Zachtronics Industries

Ironclad Tactics review

Chris Thursten at

Ironclad Tactics takes a bit of explaining. It’s a card-based strategy game that runs in realtime, where armies of retro robots march across a grid-based map as players spend action points on the cards that arm them, move them, repair them, and introduce new units to the fray.

At the most basic level, you’ve got the titular ironclads – portly automata that earn you victory points if they’re able to push all the way to the other side of the map. Then you have infantry units, which can capture areas of the map but earn no victory points and are liable to be bloodily squished if they cross paths with a metal war machine.

Ironclad Tactics trailer shows civil war robotics, pre-order details

Phil Savage at

The nice thing about the new trailer for Ironclad Tactics is that I can watch it without my brain trying to shut down from the stress of what it's being shown. That wasn't the case with Zachtronics Industries' last game, SpaceChem. But then, rather than a puzzler that revels in its exponential increase in complication, Ironclad Tactics is a card-based civil war battler. With robots.

Ironclad Tactics: card-based strategy from the creator of SpaceChem

Tom Senior at

SpaceChem's Pipemania-esque visuals masked a remarkable puzzle game that asked players to design logic circuits to fuse atoms into new substances. The mind behind such a creation must surely be capable of creating one hell of a strategy game, so it's with a "hmmm!" of great interest that I present Ironclad Tactics, a card based game of warring, steam powered robots.

The new Ironclad Tactics site hosts a trailer showing some art (but sadly no in-game shots) of those very robots. You give out orders by playing cards from your pre-arranged deck of 20 orders. Providing you've managed to deal out your requests before the nippy timer runs out, you'll get to watch your robots carry out your wishes and mangle the opposition into twisted iron wrecks.

SpaceChem gets bigger and cheaper, sandbox competition launched

Tom Senior at

SpaceChem is a game about circuitry pretending to be a game about chemistry. You have to create a machine that will build molecules, building routes that will bring the required atoms into the correct arrangement and deposit the finished product into the exit zone. It's a smart, challenging puzzler that earned a lofty score of 89 in our SpaceChem review. If you're intrigued, SpaceChem has just gone cheaper to celebrate the addition of a new sandbox mode.

SpaceChem review

Phill Cameron at

Do you know what a Waldo is? How about the molecular structure of sodium nitrate? Ethane? No? Me neither. Luckily, that’s not really what SpaceChem is about. It’s a puzzler about combining atoms to form these molecules, but the emphasis is on the combining, not the molecules. That means creating ever more elaborate circuits, filled with complex instructions, to manufacture the desired substances. That’s the theory anyway, and for some that’s certainly how it works, as evidenced by the post-level graphs showing where you stand compared to everyone else playing.