Game Reviews

iMech

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iMech
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Like a towering mech rushed out of the factory, this online-only action game exhibits the frame of something much greater. Unfortunately, a lot more than grease is needed to fix network troubles and a severe lack of content.

Piloting the squat mechanical brawlers is a matter of sliding a thumb over a virtual analogue stick in the lower-left corner. While you're not given full control over the camera, a second analogue stick in the lower-right lets you turn the top half of the mech. Not being able to look up and down is awkward, though it's a handicap shared by your opponents so it evens out.

Weapons, which are fired whenever you move the right analogue stick, come in several flavours: a standby machine gun, red-hot flamethrower, and laser that can be charged up. Rarer pickups include a one-off rocket launcher capable of obliterating a competitor's shielding and purple mines. It's a surprisingly robust arsenal, but much of the excitement ends here.

By passing up a single player campaign and focusing purely on multiplayer, iMech needs to deliver dynamic, varied online action. Instead, it dishes out only moderately entertaining battles. The idea is to steal away a minute here, a moment there in short free-for-all battles.

Unfortunately, iMech is so thin on content and options that incentives to come back to the action are few. Multiplayer loses its lustre when you're competing in the same level, same mode over and over again. 8-player battles over the network or wi-fi are cool in concept, but without supporting content there's little appeal.

More maps and a robust ranking system with rewards are desperately needed to motivate replay. Registering a profile with the game allows you to track your win-loss record (among other statistics), but it's not exactly the most compelling reason to come back an play - particularly when those statistics aren't viewed from within the game, but through a web browser.

iMech claims to support 3G network play, but in practice it's only functional on a consistent basis when linking to the servers via wi-fi. This kills the notion of jumping online for a quick round whenever you have a spare minute, because overwhelmingly often the game fails to connect over 3G.

Without stable 3G play, iMech doesn't support the quick-hitting multiplayer at which it aims. Without a full slate of maps and modes, it also fails to be compelling enough an online experience to justify sitting down at length over a wi-fi connection.

iMech clearly needs to grease squeaky joints to get 3G network play solid. More importantly, though, the lack of content must be addressed if this game is to appear anything other than unfinished.

iMech

Troubles with play over 3G and a surprising lack of maps, modes, and rewards all point to iMech having been rushed out of the factory unfinished
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