Ironcast

Game review by
Sarah Van Boerum, Common Sense Media
Ironcast Game Poster Image
Steampunk strategy is challenging fun from start to end.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Messages of strength, courage, teamwork are continual themes. Although subject is war, goal is to protect British mainland as you try to defeat enemy from inside your mech, Ironcast.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mechs are controlled by strong male, female characters whose backstories are learned during missions. Their goal is to stay alive, win war at hand, keep their homeland free.

Ease of Play

Simple to learn; hard-to-master gameplay.

Violence

Violence takes place between mechs with artillery fire, explosions. No blood, gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ironcast is a downloadable turn-based strategy game where the main goal is to keep your mech battle-ready by matching resource nodes. Although the game comes across as an easy puzzler, your mech's resources are constantly being challenged, so determining which ones to replenish and how to build your mech takes thought. Violence is minimal, with gunfire and explosions between mechs, without blood or gore shown. With over 70 battle scenarios and the ability to customize your Ironcast, gameplay is always different. While the game autosaves your spot after each battle, once you die you have to start all over again, making it a challenge to play from start to finish.

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What's it about?

IRONCAST is a steampunk-style game set in an 1880s England where France is trying to invade the mainland. Your goal is to defeat enemy mechs using your own customized 20-foot Ironcast before they reach the capitol. Missions are random and spread out over nine days, helping to prepare you as you gain experience points and scraps to give your mech additional strength or the final encounter with the boss on the last day. Missions take place in puzzle mode while you try to connect nodes of the same color to power your mech. Matches can be made diagonally, horizontally, and vertically to gain different resources for your mech including ammo, energy, coolant, and repairs. Chain and overdrive nodes can be unlocked during gameplay and allow you to connect nodes of different colors and get additional power boosts for your mech in less time. Each turn gives you three chances to maximize power and rebuild your mech, while allowing you to collect new scrap and buy new components for even more power. Each turn that the enemy has gives it a chance to deplete your resources and destroy your mech, so you must pay attention to your stats at all times while you try to return fire to target the enemy's weak points. 

Is it any good?

While this strategy game looks pretty straightforward, you quickly come to realize how hard it is to come up with the correct combination of resources to power your mech while it's being hammered by incoming enemy fire. There are lots of details that you must pay attention to at the same time: the enemy's weak points, their stats, your own resource levels, and which combos will bring the enemy to its knees. Gameplay takes time to master, and the length of a level is determined by your combination choices and the strength of the enemy you're fighting. It's important to note that although you may fire at the enemy, you can and will miss. Plus, some ammunition is better than others when you're taking aim, so you have to know which weapons are the best for which situations. After you beat the enemy, a mission summary shows the total amount of rewards and achievements you've unlocked and can use toward the next round.

But once you die, the game starts all over again, which will be frustrating for most players. Upon defeat, you gain additional points that are added to your global score, unlocking new mechs and commanders and keeping gameplay from getting too stagnant. Fortunately, once you start to understand how to play, the challenge to keep your mech up and running is entertaining and takes thought, making the variety of resources and combinations for success endless. As a result, it's easy to get sucked into the world of Ironcast, as you eagerly look for just one more round of resource matching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Should you be concerned about the violence in this game even though it's wildly unrealistic?

  • How is the fictional back story of the game similar to real wars in history? How have fighting tactics evolved over the years?  

  • What would war would be like if there were actual Ironcasts available? How would you build a victorious Ironcast? 

Game details

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