Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus review - "Praise be to technology"

Warhammer 40K puts you in control of the faction The Mechanicum in this turn-based combat title and has you guiding your tech-priests and soldiers to victory, one move at a time. While the Imperium’s tech-obsessed faction has a bunch of knowledge of machinery and cybernetics, they must use their weaponry and brute force if they ever have a hope in purging the Necron force from planet Silva Tenebris before it’s too late. Plenty of lore, dialogue, and action await you within the confines of this smart and sophisticated tactical combat game.

Fans of Warhammer, be it from the tabletop games, video games, or otherwise, will find lots of Warhammer-related dialogue to enjoy as they go through missions. Each character has a personality that showcases their role in the story and their digitised voices are a cool, vocoded representation of each one’s voice, which adds a lot to the immersion.

No strength in flesh, only weakness

Seeing as the Necron forces you are fighting against are also robotic warriors, there’s a lot to dig into if you’re a fan of science fiction and obviously, the Warhammer canon. The Necrons are awakened by some other group from your faction, and you are sent to eradicate them quickly before their threat is too numerous to handle. Your Tech-priests and Skitarii soldiers will be led deep into the core of the threat, and have to manage accordingly when the tombs come to life. If you leave these forces to fester and accumulate, they will spring back to life to assail you again.

Mechanicus released

The dialogue and worldbuilding of this expedition is a tremendous amount of jargon and references, which is great for fans, but could be a distraction or skippable feature for those that aren’t interested in hearing the bickering and discussion of logical fallacies and politics. It certainly provides some interesting context to the ‘why’ of what you’re doing, and if you dig overly complex descriptions with name-drops and affirmations thrown in for good measure, this is absolutely going to make your day. It’s a great use of the IP and for fan service, you can’t get much better than this if you’re looking into hearing and reading what these characters sound like when chatting back and forth.

Combat Calculations

Combat within Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus is a quicker strategy formula than you may be used to. There’s no cover system and the size of your arena is considerably smaller, which offers bite-sized battles on the go. Unfortunately, the Necrons use mostly long-range weapons, so you have to often take some hits to get some damage in. Your Tech-priests are the main forces that will guarantee your success in battle, but your soldiers can be used as pawns to help whittle down enemies and keep the heat off your priests. One of the biggest mechanics is the use of cognition points and how they affect your troops.

Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus review

You earn cognition points by defeating enemies and your Tech-priests can withdraw some from different points on the map, which you can then use to engage stronger weapon attacks, provide longer reach for your movement phase, and activate abilities. While the lack of cover makes for a harder battle, using the Skitarii to distract and otherwise rush at the Necron forces becomes a tactical strategy that you have to employ often. One great feature that helps out a lot is the use of opportunity attacks that offer you an extra attack if the enemy tries to move away from you to avoid melee attacks.

You can upgrade your equipment, whether it's armour or weapons and such, by unlocking them as you complete missions. Equipping these are as easy as slotting them into one of the ten gear slots, and you can unlock other abilities and upgrades to your squad through the in-game currency known as Blackstone.

Whether it be extra mobility, healing powers, or some bombastic firepower, it’s certainly worth investing some time and resources into. You can then take these load-outs and apply them to nearly every unit, allowing you to change up your play to suit your playstyle. It’s great to see this customisation, as it brings to mind the tabletop game in regards to extending functionality throughout your ranks.

Map Mayhem

There are plenty of options for you within the catacombs of Silva Tenebris as you lead your troops to wage war against the Necron forces, and a lot of these are found on the map system. After you’re past the tutorials, you are given access to a somewhat isometric view of the catacombs, and you can choose how you want to proceed.

Some situations call for multiple-choice actions, which can affect the outcome of your expedition depending on what you choose. Additionally, losing battles can cause a gauge found in the lower-left corner to swing towards the Necrons side, awakening more of them and determining how the endgame plays out.

This is also a fine example of how the game lets you play the way that you want to, and offers you opportunities to define your story of how the whole game moves forward. Each new mission allows you to try out new things and tackle scenarios in your own way, which is a great relief as to how much freedom you’re offered.

With missions abundant and enemies plentiful, there’s plenty to love here, and if you ever wanted to play a ‘run and gun’ turn-based strategy game, this might be the closest you get.

Final Thoughts

Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus takes all the great parts of its story, characters, and canon, and wraps it up into a clever strategy game that gives you tons of customisation and control. Having difficulty settings in this mobile port also increases the ease of access to any level of strategy fan.

The graphics are decent for mobile, while not particularly stunning, and the maps are detailed enough to understand the structure of the arenas you are fighting in. The touch controls work well as the troops and selecting movements are better this way than using buttons. The only exception is a limited camera that locks into 45 degree turns instead of allowing free rotation. All in all, it’s a great strategy game wrapped around an interesting sci-fi universe that succeeds in the grim, dark future that only Warhammer seems to be able to deliver.

Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus review - "Praise be to technology"

Mechanicus is a great tactical turn-based game that offers some of the best uses of the characters and settings from the Warhammer universe to provide a deep and rewarding strategy loop that respects players' time and lets you play how you want. If you’re a fan of the Warhammer series or someone interested in getting into it without requiring too much effort, you could do a lot worse than Mechanicus, as it’s a strong turn-based tactic game that gives you a lot of control, a lot of content, and a lot of fun to be had as you enjoy the story and complex missions available here. If you’re not a strategy fan, this game’s quick mechanics and lack of cover system might make for the perfect opportunity to give the genre a shot.
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