open to an attack by the other team's players.
Freemium: While the game can be freely downloaded and played both offline and online, kudos and exp gains for playing offline and co-op against CPU are limited. Buying a VIP status solves this. There are two kinds of VIP status: Silver, which, on top of extra kudos and exp, allows you to have unlimited rewards for solo and co-op, and Gold, which is Silver but with bigger boosts. Gold VIP is subscription based, Silver VIP is of the 'pay once, you have it on forever' kind. Despite this, the game is technically not an Allegedly Free Game. The meat and potatoes of the game is Player vs Player matches, which has unlimited rewards.
Macross Missile Massacre: A specialty of anti-air units such as Seekers, or Airmechs with missile abilities, such as the Chopper. These missile barrages are quite lethal and have good tracking, but they're just slow/sluggish enough to make High Speed Missile Dodging possible and fun every time.
Microtransactions: You can use them to pay for cosmetic stuff and to unlock units, pilots and airmechs without having to wait to earn kudos in-game. You still need to be of a sufficiently high level to be able to unlock them, however, so no Bribing Your Way to Victory. Additionally, the standard/cheaper units are just as balanced as the others, and there is a rotation for different items/airmechs/characters being free for certain period of time.
Reality Ensues: Airmechs may be awesome and powerful... but they're so huge that they're susceptible to anti-air fire even when on the ground. Direct airmech attacks against anti-air units border on suicidal unless hit-and-run tactics are used, due to the sheer amount of firepower they can bring to bear.
Tank Goodness: There are many kinds of tanks, each somewhat specialized towards certain roles. The Armadillo is a cheap, decent tank that you can churn out quickly, while the expensive Goliath is a monster of a tank that can usually beat airmechs in a duel, or take on an entire base by itself.
Zerg Rush: Infantry can do this, helped by a player dumping infantry on top of an enemy outpost so they can steal it without the opponent's undivided attention. A Zerg Rush is a valid form of harassment. And then there are the boomers.