Developed by Drakkar Dev Published by Blowfish Studios Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Switch, XBox, and Steam)
War Tech Fighters’ core consists of mechs and space battles. Play is initiated through missions and is the action based shenanigans expected of the genre. The missions host a variety of different puzzles and objectives. The real star of War Tech Fighters is kebabing, drop-kicking, and the general Hulk-smashing of ships as a giant War Tech (or commonly known as a mech). The carnage is utterly satisfying and the varied cutscenes never seem to get old. The regen effects of engaging this way are an added bonus. While fun, mission objectives are the ultimate goal of play, completion helps progression of story, research, and War Tech upgrades.
The story is not particularly engaging and is lacking the immersion of other games in the genre. The premise itself serves well for space battles, but the story can be skipped. What it lacks story wise is made up for in world building and the pacing of useful dialogue. The dialogue during missions helps guide and explain what needs to be done. Dialogue also offers a brief breather from the void of staring at the radar. It almost has a retro arcade or FPS feel, especially during escort type missions. The Database area really shows off the background information such as character bio blurbs and story log for those interested. The ship and War Tech portion really shows off more world building details and acts similar to a bestiary in JRPGs.
Research and upgrades go hand in hand. Research is found through playing missions and finding the projects. Laser research needs laser projects. Upgrades are available after research and experience requirements are met, and spending hard earned in game cash. It can feel like a grind fest. The Simulator area adds to that feeling as it is where missions can be repeated and challenges can be played. It is not a bad thing and achievement hunters will enjoy the experience.
Upgrading the mech affects play. Regardless of choosing a light, medium, or heavy type War Tech, each body part of the War Tech can be upgraded. Some upgrades and research are passive, allowing more damage absorption or increasing number of launchable missiles. Some are active, such as some parts that increase heavy and light attack damage, or affect speed. Much like equipment in any game, finding a good balance is part of play strategy. The fact that each part has a visual change in game is fun too as players can choose an aesthetic route. All mechs need fancy metal wings and laser eyes afterall. Of course, there are enemy War Techs, mines, and other hazards throughout the game. War Tech on War Tech is really where the melee action is and the space swords and shields shine. What is not to love about sword fights in space, right?
Graphically, War Tech Fighters is not next gen fancy, but still pretty good. Mech color and patterns can change. Ship and part variation are actually pretty fabulous. While not relevant directly to play, the game has some spiffy design features. For instance, each area of the main menu is a part of the home ship. The animated crew and machines in the background add a nice visual touch. Most importantly, the game runs well as the graphics do not seem to tax the system.
On the flip side, the co-star of War Tech Fighters is easily the soundtrack. From the title screen through the missions, Riccardo Bellistri captures the excitement expected of rocking space battles. The guitar oriented soundtrack is reminiscent of Frank Klepacki, the rifts and beats are a great listen even outside of game play.
Another aspect worth mentioning is the tutorial. At start there is a brief tutorial to get things started. The player in not locked in. After that initial start the tutorial can be ignored. As mentioned earlier, the game introduces new information with good pacing. But it can be revisited as needed in the same area as the Simulations. Overall, War Tech Fighters is a fun library addition. The space combat and music offer enjoyment and the game is a refreshing break between more story heavy epics.