HIGH The finishing moves.
WTF War Tech Fighters is a pun that was meant for this line.
Sometimes I just want to be a giant robot that uppercuts spacecraft into smithereens, and I’m thankful that War Tech Fighters not only lets me do this, but I can do it hundreds of times.
I’m pretty sure that in between all the uppercuts, there’s a plot — something about an evil empire destroying two space colonies, and the player is Nathan Romanis, a crack interstellar mech pilot who must protect these colonies. I learned this from the War Tech Fighters steam page because I spent most of my time doing flying kicks into enemies and skipping the dialogue. It’s competently written, but I wasn’t going to let it distract me from using my vicious robot fists.
War Tech Fighters is played over dozens of missions and viewed from a third-person perspective with the mech having free-flight movement in open space environments. There are light guns that are easy to lock on with but low in damage, a more powerful cannon that requires better aim, and guided missiles that must lock on first. Defensively, there’s a giant metal shield that blocks a portion of incoming damage and a boost that drains energy but allows for dodging.
The missions are a mixture of exploration and combat — sometimes there are specific things to interact with or a ship to escort, but mainly it comes down to shooting ships and other War Tech until their health is sufficiently depleted before initiating a killing blow. These come in the guise of the aforementioned uppercuts and flying kicks that look as ludicrous as they sound, but also allow the player to regain a portion of health.
At the end of every mission, money and XP is rewarded based on performance — how many enemies shot down, how effectively the shield was used, accuracy and, of course, how many spaceships were punched. This is filtered into upgrading mech parts for better damage, protection and new variants on weapons like a faster-shooting but less-damaging cannon, or a guided missile that locks on to more enemies.
War Tech Fighters is a pretty barebones offering, but the moment-to-moment action wiping out enemies was brainlessly enjoyable enough to keep me going through a lot of missions, destroying giant cruiser ships and going mano-a-mano with sword-wielding robots before slicing them in half.
Unfortunately, about halfway through the campaign’s difficulty spiked. Previously-wimpy spacecraft got damage boosts, and bigger enemies were capable of halving my mech’s health in seconds. The solution War Tech Fighters proposes is to grind through previous missions or taking on special challenges like boosting quickly or hitting a number of targets within an allotted time.
The grind for resources drags the campaign’s pace to a halt and the amount of replaying required to get the mech properly equipped was simply too much. When War Tech Fighters wasn’t challenging, it felt light and silly. As soon as I was forced to grind just to see some numbers go up, the combat couldn’t sustain the padding.
At this point, instead of being happy to engage in space battles like a third-person shooter version of Dynasty Warriors, I found myself looking at the clock as I replayed earlier missions and skipped through countless bits of dialogue. It’s a shame to say that something as exciting as boosting my way through the middle of a battle cruiser and making it explode gets old after doing it for the fourth time, but it does.
The first half of War Tech Fighters is a light, silly ‘blow everything up and look cool’ sort of thing, but the second half is weighed down by developers who apparently felt the need to offer a ‘real challenge’ that wasn’t necessary or welcome.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Drakkar Dev and published by Blowfish Studios. It is currently available on PC, Switch, PS4, and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher code and reviewed on the XBO-X. Approximately 15 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Violence. The game is consistently violent in a robot-on-ship/robot sense, but the targets are not shown in a graphic manner. This does not seem like a particularly troubling title for teens and pre-teens.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game is playable without sound. Dialogue is subtitled. The text cannot be adjusted. I’d say this is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Certain functions are remappable. All of the flight mechanics can be mapped to any button, but the close-quarters combat cannot be adjusted.
He can be found on twitter, where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.