We here at TechRaptor have had our eye on Iron Harvest for a while. We're all huge lovers of Scythe, a board game that was inspired by Jakub Rozalski's 1920+ art and setting. Iron Harvest was also inspired by that art and uses Rozalski's 1920+ setting, so we zeroed in on it almost immediately. Finally seeing the game in-person and with some hands-on time, our excitement was well-founded.
I met with a member of King Art Games, Julian Strzoda, who as we were chatting told me that Iron Harvest looks heavily at both Company of Heroes and Warcraft III for its influence. The gameplay is definitely more in line with Company of Heroes, but Julian told me that Iron Harvest is heavily focused on its campaigns, where the Warcraft III influence comes in more. Just as in Warcraft III, there are multiple factions in Iron Harvest, each with their own stories, and all of which fall under one overarching narrative. You can read more about that, Iron Harvest's destructible environments, and the game's design philosophy here.
While playing Iron Harvest, it really felt like Company of Heroes but with mechs added into the mix. That's not to say your general ground forces won't be important, but the mechs obviously play a huge role in combat. The trade off, usually, is that they aren't that mobile, so your squads of people can get up on them quickly if needed and take out a lone mech. They definitely need support.
There's a wide variety of mechs too—not all of them are just walking tanks. They each have their strongsuits and uses, such as one that's a little more mobile and equipped with some machine guns to deal with infantry. Then you have those that are huge, walking mortars that are better from a distance. There's even those with massive cannons that can dig themselves into the ground for more support and increase their firepower and distance.
It's of course not all about the mechs, as there are still plenty of infantry units that have a ton of uses. From your standard rifleman, to your engineers, to artillery units and more, there's a ton of utility among the units. That can change on the fly as well, as killing enemies makes them drop their gear. So, if you just have a standard squad and end up killing some enemy engineers, they can go pick up their kit and are now engineers.
There are of course multiple weapons you can build to make gunner crews and the like. They can push around massive machine guns to set up on the field, moving very slowly, which can also be taken by enemies if they kill your units. There's more weaponry squads can bring along with them, making it easy to change their role on the fly as needed.
Cover plays a huge role, as placing your units behind it can mean the difference in success or defeat. Iron Harvest is more about planning and less about swarming people in, so just rushing at an enemy isn't going to work. Picking the right terrain and using it properly will be huge when moving your units around. As an aside, one cool thing is that blown up mechs will then can then be used as cover, which may shape the battlefield in your favor—or not.
I sucked at Company of Heroes and I really sucked in my Iron Harvest demo. But, I had a ton of fun. It felt like Company of Heroes with its own twist, mainly the mechs, and the setting is realized beautifully in the game. I can't wait to experience the epic campaign and see King Art Games' take on the 1920+ setting after already falling in love with it in Scythe. RTS fans, this one is more than worth keeping an eye on, it's one that should be near the top of your most anticipated list.
Iron Harvest is set to come out later this year on PC.
For all the E3 announcements and a ton of our hands-on previews and some interviews, check out our E3 2019 Coverage Hub.