Ironcast is a turn-based strategy roguelike in which you take control of your own Ironcast, a cross between a mech and a tank. It features a match three puzzle combat system, mech upgrades, a steampunk theme, and permadeath.
Pro Unique setting
The game takes place in an alternate timeline 1886 victorian England, but with a steampunk twist. England and France go to war over Voltite, a recently discovered resource which causes a great surge in mechanical and engineering advances. From this new technology springs the Ironcasts, a war machine that is a cross between a tank and a mech. In the pilot seat of your Ironcast, you play on the side of England as it attempts to thwart a French invasion.
Pro A new experience each playthrough thanks to randomized missions
You must defeat 9 missions in order to win the game, however these missions are randomly generated and you are allowed to select 1 from a group of 3 each time you advance. The missions are also highly varied. Some missions require you to only do enough damage to your enemy so that your foe's mech can still be salvaged. Another may require you to battle waves of enemies until reinforcements arrive. Some require you to collect a certain amount of resources or even diffuse bombs. There's enough variety where you'll always be trying something new, so the randomized mission setup helps to keep the game feeling fresh.
Pro Loads of strategic combat choices
While each mech has its own overall health bar, each of their subsystems (weapons, shields, and drive) also has its own individual health bar. That means you can target your opponents various systems to disable their weapons or shields, or even disable their drive so they're unable to maneuver away from your attacks. Deciding which system to go for at opportune times can result in some rather strategic and exciting gameplay.
For example, you might take down their shields so your weapons hit harder. Or you may opt to take out their weapon systems so they will have to repair before they can unleash more attacks.
In addition to being able to target various systems, you can also choose a pilot and a mech separately. The pilots and mechs all have their own special abilities and cooldowns, meaning you'll be able to mix and match quite a few different setups.
Pro Gameplay feels fresh and new due to the puzzle based combat
Combining match three puzzle solving with resource management results in an extremely fresh combat system that is rarely seen in the roguelike genre. By taking turns with your opponent and matching various colored gems on a 6x6 grid, you'll build resources. These resources do such things as fire your weapons, power up your shield, repair, and keep your mech from overheating. While you are only able to make 2 gem matches per turn to build resources, you can take as many actions as you want provided you generated the resources needed to pull them off.
Pro Fun and exciting combat
Choosing which gems to focus on matching each turn results in some fun combat choices. For example, you could focus on pooling your ammo gems for several rounds, only to turn around and unleash a devastating assault on your enemy. If your enemy is relentless, you could work on matching only repair and shield gems to keep your shields up. The combat revolves around deciding which gem matches should take priority versus working around what gems the board is providing. Since it's always random, it can lead to some pretty exciting choices where you'll have to think and react on the fly.
Con Favors RNG over skill
Due to the randomness of the gem matching game used for combat, an element of luck will always be present. Pure RNG determines what mix of combat gems (ammo, energy, repair, and coolant) are placed on the board, which may turn off those who want to truly master a game through skill.
Con Permadeath doesn't feel like it fits in a luck based game
Sometimes you simply won't get enough ammo gems to do much damage, or enough shield gems for a proper defense. This will result in a loss, and because of the randomness, it never quite feels like it was your fault. In a game based on RNG and luck, permadeath just doesn't work and can feel extremely frustrating. When you die, you lose all your gold, xp, blueprints, weapons, and upgrades.