Day 361: Junk Fields

Posted: 2011/11/07 in Indie Games

I’ve been a mech game fan for a fair while now. My first experiences with them were arcade games such as “Virtual On”, then “Iron Soldier” on the Atari Jaguar, followed by “Gundam Side Story” on the Dreamcast (I even bought a Sega Saturn and imported the Saturn-only Gundam Side Story games, such was my infatuation with the series). Last generation it was the original Xbox triumvirate of Mech Assault, Steel Battalion, and Gun Metal that kept my interest stoked in the genre (the latter of which was a guilty pleasure). This brings us to “Junk Fields”, the indie game I purchased today. My interest in mech games was a benefit for Junk Fields in that it was more likely to make my short list, but it also meant it had a larger standard to meet. Luckily, Junk Fields stood up well (better than any mech game I’ve yet to play from the Xbox Indie Games channel).

Junk Fields is a bit like the love child of Chromehounds and Armored Core 4. I like that it lets you save mid-mission, so you never have to lose any progress. Difficulty progression is great, starting with a training mission and getting gradually more difficult from there. There’s nicely some customisation here; it won’t come close to the level of the MechWarrior games on the PC, but you can at least customise your mech’s armament between missions. The trade-offs here are done well: the most powerful guns fire most slowly and have the most limited ammunition, for example, so you do have to pay attention to a mission’s challenges and objectives in kitting out your walking death machine. If you have trouble with a level, you can replay any of the previous missions to earn more money to upgrade your mech further to tackle those tougher challenges.

I like the controls which seamlessly let you fire jump jets and juggle weapons using the bumpers, triggers, and more. The game’s environments are unfortunately not as feature-rich as I would have liked, but uniquely there are weapons scattered around the battlefields giving you an offensive option if you end up running out of ammo mid-mission, a feature I don’t recall seeing before in a mech game (ammo pick-ups yes, but weapon pick-ups no). If you only like plodding mech afairs (MechWarrior on the PC, for example), then this may not be your game. If you enjoyed the faster pace of games like MechAssault, Virtual On, Gundam Side Story, etc., then you should definitely give Junk Fields a try. Considering how many mech games I’ve paid $50-70 each for over the years, “Junk Fields” is a great addition to my collection for a mere 240 Microsoft Points.

  1. I’ve been planning to review this myself, oddly enough. I quite like it, but it seems to be completely overlooked, despite mech games being sorely under-represented in XBLIG.

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