[While the new Indie Royale game bundle that we co-created with Desura is running, we'll be profiling each of the four games featured in it, giving our honest opinion on the pluses and minuses of each title. And finally, we have the gorgeous Nuclear Dawn, an RTS/FPS of epic proportions. ]

The phrase 'your personal mileage may vary' is probably the best description of Nuclear Dawn, a rather polished-looking multiplayer RTS/FPS from InterWave Studios. Your enjoyment of this mod-turned-actual-game will be largely dependent on two things. The first? Your fondness for shooting games, of course.

If you relish the idea of making things go boom or of plunging an arm knife deep into someone's vertebrate, you're in luck. Nuclear Dawn definitely delivers here. Though the developers have chosen to stick with the familiar, this doesn't make Nuclear Dawn a bad thing. There are four classes to choose from: Assault, Exo, Stealth and Support. For the most part, the names are pretty much self-explanatory.

Assault characters are the most versatile of the four. They're also the only ones capable of detecting stealth players. Exos are the heavy artillery. Stealth characters? Think gun-toting cousins to the rogues from World of Warcraft and you'll have painted yourself the perfect picture. And last but not least, the Support class offers healing, the ability to repair infrastructure and also to utilize everything from Flamethrowers to EMP grenades. If that wasn't enough for you, there are even ranks to earn and unlockables for your various weapons, gadgets and gizmos.

The action, when you find a well-populated server, is always fast and frantic, something that can be attributed to the sheer volume of stealth characters in every other match. It's not exactly a bad thing. Those who enjoy this playing style will like it but it might get on the nerves of those who prefer a more strategic approach.

The other factor that will determine your enjoyment of this title is your luck. Games can go either way. This is already the trend for most FPS titles but it feels even more so with Nuclear Dawn. In case you missed the memo, there's an RTS element to the game. Much like how things are in a real war, there are grunts and there are commanders. To be precise, there's one commander on each side and it's this dude or dudette's job to ensure that buildings and turrets are built correctly so as to be able to provide maximum fortification for your side. Given that they have a bird's eye view of things, it's also their responsibility to communicate the situation to their underlings.

In an ideal world, Nuclear Dawn would have made Team Fortress weep in shame. It could have been team-based combat at its best. In reality, it's usually pure chaos and a mess of people shooting at one another. You can imagine what it's like being the commander - herding cats would be easier. Nonetheless, when it does work, it really works. Nothing quite beats working as a team with absolute strangers and watching as your side grows tangibly stronger. New weapons, new infrastructure - it's no longer just about you and your kill-death ratio, it's about everyone else too.

So here's the important question: are you willing to give this a chance?

Nuclear Dawn doesn't have a single-player campaign for you to power through. You will be playing with other people, people who are likely as confused as you. If you think the bad matches are worth the good ones, you may have found Team Fortress's successor. If not, well, try it anyway. InterWave Studios has done a superb job of turning this mod into a full-fledged game and it deserves at least one passing encounter. Official website here, and you can buy it as part of Indie Royale's 'New Year Bundle' for the next few days.