The horrors of World War I have not yet been digested, and the next bloody conflict is already looming in Europe: in 1920, the fictitious nations of Polania, Rusviet and Saxony argue and fight for it. domination with traditional weapons and powerful “Mechs”. I played the Kickstarter Iron Harvest achievement from King Art Games Bremen for several hours and played the first five missions of the campaign. Conclusion spoiler: Fans of animated real-time strategy battle and base-building will have their joy.

Iron Harvest uses the alternate world of 1920+ as the scene of demanding battles. An unused screenplay, designed by Polish artist Jakub Różalski, who in his oil paintings combines life and struggle in the era of the Russo-Polish War of 1919-1921 with retrofuturistic war machines . WWI units meet diesel punk mechs, the unusual combination captivated you.

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Polanina’s agile Śmiały mech is ideal for reconnaissance missions and the fight against lightly armed infantry units.

Before I can cast my first ‘Mech in combat, however, I need to internalize the basics of Iron Harvest. In a snowball fight against a few village boys in the Polania hinterland, I learn about the future heroine Anna Kos, who demonstrates her shooting skills and becomes a masterful sniper. The basic premise seems simple: you move your unit in Company of Heroes style from cover to cover, entrench yourself in houses and, if possible, shoot at the attacked enemy. First with snowballs, then with lead.

The first real mission is a real challenge for your tactical skills. Anna is now a young woman and has become the leader of the resistance movement against the invasion of Rusviet. The goal is to reach Anna’s hometown and save her family before the aggressors from the east overwhelm everything with their overwhelming force. Only a handful of infantry units are at your disposal for the task, now charging directly results in a fiasco.

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A man and his’ Mech: Each faction has powerful hero units, Saxony, for example, fights with Gunter von Duisburg and his combat giant Brunhilde.

Gradually you discover parts of the map as you walk, always alert that there are suddenly Rusviet soldiers in the Fog of War Glade, who open fire immediately when they are visible. Fortunately, at first you encounter little resistance and can quickly kill enemies. Anna’s special skills, one of the three hero units per faction, help you tremendously. With her sniper rifle, she can decimate an enemy unit from a safe distance with a single shot. The rest is done by entrenched Polania infantry or Anna Wojtek’s companion bear, who can pick it up properly and manage its paws in close combat.

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After the battle, it is worth to search the battlefield, as well as the medipacks, which you use to fill the losses of your units, and the ammunition, the defeated enemies leave their weapons. If you take hand grenades, for example, you upgrade your standard infantry to a more powerful group of troops. The route to your main destination is clearly marked on the map, how you get there is up to you. In principle, each level is a large sandbox in which you can optionally complete a number of side missions. This is only recommended, for example if you take an enemy position or release captured compatriots you will be rewarded with new units. The greater your strength, the more frustrating the boss fight at the end of the mission can be.

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Without protection from punk diesel mechanics, your important infantry units are quickly wiped out.

The walk through Polania is just a first finger exercise, your multitasking and tactical skills will be put to the test in the next mission. The task: to take a station and hijack a heavily guarded train with which you have to get important allies out of the danger zone. A glance at the minimap gives an idea of ​​something terrible: there are red dots everywhere, which represent fortifications and enemy units, only at the bottom is a small blue area.

In the meantime, however, you have building groups that you can build a base with. The barracks, from which new recruits emerge every minute, a factory of “Mechs and bunkers for securing the siege are the basic equipment for the rest of the procedure. To build buildings and start production, you need oil and iron. The resource account is constantly filling up as you bring derricks and mines into the area under your control. Take your time, divert a few sources of raw materials, upgrade buildings, and produce a nice army of different ground units and mech variants.

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As soon as you have engineering units, you build your headquarters with barracks, bunkers, and machine factories. You therefore provide refueling at the front.

The Polania faction initially has two combat giants, the rapid Śmiały, which is suitable as a reconnaissance aircraft and quickly eliminates normal infantry units, but has trouble with opponents with bazookas and heavy machine guns, or the gigantic PZM- 12, which looks like an AT -AT looks like Star Wars and uses its two cannons to demolish houses and bunkers. However, you also need a huge amount of raw materials for such a colossus. This means figuring out whether you’d rather go with a force of units and Mechs quickly produced and take high losses, or rather wait until you can get some really heavy weapons along the way.

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Unfortunately, the enemy doesn’t sleep either, and you can quickly find yourself in combat on multiple fronts. Your headquarters are attacked again and again, the major sources of rust are attacked, and the target is still waiting to be defeated. He can quickly get restless and the glimpse gets lost in the fray. If all else fails, ask a friend to help you, the whole campaign can also be played in co-op. If one is focused on attacking and the other is on headquarters defense, you will definitely have an easier time.

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In a touching cutscene, Polish heroine Anna Kos saves a baby bear who grows up to be a powerful companion.

The campaign, which according to the developers will last around 40 hours, includes 21 missions, which in turn will be carried out from the point of view of Polania, Rusviet and Saxony. In the cutscenes, the conflict is viewed from the personal perspective of the various participants in the war, and emotional moments are not overlooked. When Anna adopts a baby bear, for example, who sadly sits in Bambi moment in front of her downcast mother’s body and moans, it’s something that really struck my heart.

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Briefly about the hero units: Anna and her bear, on the Rusviets side, the spy Olga with her Siberian tiger or the veteran warrior of Saxony Gunter von Duisburg and his Mech Brunhilde, have special skills with which you can well clean up among opponents can. However, the heroes are not bulletproof either and if you let them do it alone on the front line, they will be incapacitated faster than you would like. If you don’t want to say goodbye to Anna and the others for a long time, quickly send an infantry unit to heal.

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Taking ore mines and other resources is a top priority, otherwise you can’t build an army of robots without the necessary materials.

Real-time battles with tactical depth, clear base construction, and a really exciting storyline: I really liked the early Iron Harvest missions. As soon as you can bring ‘Mechs into play, it’s really fun to duel with the Battle Colossi or maneuver the Diesel Giants with ground troops and knock them down. I’m really looking forward to the 1920+ Campaign and Secrets of the World when I can send dozens of units to the battlefield starting September 1 and think about the perfect strategy.

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