Wolfstride Preview: Black and White Mech Fights
Wolfstride is an upcoming turn-based RPG game about mechs from Ota Imon Studios and Raw Fury. It was revealed back in 2020, and it was recently showed off at E3 2021.
Wolfstride is definitely an interesting game to look out for when it eventually releases. We even named it one of our most-anticipated turn-based RPGs of the year. I was able to play a brief demo build of the game and I came away intrigued by what I’ve seen so far.
In the demo, you control a character named Shade, who unsurprisingly, dons a pair of cool shades. Immediately, the two aspects that stood out to me were the music and the art direction. Both are absolutely fantastic.
The song that plays in the main hub area is a great rock guitar tune that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Persona 5 dungeon. The overall art design of Wolfstride employs a black and white comic book style in its menus, battle animations, and character portraits.
Shade himself looks very similar to Kamina from the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann anime, especially since Shade has the same sunglasses as the character. Wolfstride is really a pleasure to look at and listen to.
Good, ol' Fashioned Mech Battles
Wolfstride's gameplay revolves around turn-based mech battles, and you have certain actions at your disposal that either take up MP or AP. The action line at the bottom of the screen consists of squares that you can move along to get closer to your opponent. MP is primarily used for moving and going towards the middle squares in the line, and it can offer you bonuses like increased damage output.
AP is used for both attacking and defending. Certain skills use a set amount of AP, so you have to strategize what skills to use. Skills have varying properties —like Knockout Punch. It can only hit an opponent if they’re right in front of you, but it also has the ability to push them several squares back. Another example is Reload, which is a defensive skill that allows you to reload bullets. Defensive actions like Reload use up AP just like any other skill.
To beat an opponent, you must destroy the chest area of their mechs. The mechs have separate HP bars for each part of their body, such as the arms, head, and chest. While the chest is the primary objective, taking out other parts first has its advantages. For example, taking out the right arm can shut down your opponent’s ability to use a certain attack skill completely. Destroying the head impairs the mech’s ability to target specific body parts.
Back at the hub area, you can purchase new parts of your mech using money earned from victories, as well as repair any damage you sustained from the previous fight. These new parts can have positive effects like simply increasing base damage. However, some might have drawbacks, too. Some may increase HP but also decrease your ammo capacity. It's a system that welcomes strategic planning as you build the best mech for your playstyle.
It's Just a (Wolfstride) Demo!
Though it's just a demo, I wasn't able to get a clear picture of the game's story. I was just dropped off in the middle of the hub with barely any context, so it's hard to say how the narrative will play out.
There’s also a big difficulty spike between fighting the first mech and fighting the second. The demo emphasizes practicing on the first mech battle to earn more money and buy new parts, but hopefully, that’s not an indication of drawn-out grinding during the main game. We'll just have to wait and see.
In the full game, it seems like you’ll be able to explore the setting, Rain City, in a greater capacity, and you’ll seemingly be able to talk with residents and forge relationships. Unfortunately, the demo doesn’t provide access to that part of the game, so I am definitely curious to see how that all plays out later.
Wolfstride draws a lot of its nostalgic air from the era of Japanese mech-battle TV cartoons, which has been done before. However, the art style and music will certainly help the game stand out from the crowd.
The battles are strategic enough without feeling like they’re dragging on, and the degree of mech customization is fun so far. The demo only gives a small taste of what’s to come, but hopefully, with a few difficulty tweaks and more content, I can give Wolfstride a more accurate assessment down the road.
If you like the kind of setting and aesthetic that Wolfstride employs, then by all means give the demo a shot when it launches on PC on June 16.