There aren’t many mech titles in VR let alone for Meta Quest 2, with Vox Machinae being the one notable one and then you’ve got Ultimechs which is due out in 2022. So the announcement of World of Mechs from Studio 369 this week was welcome, giving us giant robots fans something to look forward to. And you definitely should, gmw3 was treated to a preview of this team-based shooter, stepping into all manner of assault mechs and coming away pretty darn impressed.
Studio 369 has a solid history in the mecha game space with CEO Matt Candler having previously worked on MechWarrior 2 during his time at Activision. Just like those other games mentioned, World of Mechs’ primary focus is on competitive matches, dropping players in 4v4 matches across a range of maps and gameplay modes.
The maps gmw3 got to play with ranged from an industrial, dockside location with a massive aircraft carrier in the middle to an arid, undulating canyon with rocky outcrops to use for cover. Whilst the gameplay modes switched between your usual selection of free-for-all deathmatch and team-based dominion involving A/B/C objectives to hold and accrue points at.
Even though there’s a tutorial to get acquainted with the basic control scheme, what’s noticeable is the simplicity and functionality of the system. World of Mechs is designed for fast-paced, arcade-style combat so the team has dispensed with any traditional VR mechanics like physical inputs. Everything is located on the controllers, heck, you can even see the controllers in VR just in case you forget where the face buttons are.
That might seem a little silly but it’s highly useful, especially if you’re new to the headset. To jump and hover is the A button, the B button is your special ability whilst Y reloads your weapons. There’s also an additional utility depending on the mech, some can stomp by pressing the right stick in whereas the small machines can quickly strafe with the grip. Yes, there’s a lot going on but it’s far less daunting than having to grab a lever to activate one function while a different stick does something else. What this means is you can focus on the battle at hand, not where your virtual hand is.
As for the mechs themselves, there is a huge range of choices, once you’ve managed to unlock them. There are 32 to choose from (8 classes with 4 models in each), ranging from light Scouts which are nimble to the huge Juggernaut that stomps across the battlefield. To begin with, you get the Trooper, a mid-range mech that’s nicely balanced with a medium laser to whittle down enemy shields and a mini-gun that’s great for chipping away at the main health bar.
Once a few battles have been played and some cash and XP have been earned – there are additional cash, XP, shield, health and cooldown bonuses hidden on each map – there’s the option to upgrade. World of Mechs provides an extensive array of customisation options, from upgrading the main hull and its various components like the health bar and shield to the main guns themselves. There was no way to change the actual gun-type though, they’re fixed to each model, so changing loadouts means changing your mech as well.
Thankfully this can be done in each match, dying brings up your roster of unlocked mechs to select from. Thus each match could dynamically change as players mix and match their mechs and tactics to the environment or game mode. I’m not always the best player when it comes to these types of shooters but I found World of Mechs both easy to pick up and hugely enjoyable to play. The weapon options were varied whilst the control scheme with its head controlled aiming reticule made combat intuitive.
Being inside a mech also made for a comfortable experience thanks to being sat down and surrounded by a cockpit. For those that are sensitive to motion sickness Studio 369 has employed various comfort options to reduce this issue.
Worlds of Mechs has all the ingredients for what could be the essential mech game on Meta Quest 2, it is loud, brash and unashamedly entertaining. It’s not even solely multiplayer as there’s a single-player campaign mode plus the ability to jump into a bot match to test a new mech or level. Currently, World of Mechs doesn’t have a release date, it’s just “coming soon” so keep an eye for this mechanized brawler as it’s firmly on gmw3’s wishlist for 2022.