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Steampunk Puzzle Quest: Ironcast

Just last week I was wailing about the lack of a decent Puzzle Quest successor in my life and, lo, it’s as if the Kickstarter gods were listening. Ironcast is Puzzle Quest, with steampunk mechs stomping around Victorian London, fighting for queen and country. Except that’s not quite the full story, even though it would probably have been enough to capture my attention. The grid-based matching has a much stronger tactical element, with colours powering systems, which can be used to target specific enemy components with a variety of weapon types, disabling shields or other functional parts. Campaigning is also intriguing and, like a mech made out of a box of springs and Colonel Paste’s mechanical trouser, Ironcast appears to be more than the sum of its parts.

Each campaign involves selections from a procedurally generated series of missions, which make up a playthrough around 60 minutes in length that ends with a boss battle. The missions are preparation for the final fight, building up readiness in both troops and Ironcast capabilities.

The goal of the campaign is to repel the invasion of French forces before they reach the capital, London. Players have 14 days (which is the equivalent of 14 missions) to prepare themselves before the boss encounter, gathering experience points, cash resources and War Assets.

War Assets (WA) represent hundreds or even thousands of ground troops, air support and friendly armour that will engage and weaken the bosses before the player has to fight them. The more WA the player has before a boss encounter, the more likely it will be that they defeat the boss. We say more likely, but it’ll never be easy. This is a Roguelike, after-all…

Sounds splendid and looks spiffing.

Due to the difficulty and long term progression you see in Roguelikes, the player will be highly unlikely to get far into the game on initial play attempts. However, there is a certain amount of persistence from one gameplay session to the next, with players unlocking the chance that more powerful items and components will drop from destroyed enemies on subsequent playthroughs.

The game is expected before the end of the year and has already raised almost £3,000 of its £10,000 target. Not a huge amount of money, ten grand, but Dreadbit lay out their plans in a convincing fashion.

Ironcast was designed from the start to be a project that could be finished inside of a year. We’ve been careful to select only the features which we believe are essential for an exciting and compelling game. Anything else had to be put to one side in the “wouldn’t it be great if…” pile.

This dedication to clean, uncluttered game design comes from a great deal of experience working within the games industry, where some projects languish for several years before they finally see release (or are never released at all!). This is not how we believe game development should be done.

Any stretch goals will involve future content rather than delaying release and causing deviation from the current targets.

However, there’s so much more that we wish to put into the game! With your help, it can be done. With enough backing from you, the public, and a little bit of luck, we’ll be announcing realistic stretch goals early on. Expect more Commanders, more Ironcast designs, more locations and missions, perhaps more platforms, and of course, competitive multi-player, to be on the list.

We won’t be pushing back the launch date for these stretch goals, however, as we’ve already got a clear cut plan for how to get to launch. Instead, we’ll be patching the stretch goal content in at a later date, so you can all enjoy Ironcast while we continue to work on new content for the game.

Wise words.

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Adam Smith

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