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We are in a modern age of gaming where anyone can create anything. Games are no longer just created based on the whims of publishers and instead are based on the dreams of independent developers worldwide. With platforms like Kickstarter, these projects can come to life with the power of community support. So when Project Nimbus, a high speed mech game made by a small developer in Thailand needed funding for completion, they got it. If there’s one thing that all gamers can agree on, it’s that giant robots are pretty awesome.
In this closed Alpha version available to backers and press, there is seven missions available of varying lengths and difficulties. Whilst one mission might put you up against waves of standard mobile suits, later on you may face a powerful high speed mech piloted by a key character within the narrative. It’s this variety that keeps the game fresh. When you start to get bored of mowing down countless enemies with your large arsenal of weaponry, a challenge approaches that you need to adapt to. With the high speed of Project Nimbus, at first these battles can be quite intimidating but through practice it is easy to develop the skills to take on these sort of situations.
The narrative is something intriguing here and the way it’s been presented is impressive. Through the switching of perspectives and factions and the 3D animated introductions to each mission, it gives the player a greater overview of the war at hand and discards terms such as “good” and “bad”. However, with the important characters in this narrative being locked in metal shells, we struggle to relate to them without being shown their face. Mecha anime solves this issue by showing characters inside the cockpits as they converse, often using the corners of the screen to represent some kind of intercom. Should something along these lines be implemented into Project Nimbus, I can see players getting far more interested in the characters involved and attached to the pilots they play as.
But it’s the controls here and the freedom of movement that offers the most appeal. It’s one thing being a giant robot with a massive amount of weapons, it’s another to fly around cities and space stations at high speeds, avoiding enemy gunfire as you go. With simple keyboard and mouse controls, your mech is easy to navigate through open areas. However, the same can’t be said for some of the interior missions with close range fighting. The controls are designed for blasting around large areas, not any sort of compact corridor battles. They’ve tried to account for this with a sword attack, but it just doesn’t work in these situations and needs a completely new control scheme if indoor combat is going to be a feature here.
Whilst playing through the story missions, it can be hard to drag yourself away from your mechanised mass murder and get along with the objective. This is where the Survival Mode comes in, courtesy of the backers who hit the stretch goal for it earlier this year. In this mode, you fight against waves of enemy mechs as you get new weapons to take care of each situation more effectively. It’s something that works as a great time sink and more importantly, is great for practicing with new mech units. It’s nothing overly complex, but adds to the title in terms in terms of additional content and replayability.
The game is definitely progressing in the right direction. With the speed and intuitive controls, it’s setting itself up to fulfill its promise of being a “high speed flying robot action game”. It just needs that overall graphical boost, more settings, a way for players to get attached to the narrative and more story missions like the sample we’ve been given. According to Steam, Project Nimbus is aiming for a Late 2014 release. Until then, I would recommend following the progress of the title on their website or Facebook page, as a game like this is definitely an exciting idea.
This preview is based on a PC digital copy of the Project Nimbus Akatsuki Alpha provided by GameCrafter Team.