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Video Game / AirMech

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You got Action in my RTS!
AirMech is an Action / Real-Time Strategy hybrid game by Carbon Games (formed by the developers of Fat Princess), 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 team'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 more specialized models that can be purchased with "Kudos" (earned after every match as currency) or "Diamonds" (paid for via microtransactions). There are also a number of different AirMechs and pilots for same. Items are trinkets that provide stat boosts, albeit less than the pilots themselves, and lastly, custom parts, which provide trade offs with their stats.

Then in 2017, Air Mech was split into two games:

Air Mech Strike is free to play. It is in it's late beta stages and is continually being overhauled. Players can either sign up for the Windows version, sign in with Steam, or sign 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: Several units fill the role of exterminating Airmechs, although the best solution to enemy airmechs is usually your own airmech.
    • Seekers are basically mobile surface-to-airmech missile launchers in tank chassis.
    • The T99 defense turret is capable of launching heat seeking missiles and firing an autocannon at ground targets (though not simultaneously). Thankfully, they are immobile, expensive, and heavy.
    • There is also the HAAT - "Heavy Anti-Aircraft Turret", which shreds passing Airmechs, and its lighter and mobile cousin the Flakker.
    • The Aegis, supposedly responsible for the "extinction of several species of bird", can decimate missiles, rockets, and bombs midair.
    • The Gorgon is "The unholy marriage of a HAAT turret and a super-heavy modified tank chassis". Its mere presence alone can prevent enemy Airmechs from engaging your army.
  • Apocalypse How: a planetary class 1, where society has been ravaged by the Great War.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The fortress takes double damage from the corners (formerly on the front door) and half damage on the back. See also Flash of Pain.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: 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 or strafing tactics are used, due to the sheer amount of firepower they can bring to bear.
    • The Devastator is an absolute monstrosity of a tank that has six Goliath barrels strapped on to the sides. And it can rapid fire them, leveling anything short of another Devastator. However, it is only unlocked at (in match) level 9, costs a whopping 38k credits, and is extremely slow and heavy.
    • Flavor Text for the Lockbox, Safebox and Vaultbox notes that they could be used to form a VERY expensive wall (and is not recommended).
    • Missile silos can launch tactical nukes at the enemy, but require that the Airmech deploys an incredibly obvious targeting beacon, allowing the enemy to simply move out of the way.
  • Back from the Dead: The Necro can restore destroyed vehicles if their wreck has yet to be salvaged or despawn. Better make sure that Devastator you just destroyed stays down.
  • Bribing Your Wayto Victory: Averted. The only things that can be purchased exclusively with the premium currency are cosmetics, things that don't affect ingame at all (like player market stuff), and "Ultimate Items", which are disabled in ranked modes and most custom games.
  • Color-Coded Armies and Color-Coded Multiplayer: both played straight and averted. Four colors are available to players, blue (the default for the player or the first team), red (default for the AI or the second team), green, and "Carbon" (bearing the creator company's colors: black and orange). A blue Striker on team A is visually distinct from a red Striker on team B. However, there's nothing stopping players on the same team from picking the same Airmech, leading to some potential for Confusion Fu.
  • Combat Medic: Patchers, Fixers, and Ratchets. The Osprey airmech can fill this role as well, and for once it's actually very fun. Then there's the Necro, which revives dead units.
  • Continuing is Painful: The penalty for dying is similar to Defense of the Ancients. 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.
  • Creator Cameo: Front Line Assembly members Bill, Jason, Jared, and Jeremy are pilots unlockable by purchasing the game soundtrack.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Units & Airmechs will work perfectly even with just a slither of health. It's better to bring things over to a base to bring them back to full health.
    • Wreckage will look the same for several seconds or until it gets recycled before it suffers this trope and sinks into the ground.
  • Damage Is Fire: Units (but not infantry) burn & give off black smoke at low health.
  • Death from Above: The bomb unit is a bomb carried like you would carry other units, and is dropped while still in the air (Airmechs normally have to be on the ground to attack ground units). Simply dropping offensive units against enemies also counts.
    • The Bomber airmech (an Expy of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber) has the unique ability to drop bombs at the cost of fuel, 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...
    • The Warthog airmech, like it's real life counterpart, has the ability to gun units from the air, albeit with a reduced DPS (the penalty is reducible with ability levels).
  • Deflector Shields: The Lunchbox socket item provides shields to the structure the socket originated from. Perfect for providing a little time to react to sudden attacks.
  • Destructible Projectiles: Missiles can be shot down with airmech bullets or the Aegis' lasers. There's even a stat for airmechs dedicated to increasing the chance of shooting missiles down.
  • 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.
  • Flash of Pain: Tanks and similar units flash red when being struck from behind (they are receiving double damage). Some units, like the Grinder, flash blue when struck from the front as they have stronger front armor. The fortress does both depending on where it is hit.
  • Fog of War: The Jammer & Sonya units obscure a circle of the map around them, resulting in an obvious black blotch on the minimap or a perfectly hidden army, again depending on the players' subtlety when it comes to positions. Nothing an enemy airmech flyby can't see though.
  • 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.
  • From a Single Cell: All airmechs & units, with the exception of Guardians, can be repaired back to full health over any fortress or base. Units can also be repaired by Combat Medic units, but at a much slower rate.
  • Gatling Good: The aptly named Gatty turret (and its Ultimate counterpart) shreds light infantry. The Brute infantry (also with an Ultimate variant) decimate anything lightly armored. And don't get me started on the Warthog Air Mech!
  • Genre-Busting: The game combines Action with Real-Time Strategy by giving Herzog Zwei a modern interpretation, and throws in elements from Defense of the Ancients. Its Google Chrome page calls it "MOBA Action RTS."
  • Glass Cannon: Sam infantry shoot homing missiles that hit fairly hard, and in groups of 6 or more hunt down Longhorns and Armadillos, and balls of 12 can easily destroy an enemy Airmech, but aren't especially durable, going down in only a few shots.
  • Hand Wave: Why the game didn't have mass selection.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Out of all the melee options in Airmech, only the iconic Striker has a sword (a Laser Blade) in its arsenal.
  • Hero Killer: The Baloom is basically a giant naval mine given thrusters to fly right into the enemy Airmech's face and explode, dealing crazy damage, but only towards enemy Airmechs.
  • Homage: It's a big love letter to Herzog Zwei.
  • Humongous Mecha: The title was a bit of a clue, wasn't it?
  • Instant-Win Condition: if your fortress goes down, it's over. When faced en masse, the AI likes to simply dump units on your front door to chip away at your fortress's HP.
    • The Hardcore stat disables revival when a mech is destroyed. When all airmechs of a side are destroyed, it's a loss for that side. Fortunately, the stat is only available on joke items.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: In a game where experience is shared whenever anything is killed or built, a skirmish between airmechs can be turned upside down whenever a dying airmech levels up and regains 100% hitpoints and fuel.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bomber airmechs are fast but are capable of destroying entire groups of units thanks to their splash damage melee ground attacks.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A specialty of anti-air units such as Seekers, or Airmechs with missile abilities, such as the Helix. 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. The Hunter Seeker variety have weaker but slightly faster missiles, upping the ante.
  • Mana Meter: All airmechs have a fuel gauge, which is used for flight, abilities, and in some case, firing guns. Refueling is done simply by landing & waiting, or by flying over a fortress or base. The bases and fortress also have fuel meters themselves which regenarate over time; once base fuel is depleted (either by refueling or repairs), the base can only refuel or repair at a snails pace.
  • Mighty Glacier: Warthog airmechs, while as fast as Strikers in the air, are immensely slow while firing or on the ground (or both!). They can, however, destroy anything in seconds.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Subverted by the Bucky trucks, trucks with dumb rocket artillery systems, share their name with some of the strongest synthetic carbon allotropes "Buckyballs" or buckminsterfullerenes. They're extremely fragile.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Natasha. There's a Mr. Fanservice too in the form of Ultimate Hawk.
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: The fortress goes down with multiple bangs and clouds of smoke when it's being damaged.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Whole tanks can be created in seconds. Subverted by the fact that the bases themselves are not constructed, but are simply taken over from the enemy (or neutral) forces by infantry.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shows Damage: Besides smoking units, the fortress shows falling plate armor, and the numerous bases have 4 lights or "bulbs" that turn off once sufficient damage is received.
  • Splash Damage: The infamous artillery, Arty, Archy, & Bertha. Arty provides basic power with range. Archy is slightly weaker, in exchange for some range. Bertha knocks everything down.
  • Status Buff:
    • This is the Paladin airmech's whole shtick, with an enemy-slowing hammer throw, as well as attack up and defense up auras similar to other MOBAs.
  • Stone Wall: Turtles in their curled up state have absurd amounts of armor, even more than the Devastator, allowing it to eat enemy attacks to protect your own units, but they have no way to directly attack the enemy.
    • The Neo also has the aforementioned Stasis Blast, slowing enemy movement & firespeed, as well as preventing enemy airmechs from changing into Air mode.
    • The whole point of Stasis mines.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: There are 4 weapon types & 4 armor types, light, medium, heavy, & the rare ultra heavy. Each lower tier weapon does half damage to the next tier armor, a fourth of damage to the next, and so on. This makes the higher DPS heavy armor but medium weaponed Gemini tanks weaker vs. lower DPS heavy armor heavy weaponed Longhorn tanks. Versus most infantry and vehicles, Geminis deal more damage without suffering from any penalty, and are much better than Longhorns.
  • 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.
  • Teased with Awesome: Units & other game play objects are sometimes put on as trial during the current update; trial units can also be obtained as drops, which can be used 3 times before you need to unlock them permanently. Nothing competitive/gameplay related requires real currency though.
  • Transforming Mecha: The titular airmechs.
  • War Has Never Been So Much Fun: Candy colored armies and no human units. All are robots except the titular Airmechs.
  • Walk It Off: Literally, when out of combat, any airmech can land (and walk) to regenerate hit points & fuel as long as it's not under attack.
  • Watching Troy Burn: At the end of most matches, the losing team may be forced to simply hover over their fortress and watch as the incoming enemy wave of units barge in; the wave may simply be too strong for mechs to even land on the ground, or the lack of resources have pushed them into defeat.
  • Video Game Flame Throwers Suck: The Flamer infantry does a low amount of damage
  • 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.