Airship Dragoon is an uber-hardcore, turn-based strategy game. Players take control of one of six factions and fight for control of Pangea.
I really didn’t think I would like this game. Most of the reviews, and even the description, say it’s for hard-core wargamers only. And there are lots of comments about bad UI. Not being a wargamer, much less a hard-core one, I wasn’t enthusiastic about this game until I played it. AD is really fun, though the UI is troublesome. The UI isn’t confusing per se, there’s just a lot of options. Before going into battle, you have to recruit soldiers then equip their gear. When on the battlefield, you need to press the move button to move units and the shoot button to fire at enemies. This takes some getting used to.
Each battle is basically a capture the flag scenario. You can place up to ten units on the field and maneuver them through the various structures. The goal is to capture the enemies flag while protecting your own, but I’ve yet to win without eliminating the opposition. This can be difficult because the weapon accuracy is ridiculously low.
One of the interesting mechanics is morale. Each unit has morale and as units die or are fired upon their morale drops. If their morale drops too low, then they can freeze up, run away, or even go nuts. When units go nuts they fire wildly at the enemy. Sometimes this results in enemy deaths. Either way, the announcement that someone has ‘lost it and gone nuts’ was always hilarious.
I’ll admit I’m still not sure what I’m doing most of the time, and I don’t take the game too seriously. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of this game, even when I’m losing. That’s unusual. This is definitely a niche game, though, and isn’t for everyone. While this isn’t typically my kind of game, I will be playing more of it.
Verdict: Get it on sale. It’s worth trying, but it has a limited audience and a high price.