AirMech Arena is a Free-to-Play real-time strategy game for Xbox Live Arcade by Carbon Games Inc “where players team up AirMechs to amass unrelenting combat forces and destroy the enemy team’s fortress.” Unlike the other free to play games you can play 1 player without Xbox Gold.
Getting into the menu you are greeted with nice graphics and some pretty decent background music. The options are quite simple with the ability to resize the screen, change the volume, turn off seeing number in-game and even the tutorial and credits. Achievements was exactly what you’d expect and Leaderboards were kinda pointless unless you want to know who plays this game way too much. I decided to play the tutorial to get a good idea of the controls, graphics, sound etc.
Graphics looked very nice again, even the character portraits and the hud icons although there was a lack of music. Movement and weapons are the same as twin stick shooters so it was very easy to control even in your jet form (yep, they’re called Airmechs because they’re pretty much transformers which is always awesome). The idea of picking up vehicles was quite cool as well although seeing little people with laser guns was amusing. You can even get a shield and sword although controlling those with twin stick controls feels a bit weird.
The main part of the game aka the strategy is the ability to build units, carry them around the battlefield and give them orders with the hopes of taking each base to increase your resources before ultimately taking down the enemy fortress. However since the enemy is also doing this each game can become very long, especially in a 3v3 skirmish although you can shorten this time time by unlocking or buying better stuff. On top of that the there’s an xp system and challenges which make long matches ok as well as the fact they’ll become much shorter once you learn a good strategy. AI don’t seem that smart with the constant changing between modes and other little things but i’m not really mad about it, they make good practice for the real opponents aka other players. I had quite alot of fun.
As for microtransactions, while some seemed to give you advantages i believe almost all of them were cosmetic and therefore could be ignored. There were things you could buy with the K coins as well as a few unlockables via the challenges (defeating certain pilots around 5 times unlocks them for you to use). On top of that you are given a small amount of diamonds and there’s a player market where you can seemingly buy and sell things for diamonds. Although the VIP habit of downgrading the amount of xp and money you get at the end of battles for normal players will always annoy me.
Overall its definitely worth a try if you have an Xbox 360 (I don’t own an Xbox One so i don’t know). You get a decent game for nothing and a even better game if you have Gold (which sadly i don’t).