Project Nimbus Preview

For a time in the late nineties, you couldn’t swing a baseball bat in an EB Games without hitting a mech game; believe me, I tried.  Steel Battalion, Mech Warriors, Zone of the Enders- that was clearly the golden age for Mecha games.  There’s nothing as empowering as stomping around and causing massive damage to everything around you, but now your probably an adult, and don’t have a bad tee-ball game to blame- so it’s off to the digital world for you!  With the recent success of Titanfall, we may be looking at a much-needed resurgence in this destructive genre.

Enter Project Nimbus, a game that promises flying human-controlled robots battling it out over floating cities and blue skies.  Developed by GameCrafterTeam and published by Kiss ltd., the game was released on Steam’s Early Access late last year.  The game was also successfully kickstarted in January with a final budget of £17,689.

Currently, the game offers two of its four-act campaign and a survival mode.  The highest GPU setting ‘Graphic Card Melt’ will push your setup to its limits in order to provide flashy visuals and fast-paced combat, there is a low visual setting as well if you have an older rig.  The developer has promised complete machinima cutscenes, sandbox mode, and Oculus Rift support with the final release.  
The game is set on Earth in the late 21st century, where war has ravaged our land and forced the people to take to the skies.  Three factions of competing arms industries build their floating cities, hoping to eliminate the other.  As the machine rages on, the soldiers continue their battle over the wreckage of what used to be.  War…  War never changes.
There’s a large assortment of ‘BattleFrames’ to pilot in this game, many clearly taking inspiration from Gundam.  They have a large assortment of weaponry to utilize including machine guns, missiles, a rail gun, drones and rocket boosters.  Soaring around buildings and blasting your enemy from the sky with WMDs promises to fulfill Mech fans looking for intense action.  You control your mech through a standard WASD set-up while aiming your reticle and firing with the mouse.  There’s also future plans for controller integration.
The game is primarily played over the shoulder of your mech, as you soar around launching your payload at anything you can lock onto.  You’ll take down drones, battle tanks, and other ‘BattleFrames’ piloted by enemy ace pilots.  It’s moments like these where wise pilots will have to carefully use flares, bullet time and evasive maneuvers to survive the onslaught of bullets and heat-seekers.  The controls will take some time to get used to, but veteran PC gamers shouldn’t have a problem.
Missions range from protecting cities, to escort missions and dogfights.  The story changes sides through the acts, allowing you to see the battle from multiple angles, and to try your hand at different in-game tech.  This also changes your environments, all of which has random climate conditions.  The developer says animated cutscenes are on the way, but they’ve added voice narration with a ‘Call of Duty’-Esque briefing screen before every mission to explain the story just enough to keep you pushing forward.
The developer has also promised an ‘alien survival’ mode, which definitely has our interest peaked.  The idea of mechs slicing through an extraterrestrial invasion sounds like one of the greatest additions ever for a game.  
It has a nice blend of Ace Combat and Zone of the Enders, and the adrenaline fueled firefights should leave any gamer anxious for the final product.  The gameplay provides a faster pace than most games in the same genre, and it’s exhilarating to  jump between targets as you shoot and slice your way to the objective.  There’re some genuine moments of awe as you chase a target in between buildings, breaking out under the floating city while dodging thruster fire.
The game’s graphics, even in its early stage, are impressive and compliment all the thought that has been put into the environment and battle frames designs.  Its style reminds me of a brighter Neo-Tokyo as if the world of Akira was lifted above the clouds. There’re moments where flying over the cloud cover, you feel like you’re soaring through a Bob Ross painting with a ‘happy little mech’.
After a few hours of playing, I simply can’t wait for the final version to come out.  There’s so much promise in this game’s premise, and the additional content that’s coming makes me excited for what the future holds for this series.  If you’re a fan of this kind of game, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
The game is currently in Early Access on Steam, and retails at $14.99, but this price may go up with its official release.  When the game does launch its full version, Mouse N’ Joypad will provide a complete review.

(Original images lost)

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