Sparkypants Studios, the team behind games including Rise of Nations and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, has released its new game Dropzone on Steam. It's an interesting mashup of RTS and MOBA games, putting each player in charge of just three units on the battlefield. These rigs are what you'll be using to navigate the map, kill an alien force known as the Kavash, and destroy other player rigs in a bid to uplink the most cores. It sounds simple, but the gameplay is challenging.
Whether you're a fan of MOBAs, such as League of Legends and DOTA, or RTS titles like Command & Conquer and the Total War series, Dropzone offers a unique take on something that's firmly located between the two genres. As mentioned, you have the option of taking in just three rigs into each match, but the choice is yours when it comes to how they're kitted out with gear and abilities. There's a nice amount of customization you can spend a lot of time studying and perfecting.
Game modes include 1v1, 2v2 (for a total of 12 rigs on the map), cooperative survival mode, and competitive matches. The Infestation mode is pretty fun to break up the grind in developing your skill and climbing ranked ladders, and when queueing for games Sparkypants allows players to fire up an AI match to make the time pass by while waiting for a live match. The UI throughout Dropzone is solid, which makes everything that much more satisfying.
Uplink all the cores
The object of the main game is to collect cores to uplink them and complete match objectives to score points. Whichever team has the highest number of points when the 15-minute timer hits zero wins. A nice feature of Dropzone: kills don't count towards the point score. You need to plan strategic attacks to prevent the enemy team from controlling objectives, uplinking cores and more, but it's not a team deathmatch. That said, respawn times are fairly long, so killing off the enemy team unlocks the map for domination.
Depending on your load-out and team composition, you'll either hamper or enhance your chances of success. There are four classes of rigs: tank, gunner, mechanic, and summoner. Each class brings a unique style of gameplay from healing up friendly units and taking damage to outright rocket barraging and summoning friendly Kavash. Your choice of gear will affect these different classes, depending on what type of strategy you wish to take advantage of. Each rig can be leveled up to five, and the rig you choose to level up when accumulating could affect the outcome of the match.
There are hundreds of items and lots of gear to switch between, should you have them unlocked. Crates can be earned through gameplay, as well as via in-game purchases (with both accumulated and premium currency), and they can then be opened to unlock new and potentially more deadly items. Interestingly, the studio opted to go with a similar model to Smite where you can optionally purchase a bundle upgrade through Steam, which unlocks all future pilots, as well as currently 120 items of gear, plus a further 120 when they're available.
My rig looks awesome
After playing a good number of games, mainly against the AI because I always managed to get hammered by players with seemingly far more experience (testing phase veterans), Dropzone is a super-enjoyable game. I particularly enjoy 2v2 matches, which isn't a surprise as I much prefer cooperative gameplay that requires a team to work together to overcome enemy forces. I also seemingly get distracted way too easily by the various visual effects on screen.
Speaking of which, Dropzone is very pretty. From the animated rigs throughout the main menu system to the well-designed maps, the game will look glorious on your monitor. From what I have seen so far on gear and available rigs, I'm excited to see what the team can come up with in future, especially if it eventually looks to work in some new classes or expand with the introduction of new gameplay elements. The daily missions and map objectives do help to mix up the game with each match, for the time being.
If you enjoy RTS games or MOBAs, I recommend you check this game out right away. Dropzone is now available on Steam for $19.99, but you need the following system requirements before making the purchase:
- CPU - 2.8 GHz dual core.
- RAM - 4GB RAM.
- GPU - GTX 460 or better.
- HDD - 6GB.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.