Jul 1, 2014
Mecha Ace is a new gamebook from the boffins at Choice of Games, a company famous for their excellent gamebooks.
Mecha Ace casts the player as an ace combat armature pilot taking part in a galactic scale rebellion against earth. Earth has been mistreating its colonies as of late and this animosity has finally blossomed into an all-out war with the colonies attacking their old homeworld. As the leader of a squad of six 60 ton combat machines, what happens next is the playerâ€™s choice.
The choice in Mecha Ace starts off with background. The hero can be a unhinged killer, a noble hero or somewhere in between. They can focus on gunnery skills, melee or just leadership. Throughout the adventure there are tons of choices which may or may not get your squad killed. A lot of these play into the playerâ€™s stats which can be boosted or lost due to choices made in the story.
Say for example the player may have to ambush an enemy squad in the cave. Depending on how fast the player got there (in itself a moral choice) the enemy may be set up already. There is also another armature the player can control. The choices are to go in guns blazing, lure the enemy into an ambush or remotely control the other mech. Remotely controlling the mech can either have it shoot at enemies or take out the main support pillar in the complex, killing most of the enemies but also causing the civilian town above to plunge into the ground in a catastrophic sinkhole like event. Of course this will likely fail unless the player is an exceptionally good pilot and marksman. Which is the better choice? Only the player decides.
Mecha Ace is written extremely well. The brutality of war and the uniqueness of people are portrayed extremely well and small touches like descriptions of body language and details of massive starships exploding really help illustrate the story in the playerâ€™s eyes. The story changes completely due to player choice and the inner monologue describing why the player character feels the way they do is always spot on.
And indeed, the plot itself is excellent. Full of twists and genuine suspense, Mecha Ace is a gripping tale until the end. Its believable characters and surprises really make it captivating reading. The way it personally involves the reader every step of the way makes it impossible to put down until the book is finished.
A lot of replay value is gained by allowing the player to change the gender of everyone in the story. This allows them to romance different people or simply be treated differently. And of course changes to the playerâ€™s skills, or just different choices completely change the story and what can and cannot be done.
Mecha Ace is a fantastic story wrapped around a robust gamebook format that really affects the plot and is a must read for sci-fi fans or fans of gamebooks.