Shovel the coals, light the fires, and let's get this walking affront to nature moving, lads. Dieselpunk army-smasher Iron Harvest is out today - a whimsical alt-history RTS romp that revisits the various imperial death throes of pre-World War 1 Europe and imagines how they'd play out with a few dozen giant robots. The cockpit isn't ours, but today's launch means we can finally take command of developer King Art's hulking iron mechs.
Set in artist Jakub Rozalski's 1920+ universe (a well also drawn upon by the fantastic board game Scythe), Iron Harvest has a pretty strong foundation to build on. But then, what world wouldn't be improved with a few hundred mechs?
Iron Harvest paints an alternate turn-of-the-century Europe - pastoral, imperial, and flooded with stonking great killer robots. Each side - the Republic, Tsardom and Empire respectively - has their own outfit of massive metal men to unleash, alongside crowds of squishier foot-soldiers with more conventional tools.
With the mood set by a cinematic at the start of the game's beta, Iron Harvest's campaign takes the spotlight in today's launch trailer. Yes, there's still plenty of mud n' banners warfare with steam-powered Gundams, but we also see a few shots of flamboyantly-dressed generals riding horseback into battle and engaging in old-fashioned fisticuffs. Top stuff.
But more than just an aesthetic, Iron Harvest looks to be a proper solid strategy game - one that harkens back to brilliant Relic ctrl-a 'em ups like Company Of Heroes and Dawn Of War. Army sizes are small but not tiny, duking it out over control points on tightly-paced maps while building up smoggy bases in the corners. Our Nate had a bash back in the Steam Summer Festival, calling it an "absolute belter of an RTS".
"It’s challenging, but not hectic: 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," Nate reckoned. "Honestly, play this, if you’ve got any love for the genre or the art style. September can’t come soon enough."
Correction: The game has not yet hit the Epic Games Store. The publishers explain that "The year 2020 has been a challenge for all teams" working on the game, and "due to the unique situation the game is not yet ready to launch" there. So they're offering full refunds on pre-orders.