AirMech: Command - PC / VR Review

AirMech: Command is one of those titles that simply uses the Oculus Rift very well to add some immersion to what is a really solid game in and of itself. Instead of the often gimmicky focus on first-person scares or novelty controls, AirMech: Command is a solid game on its own merits.

Fans of MOBA or RTS titles should feel right at home here with AirMech: Command. With over a dozen maps, dozens of units and skins and the ability to unlock additional content through gameplay, there is a lot to like about the core package that the game offers. At its core, you have a mix of action elements from controlling a devastatingly powerful mech on a battlefield that concerns itself with lanes and strategy.

The action takes place from an overhead perspective, but I have to say that the virtual reality visuals make the action a lot more engaging and personal. I have played a few other strategy and tower defense titles, and I love the way VR turns these 'flat' games into something a bit more tangible. The effect almost makes the experience more like a board game, which I think is a huge win. Of course, if this was just about the visuals, the VR aspect would be pleasant but not necessary. While the game is still played with a controller, I like the way the head tracking is used to manage menus and building out units. It allows for an additional level of multitasking while keeping the UI clean.

However, it is worth noting that while AirMech: Command does a great job prioritizing smooth visuals over detailed ones, the game is not one that pushes my graphics card in any meaningful way. Muddy textures keep units and terrain from being as crisp as they could be. That being said, there are a ton of units on the screen and I can appreciate that they do not slow down the game any, as that can be an incredibly nauseating experience in VR. To that end, AirMech: Command remains very comfortable despite all of the activity taking place on the screen.

As for the gameplay itself, it is assisted by tight controls and a focus on the actual combat. I am not a big fan of balance resource gathering with unit control. I enjoy Starcraft and similar titles, but I think I enjoyed the action-heavy approach of AirMech: Command. You can choose to focus on the building and micro aspects of the game, or you can focus on the dual-stick like shooter component. I found myself bouncing back and forth between the two, but spending more of the time controlling my mech than not.

There are some cool online components here too, with multiplayer options and a nice spectating mode. While playing the came, it can be hard to really appreciate just how much is happening on the map at once, because you are constantly plugging the holes in the dam trying to do fifty things at once. In most games I do not care for spectating, but the board game-like VR approach actually made for some enjoyable viewing at times. It is not where I will spend the majority of my time when playing the game, but the option is solid.

One last small drawback are the tutorials. I have no problem being thrust into a tutorial right out of the gates, but the actual content and quality of the tutorials is suspect. There are a lot of them, they are lengthy, but somehow they still fail to properly teach you everything you need to know. The basics are covered, but I honestly learned more through hands-on trial and error.

AirMech: Command works because the core game is so solid. The addition of virtual reality makes this port of an older free-to-play game one that I enjoyed however, because the visuals are improved upon and the menus are quicker and cleaner to navigate. There is a mashup of MOBA and RTS here in AirMech: Command that I found to be quite enjoyable despite a few minor flaws here and there.

Game Information

PC - Oculus Rift
Carbon Games
Carbon Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick

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