Lethal, steam-powered, bipedal, metal monstrosities of the 19th century are the sort of mech I always had a soft spot for. Apparently, they are also a pretty brilliant excuse to turn the tired match-three mechanic into an innovative and exciting turn based strategy tool; also a game that will only reach its full potential if people of steampunk tastes and a murderous nature help the brilliant looking Ironcast reach its funding goal.

The game will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux and a copy of the thing can be secured for less than $10. Also, here's a short interview with the people responsible for Ironcast's 7 metre high walking machines:

ironcast.pngHow would you describe Ironcast?

It's official description is a turn-based steampunk mech combat game. You could describe it as Puzzle Quest meets FTL in a steampunk setting.

Why did you decide to go with a match 3 mechanic at the core of the game? And how on earth did you come up with the turn-based match-three gameplay?

To me there's a real excitement in out-thinking and outplaying your opponent in turn based strategy games. Just like games such as XCOM, Hearthstone and Warhammer 40,000, Ironcast allows you to execute a plan in order to improve your chances of victory.

However, we also knew we wanted a way to generate "energy" with which to power our mechs, but in a way that wouldn't disturb the player's focus on their strategy. Instead, we opted for a match 3 (or link 3, to be more precise!) mechanic which is both easy to understand and really satisfying to play. What's more is that it brings an element of skill to the game, with longer matches meaning more resources and more precious experience points. Players can get better at seeing potential long match chains and building them over a turn or 2. They can really change the balance of a battle!

How much of a strategy game is Ironcast?

I'd liken it to a game of Hearthstone (as I was so completely addicted to the beta whilst working on the design for Ironcast) where you must pay careful attention to what your opponent is doing or planning at every turn to react accordingly. The main chunk of strategy occurs before battles begin in the Hangar Bay. There, you can alter your "build" of Ironcast mech from a wide selection of weapons, shields and passive buffs, much in the same way you build a deck to deal with all eventualities. I just know there's going to be loads of creative players that come up with ultra effective combinations that we just didn't see coming.

Players also choose the mission they wish to undertake based on the rewards they'll potentially retrieve, but of course the higher the reward, the riskier the mission!

Finally, each battle is probably more of a tactical affair than a strategy, with each Ironcast spending just enough energy on their defences to survive, without doing so much that their mech overheats. It's a great balance and one that seems to be very popular with those who've tested it for us.

How's Kickstarter treating you so far?

Wonderfully! We've already managed to raise 51% of our funding practically all through word of mouth alone, which feels amazing. What's nice is that the feedback from our backers and potential backers has all been really positive. I get the feeling that there's a really strong community at Kickstarter, more about support and nurturing cool stuff than about shouting and flaming.