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Platform: PC

Genre: Role-Playing

Publisher: 1C

Developer: Sky River Studio



Related Links:

Review: Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)

Review: Eve Online (PC)

Review: Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II (Xbox)




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Unless a game involves giant robots, titles involving mechanized heroes are far and few between.  But it looks like gamers are in luck if they have a hankering for some robots without the usual Gundam/Macross/Eva sensibility in the way of MechMinds, an action RPG headed to the PC courtesy of Sky River.


The history of the game world in MechMinds actually has quite a bit of depth to it.  In the past humans had finally achieved deep space flight and begun to colonize the cosmos when they came across a race known as the Arling.  This turned out to be a beneficial meeting for both parties considering that humans were land dwellers while the Arling preferred to reside underwater.  With this one-two punch on land and sea the two races enjoyed a very comfortable existence together.  Unfortunately this made many of the other prominent races of the galaxy that much more wary of the new alliance and a colonization race began which inevitably erupted into war.  With time the Arling and the humans created a number of artificial, automated planets called Proving Grounds.  The role of these places was to develop new weapons and war machines to give the alliance a tactical advantage in the war.  In time a third party entered the fray in this continually escalating galactic conflict, a non-corporeal entity called Arbiter.  This being’s duty was to ensure that the races of the galaxy stayed on the straight and narrow, not destroying each other through war.  Ironically, instead of having all the races in this war come together for a sit down to discuss the situation Arbiter takes a wrathful God of the Old Testament approach to dealing with the current situation by laying waste to huge percentages of the various races and their interstellar holdings.  The purpose of this was to push the races back several hundred years in development in hopes that as they rebuild they will evolve more peacefully.  But despite the destruction, Arbiter did leave one of the Proving Grounds and its supercomputer intact, observing it over time.  With the 

passage of time the supercomputer, whose job was to create instruments of war, eventually becomes self aware.  With that it takes it upon itself to find a way to create sentient robots and in time successfully achieves it.  Each of these robots has this drive within it to achieve perfection, each in their own way, scouring the galaxy to reach this goal.  With that the player takes on the role of one of these robots.


Players’ MechMinds inhabit something called a glider in the game.  The machines look somewhat like your typical sci-fi aircraft, and can be wholly 



mechanical or biomechanical depending on how they are customized.  The MechMind society is a very social one and often stick together, as such working in teams is encouraged during play.



Freedom of choice.


More than 30 different weapons, numerous bombs, mines and missiles.


30+ various glider types, including biomechanical.


Multiple optional glider upgrades.


A unique robotic social system.


Trade, spoils of war available for sale


Realistic nature, real-time weather changes


Huge sci-fi game zones


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As players travel the galaxy in search of this perfection they are presented with a very open-ended, non-linear quest in MechMinds.  Fighting the various factions, conducting trade, working for various guilds all can be done at players’ leisure as they traverse the game.  All the while keeping in mind political considerations will be a necessity as one’s actions slowly but surely align them more and more with the different ruling powers.  On top of this there will be plenty of nuts and bolts gameplay, as gamers can choose how to customize the robot and glider in which it resides.  And for those who hug their high-powered graphic card every night before bed, you’ll be happy to know that a lot of detail is being put into the presentation of MechMinds, as seen by the screenshots available thus far.  The worlds have plenty of texturing to soak in with pretty lighting effects and all the other visual musts necessary to get gamers gasping at the lights dancing on their screen.


With a strong backstory leading the charge, and a potentially very non-linear approach to gameplay, MechMinds looks like it may have a very good chance of grasping the attention of those who enjoyed Morrowind with the games’ apparent similarities in gameplay, except for the broadsword being swapped for some missiles and a pulse laser.  There’s still no firm release date available for this game, but hopefully we’ll hear more on that soon.


- Mr. Nash

(November 5, 2003)