AirMech Wastelands rolls out to early access

Airmech Wastelands

It’s been a good, long while since we heard anything about Airmech, Carbon Games’ ambitious spiritual successor to 1989’s ancient proto-RTS Herzog Zwei. Even in its early days of development, part of Carbon’s plans has been to bless the PvP-focused Action RTS with a full single-player campaign inspired by Advance Wars. That was over five years ago, though, and you can be easily excused for thinking it’ll never happen

Better late than never, says I. This Friday, the story-driven action-RPG spinoff AirMech: Wastelands is available via Steam Early Access as a standalone, commercial game, albeit carrying an Alpha tag. True to their promises of years past, it’s free for anyone who has previously bought the Prime version of the now PvP-focused and rebranded AirMech Strike at some point in the past.

So, what we’ve got here is basically more AirMech as you remember it – a solid, refined game of fast shooting and quickfire strategy, built on a classic foundation – but with a single-player focus that kinda reminds me of Starcraft 2’s campaigns. In among the usual basic shooter missions and RTS-focused stages are some missile-heavy setpiece boss battles, and there’s an increased focus on stat-based progression. You’ll level up, find loot and buy upgrades to help your plucky band of resistance fighters take back post-apocalyptic Earth from The Iron Hand, an army of sentient robots.

I’ve only played a couple missions of AirMech Wastelands so far, but hope to sink a little more time into it over the weekend. While I didn’t get far enough to see it myself, I saw mention that some events such as the aerial battleship boss fight shown in the trailer above are a little borked in the current iteration of the game, although there does seem to be a generous slab of content outside of that battle. We’ll hopefully be able to get a better idea of just how far AirMech Wastelands goes once the dust has settled, and the game gets locked down into beta.

As Wastelands is a commercial title, the role of the Diamonds premium currency has moved to focus almost exclusively on cosmetic unlocks. Alternate AirMech skins, variant models and additional particle effects for the most part, although there are a few borderline cheat’y Ultimate units and upgrades circulating the player trading hub. The standard currency, Kudos, is earned through normal play and is used to buy upgrades for your fleet as you explore the overworld map and find new NPC stores.

AirMech Wastelands is out now on Steam for £15/$20, minus a 10% launch discount. For those who previously bought the AirMech Prime bundle, you can get the game for free by logging into the F2P AirMech Strike and clicking on the ‘Wastelands’ prompt in the bottom-right of the screen.

13 Comments

  1. Sakkura says:

    They released Airmech Command just last year… it didn’t even hit Steam until March this year.

    link to store.steampowered.com

  2. TechnicalBen says:

    Airmech always reminded me of FutureCop LAPD. :D

    PS, and yes RPS, I am “A bad person”. Perhaps I may just stop reading/visiting? Let me know if this is what you wish… thanks.

  3. c-Row says:

    Only interested if this has new music by Frontline Assembly. Their soundtrack for the first AirMech was a killer album.

    • coldvvvave says:

      Ha ha you wrote Front Line Assembly wrong!

      Anyway I pretty much came here to write the same thing. I’m not a fan of their newish stuff but still its the most important band for me, every time they were in Moscow I gladly went to see them and last time they even did one track from AirMech album. Good times.

      • c-Row says:

        Guess I should just have written FLA to be one the safe side. :D

        I really like the recent output – the older stuff, not so much. I do enjoy their various side/solo projects including the obvious Delerium and Conjure One, even though (or maybe because) it’s so different from the others.

        • zabieru says:

          Allow me to suggest Will, another Fulber project, then. Horribly buried by an ungoogleable name, but Deja Vu collects everything from the prior two releases (the less-generically-titled ‘Pearl of Great Price’ and ‘Word Flesh Stone.’)

      • Kolbex says:

        Being unnecessarily pedantic is still a dick move even when you cloak it in faux-jokey frivolity.

  4. KDR_11k says:

    Last time I checked the regular AirMech also ran on a “kudos buy all units and mechs, diamonds are for cosmetics and cheats” model.

    IIRC I bought the “pay 40 bucks and get all gameplay content in perpetuity” package.

    If it wasn’t for this article I wouldn’t have figured out how to unlock Wastelands tho, the last thing I read was that it required having VIP status. Didn’t even remember that it had a perpetual VIP status, not just a pay-for-time one.

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