At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Matt Bailey PC/Mac Just Play Matrix Games/Vicious Byte 1-2 (Turns, LAN, Internet) Here
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
400Mhz Processor, Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP, 64MB RAM, 900MB HDD Space, DirectX 8.1 Click here to buy Titans of Steel: Warring Suns.

Titans of Steel: Warring Suns review

In recent months Just Play have been bringing out small unknown titles to the games market; quality titles which do not have impressive game engines with amazing visuals, but offer a deep and enjoyable gameplay; qualities often lost in today's graphics-touting industry. Here we have another little gem from Matrix Games - the group involved in Starships Unlimited: Divided Galaxies, this time a turn-based strategy title called Titans of Steel.

Titans of Steel isn't a simple game; it requires thought and time to get into. The UI isn't that intuitative, but once you get adjusted to it, it provides the controls to take your strategy forwards. As you might be able to tell from the screenshots, the game involves mechs - something known to players of Zone of the Enders, the Metal Gear Solid series, and of course, MechWarrior/MechAssault. However, Titans of Steel is nothing like those titles - this is a game of strategy, and the mechs are just tools to achieve your aim. The game is played out on a hex-based map of varying size, with each hexagon containing unique variables for things like terrain which affect the progress of your mechs. You could step into terrain that damages (e.g. quicksand) or accidentally come into enemy territory, or simply walk into a flat empty area. That's the nature of the game. As you'd expect from a turn-based strategy game, each action, from rotating your mech, to moving forward, to firing, involves a certain number of turns.

The sheer depth of the title is apparent in the main flow of the game; combat. In order to compete you obviously need mechs - dubbed Titans in the game (hence the title). There are 130 titans to choose from, each assigned to a range of categories. And if you aren't satisfied with the selection, you can tweak and fiddle with them yourself. In fact, you can even build one from scratch if you're feeling creative (and knowledgeable enough). The UI mentioned above controls all your titan's movements, allowing you to make all your tactical decisions through the selection of buttons. There is one catch in the gameplay is that because it can cost to withdraw titans and their pilots from the battle, trial and error can become costly business. Trying out a new setup, only to realise you're going to be slaughtered quickly will happen to you again and again until you perfect things, unless you have some luck or a lot of experience.

Graphically, as I said like many Just Play titles, Titans of Steel isn't graphically impressive. It doesn't have any FMV, 3D visuals, or a big name engine. Instead it has a flat 2D view. However, this is adequate to provide the detail to play the game and make your decisions. The game's sound effects are a fairly good quality, with the sounds of combat providing atmosphere to the title. The music is alright - not brilliant, but certainly not annoying like many game soundtracks.

Ratings

Graphics Simple 2D visuals are not impressive, but the score should be overlooked in favour of the below details. 5/10
Gameplay Contains a lot of depth. The strategy takes time to get in to, but if this is your sort of thing you are bound to love it. Action fans should look elsewhere, however. 8/10
Value At the time of writing, we did not have a value for money ranking. 0/10
Lifespan Like many strategy games, how much you get out of it depends how much you put in. There is a lot to do to keep you going for quite some time. 8/10
Audio Sound effects are pretty good, and the music is alright. 7/10
Overall Just Play provides another graphically-inferior title with superior gameplay. Matrix Games have another great title in their hands showing smaller developers don't need to spend millions to make titles worth challenging the big players. 8/10

Click here to buy Titans of Steel: Warring Suns from Amazon.co.uk.

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