The Iron Harvest review. Between mechs, Tesla and cannon shots

Iron Harvest Review

It is born on the tables, it grows on the PC. In short, the story of the evolution of the universe conceived by the Polish Jakub Rozalski, creator of Scythe, which turned out to be one of the most popular board games in the small, big niche of board game aficionados. The first stretch of road traveled by was no different Iron Harvest, new video game developed by KING Art funded by a successful Kickstarter and which has released several updates over time dedicated to the state of the art of the project. Finally we can try its final version on PC, or almost. We therefore ventured into the uncertainties left by the aftermath of the Great War, tell in this game strategic in real time in an alternate reality that we have explored gradually. So how did this "halfway" trip go in the "Roaring Twenties" of the last century?

Iron Harvest Review - The war isn't over 

Before addressing any issues related to the so timely release, perhaps too much, before even having finished the inclusion of dedicated updates, let's deepen the history behind this new title. Europe is still trying to recover after the bloody and destructive battles of the World War, a war which, however, does not seem to have completely extinguished.

Cities are being rebuilt and the era of iron harvesting has begun in the countryside, as farmers find the remnants of war machines used in battles on the battlefields of the Great War. In the meantime, however, not all the war movement that has been unleashed in the meantime has fallen asleep. A new threat is emerging, able to put jeopardizing the very existence of Europe due to secret forces. These seem to use every possible resource to destabilize entire states, with the sole purpose of setting the world on fire again and taking control of it.

Download QR-Code Iron Harvest Developer: KING Art Price: 29,99 €

It is important to keep in mind that in Iron Harvest we are catapulted into a alternative historical period, therefore we should not expect complete or almost complete adherence to the history of the last century. Here, in fact, the previous Industrial Revolution gave birth to a sector which in turn was the parent of machines even more advanced than those actually produced. These have taken the name of automacchine, for the sake of brevity mech, and these are diesel-powered technologies, exploited for various tasks. In a constructive and effective way, to help farmers in agriculture; in a destructive and warlike way, for bloody purposes.

Three nations, three factions

The complexity and effectiveness with which these weapons were made resulted in even more destructive conflicts. Here the first prototypes of tanks used in the First World War are replaced by these show dieselpunk, so powerful as to exterminate hundreds of men.

The partial distance from reality is also felt in the three different factions we're dealing with, and each with different styles of play on offer. Let's talk about Polania, Saxony and Rusviet, the fantasy correspondents of Poland, the German Empire and Russia. Both the universe of the board game and that of the videogame develop triangulating on these three poles, real pivots around which the events of this real-time strategy revolve.

The historical period is also revived through three distinct campaigns. One resumes the fate of a Polania dominated by the occupation of the Rusviet. A second explores the events of the conspiracy against the Tsar and all of Europe, while the third explores the Saxon army.

Almost real characters

If on the one hand we are dealing with entire nations and empires, on the other the game focuses on a few characters developed more than others. For example, at the beginning of the campaign in Polania we know Anna Kos, a young woman who in the company of her little bear Wojtek manages to fill the role of a stoic heroine during the revolution against oppression Rusviet.

However, historical references are not lacking here: the fictional story of Anna Kos recalls the real one of Irena Bokiewicz, a woman who looked after a small teddy bear, also baptized Wojtek, after some hunters had deprived him of his mother. This is not the only case: we also find other even more famous characters, such as Grigori Rasputin or even Nikola Tesla, presences amalgamated in a narrative pastiche that was not at its best. The main cause?

Download QR-Code Iron Harvest Developer: KING Art Price: 29,99 €

The player's attention is mostly diverted from the constitutive elements of the imaginary of this title, focusing more on the innovations brought to the actual course undergone by History. In addition, the events of the various protagonists are united and intertwined between them in a rather forced way, keeping clear the distinction between the campaigns. We therefore note a narration dictated by narrative clichés which certainly do not show originality of writing.

The two sides of the 1920+ universe

Let us now take a closer look at the two faces of the same medal as Iron Harvest, on the one hand the game gives us engaging and excruciating physical confrontations. The terrible mechs make the pitch jump, shredding the opposing troops as if they were bits of paper. Let's not talk about the destructive effect of the machines as they destroy everything in their path, to go and throw themselves into battle is something incredible and to make everything even more indispensable is an impeccable audio sector, able to give us the sound effects in a really realistic and almost thrilling way.

The presence of troops of various types means that the player can observe strengths and weaknesses, special attacks and statistics that are always different, thus making the gameplay more dynamic. Furthermore, the clashes in Iron Harvest they often see two strategists, or even more, who battle each other through targeted strategies and tactics, counting a few dozen units present simultaneously on the screen.

The other “darker” side of Iron Harvest is there management phase, the one that involves the collection of resources and the construction of buildings. The problems touch on aspects such as the scarce variety of buildings available per faction, useful only for recruiting troops and hosting them inside. The scarcity of this sector also involves the upgrades available for the structures present. These are really limited and do not stand up to the care with which the team has developed the combat phases.

The dark side of war (and gaming)

The flaws, however, do not end there. As anticipated, Iron Harvest is a limp work as not all the promised features are available yet (such as the cooperative mode for the single player campaign). So why release it at full price and as a finished product, despite the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done? The programmers justify themselves by arguing that this is only the first season and that, in the future, updates will continue as happened for other titles.

The imaginary and full of contrasts period of the 1920+ period is able to give us too rural and bucolic landscapes, where the presence of the mech monsters is as striking as it is fascinating, precisely because of the way in which the gap between the poor laborers in the fields, the armed soldiers and the complex, huge, deadly machines is highlighted.

Le settings they turn out so rather neat, flanked by one colonna sonora abbastanza varied and equally detailed. There is also a series of cinematic scenes whose quality was not as high. The cutscenes were a bit grainy and not in high definition, but we hope this bug will be fixed in the next game updates.

Download QR-Code Iron Harvest Developer: KING Art Price: 29,99 €

Each mission is also interspersed with narrative videos, well shot and well narrated despite some physical details of the characters are not actually realistic. Furthermore, not even some accents of the speeches are rather forced and unlikely, but they are still minimal errors and shortcomings on the total work done.

In conclusion

Iron Harvest is a game that deserves our attention, despite the flaws, but it all depends on the real element of attention we are looking for. If you are thirsty for clashes, fights, and above all a lover of history (however revisited), this game could be for you. It is about a nice and well built dieselpunk, assisted by one graphics that well support the whole adventure, between clashes that are equally enjoyable to play and observe.

On the other hand, it was a bit unpleasant to notice the not too linear narrative writing and at times confused. An aspect of the game that is not particularly thorough, but we hope that the team will release further updates, to fill those gaps that this title does not deserve. The mechs can't wait to go into battle, are you? Are you one of us?

Iron Harvest

  • Diverse stories between factions ...
  • enjoyable battles and at the height of the RTS genre
  • Very good graphics and audio
  • Good longevity of play
  • ... perhaps too much, at the expense of a less than optimal direction
  • Launch of a game that is not yet complete and that needs subsequent updates

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