Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, Bulwark Studios’s tactical dungeon crawler based on the Games Workshop mega-universe is out now. It pits the Adeptus Mechanicus (an especially barmy bunch of cyborg engineer-cultists) up against the Necron; what you’d get if you put Warhammer Fantasy’s Egyptian undead and The Terminator in a blender. Systems-wise, it’s a blend of FTL’s choice-filled exploration and XCOM-like tactical combat, with your squad of mad monks facing down waves of robot mummies. Below, a launch trailer and a longer peek at its systems.
It could easily be argued that everyone in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is mad, but it’s a lot easier to make that argument of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They despise flesh, worship code and revel in the strength of steel as they cut themselves to pieces and bolt on new cyborg bits. In any other game they’d be the villains, but you’re up against undead robots that want to end all life, who seem like a more pressing threat. Slightly. Admittedly you’re the ones poking around in their cyber-tombs, looting their techno-relics and collecting their robo-bones, but still, probably their fault.
As big as Mechanicus’s maps look, they’re not procedurally generated. The game contains a total of 50 missions, though it seems not all can be tackled in a single playthrough, and there are multiple possible endings. An interesting way to do things. Once you’ve picked your mission and equipped your squad, the game is broken into two halves. Exploration has you working your way half-blind through Necron mazes, making decisions and occasionally rolling the dice against your squad’s stats. Some devices have Necron symbols that you have to manually decipher, too.
Bump into baddies and it all goes a little bit XCOM, and zooms into a close tactical turn-based combat mode, although with seemingly far less focus on cover. Warhammer 40k is all about standing proud in the middle of the battlefield anyway, so it makes sense. The Necron being the self-resurrecting swarm that they are, it looks like you’ll be greatly outnumbered in most cases. I’m curious just how much of a battle of attrition this will lead to, although from the little I’ve seen of its combat so far, there are some satisfyingly room-clearing area of effect attacks.