Developer: Mobula
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.98
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

imech05Being one of those gamers with a “thing” for bipedal tanks (a.k.a. mechs), I was naturally curious about iMech Online. I mean it’s colorful, seems to have a good selection of robots to pilot, and is bound to gather a decent amount of online players. All of which are true, but a few key fundamentals weren’t treated quite so well.

Jump in a giant robot, march around an arena, and blast other people who have themselves jumped into a giant robot. iMech doesn’t bother trying to dress up the proceedings with much context and instead focuses on a drop-in, drop-out style arcade experience. A number of different mechs and armaments can be purchased in the shop using cash earned through combat, and as players gain experience they can earn skill points to custom-tailor their pilot with abilities to suit their preferred playstyle.

What really impressed me about iMech’s roster of walking battle tanks is the way players aren’t punished for being new. Sure they still have to earn their way up the ranks and save up for better mechs but they can also test pilot a few for free. The “loaners” can’t have their loadouts or paintjobs tweaked at all, but they’re a great way for newbies to get used to the controls and hectic pace of the combat. I also thought the visuals turned out quite nice with some impressive effects (i.e. the flamethrower), diverse mech designs, and fairly detailed environments.

imech07Yet for all iMech has going for it, it still comes up short. Spawn-killing (getting bumped off as soon as the mech appears on the map), whether due to the chaotic gameplay or just bad planning, is a common occurrence. The gameplay itself is also fairly uninteresting since there’s little strategy involved aside from triggering a mech’s special ability. Instead it’s usually just a matter of randomly walking around the one available arena while looking for red blips on the radar, then getting into a firefight with several other mechs all at the same time and hopefully taking one of them out before blowing up. But the cherry on top of this Sundae of Disappointment is the terribly calibrated control scheme. Movement is okay, as is weapon selection, but looking around is awful. It’s difficult to explain; it’s all essentially tied to the fire button, which means mechs are almost always shooting regardless of their need to, and it feels incredibly loose. I think another problem is that the touch zones are uneven, so it’s much easier (and likely) to turn left than it is to turn right. It feels like piloting Derek Zoolander.

There’s a competent, albeit unrefined, core to iMech Online that shows potential. However all the chaotic robo-carnage and non-exploitative freemium models in the world can’t make up for all the spawn-camping and such an uncooperative control scheme.


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