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Video Game / Ironcast

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Ironcast is a strategic puzzle RPG from British developer Dreadbit Games, helmed by developer Daniel Leaver of LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2 fame. It was initially released for PC on March 26th, 2015, and was then ported to Playstation 4 and Xbox One in March 2016, with the Nintendo Switch version following on August 10th, 2017.

The game is set in an Alternate History Steampunk version of Southeast England circa 1886, where England is at war with France, both sides making prominent use of giant Humongous Mechas known as Ironcasts. The player is tasked with repelling French forces before they reach London in 9 days.

The actual combat is very much reminiscent of Puzzle Quest, with RPG-like customization. The timed permadeath campaign also bears similarities to games like FTL: Faster Than Light and Bionic Dues.

It can be found on Steam here.

Ironcast contains examples of:

  • Bilingual Bonus: "Tueur De Reines", the name of Durant's personal Ironcast, means "Killer of Queens", a fitting name for a superweapon made to fight the British Empire.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: With The Reveal being that England is the Black. It turns out the French are running from an alien Interloper and are only invading because England refuses to help them. The Interloper, likewise, is only attacking because the Voltite Ironcasts use is Silicon-Based Life and it hates humans for accidentally enslaving its children - a fact which your commander refuses to acknowledge when the Player Character catches on.
  • Chicken Walker: Many Ironcasts come with this design, though this is most prominent in the light design of the Ironcast, known as the Arundel.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The different statistics and the gems used to charge them up:
    • Purple is ammunition.
    • Orange is energy.
    • Blue is coolant.
    • Green is repair.
    • Yellow is currency.
    • White is overdrive.
  • Cool Train: Steamtanks, vehicles that occasionally replace Ironcasts as your enemies, are wheeled, armed locomotives with reinforced armor plating instead of shields. They're no less devastating than their legged counterparts.
  • Deflector Shields: Ironcasts can come equipped with these, which can be brought down by both kinetic and energy weapons.
  • Downer Ending: England is still a bitter, ruthless empire at the end of the campaign, France is absolutely devastated, and it's highly unlikely the Interloper was the only one of its kind - or that the rest won't seek revenge themselves. Plus, its heavily implied that the protagonist will be put to death for daring to question how the Empire handled the French and Voltite situations.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humanity (or at least the Western nations of Britain and France) treat the entire species of Voltite as something to be burned as readily as coal. The Interloper in turn regards humanity as "All Evil" and apparently plans to Kill All Humans.
  • Final Death Mode: The campaign mode is built around a permadeath feature, with only certain bonuses and unlockables carrying over from run-to-run.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: All playable commanders have at least one groundbreaking invention under their belts, and each come with a unique Signature Augmentation.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Both in the tutorial and in the campaign your superior will tell you about things you are supposed to do on the puzzle grid.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Queen Victoria and the British Empire, whose new empire and technology is based on enslaving sentient fuel to build up weapons of war, and denying sanctuary to French refugees trying to escape the fallout. Considering that historically both were known for their vehement opposition to slavery, alliances with France (at the time), and relative devotion to humanitarian causes, this is quite jarring.
  • Humongous Mecha: The titular Ironcasts, although the armies of both sides don't entirely depend on them, sometimes resorting to standard military fare. Durant's Gargantuan-class, the Tueur De Reines, is humongous even by Ironcast standards.
  • Location Theme Naming: All playable Ironcasts are named after castles in England or Wales.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Ironcasts.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Lord Butler, your commanding officer and head of the Consortium, teaches you the basics of the game in the tutorial, and then promptly dies before the campaign itself.
  • Mission Control: Your commanding officer (Lord Butler in the tutorial, Lady Blackwell in the rest of the game) is in constant contact with you and updates you on mission parameters and offers helpful advice.
  • Monumental Damage: The Westminster clock tower ("Big Ben") is a downplayed example in that while it's never completely destroyed, you can still see that it's on fire during your battles in Westminster.
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Steampunk: The steampunk technology is only possible thanks to the exploitation of the potent and alien, and sentient mineral voltite.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Voltite, the power source of the Ironcasts and a great deal of other inventions, is sentient, sapient, and not pleased.
  • Real Robot Genre: A rare Steampunk variation.
  • Red Shirt: The "war assets" you collect are actually infantry, who assault the boss at the start of each fight, each one doing 1 HP of damage out of a few thousand. 90% die against the first boss; after assaulting the second boss...
    The Spire: Obviously, they are all dead.
  • Schizo Tech: A mixture of both Steampunk tropes and some light sci-fi tropes is in the game. An example of the leaning towards sci-fi is the female protagonist Aeres Powell, who carries a glowing neon fan. Justified in that the Steampunk tech is actually alien in nature.
  • Shock and Awe: The shock coil variety of weapon is built around this.
  • Steampunk: Actually nails the "punk" half too, given how England's refusal to move on from grudges and acknowledging the idea that they are relying on a sapient life form's enslavement is likely going to doom it.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Lady Blackwell is fully aware of what Voltite is and why the French invaded.
  • Universal Ammunition: The purple tiles that serve as ammunition supplies are used to fire cannons, repeaters, rocket launchers, rayguns, electric weapons...
  • Walking Tank: The Ironcasts are treated in this manner, particularly with regard to how increasing the movement makes them harder to hit.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The Teuer de Rines is quickly eclipsed by "The Interloper."
  • Zeppelins from Another World: While you don't face them in battle, airships are prominent in this world and are used for both transportation and bombing (almost a hundred of them carpet-bombed London just before the game begins).