Forget your Gundams or your Battletechs - I like my mechs rusted, broken and held together by bolts and prayer. Fantastic news, then, that we're about to get our hands on Iron Harvest's dieselpunk war machines. The alt-history RTS enters open beta next week, giving us free rein of its turn-of-the-century mechs ahead of its launch proper on September 1st.
It's been a minute since we looked at Iron Harvest, hasn't it? The alt-history mech 'em up entered a pre-order multiplayer alpha almost two years ago. With its proper release only two months away, we're getting a fresh look at the stompy RTS prior to next week's beta.
Set in the same "1920+" setting as board game Scythe, Iron Harvest is an RTS in the style of Company Of Heroes - build an army, scout out the map, capture resource points, and so on. The difference here is that, rather than playing as real-world Allied and Axis armies, you're building up alt-history European factions with their own warehouses of clunky, steam-powered Bettlemechs. Starting next week, you'll be able to hop in and have a go yourself on a selection of campaign levels and challenge maps, alongside a healthy bundle of multiplayer maps to bash your friends or AI opponents at.
Nate named Iron Harvest as one of his standout picks from last month's Steam Festival demos, and I knew I was on board the moment he namedrops the original Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War as a touchstone. More than that, though, the hulking clunking design leads to units that can stand up to a kicking, leading to an RTS that feels a bit more forgiving than your squishy Starcraft affairs.
"It’s challenging, but not hectic," Nate reckons. "Even basic infantry units can take a while to wipe each other out, and your building-sized industrial colossi can take a hell of a pounding before getting knocked down, in epic, minutes-long exchanges of artillery fire."
The open beta kicks off on Thursday 30th. Once all the technical flaws are hammered out, Iron Harvest will launch on Steam on September 1st for £47/€50/$50.