We love it when a new, promising indie game pops up on the radar, and the Syndicate-meets-MechWarrior vibe of the newly announced Matador has us especially interested. Developed by Stellar Jockeys , a small studio that includes brothers Jack and Hugh Monahan, Matador puts you in the driver's seat of a one-night vehicular revolution.
The game can be played with different styles depending on the vehicle (tank, anti-grav, or walking mech) and weapons you choose. After you pick your weapons, you're dropped randomly into one of nine districts. “Your loadout has a big impact on how you play the game, what tactical options are available,” Hugh Monahan told PC Gamer. “Do you go in hard and loud, or more stealthy and indirect?”
Each district can be cleared out in one of three ways: destroying the orbital defense battery, sabotaging all of the ammo depots, or killing every enemy on the map. “The sneakier players might want to just take out the main battery and sprint for the exit,” Hugh says, “But the AI changes their defensive grouping to respond the next round—so unless you want an even harder fight, better change up your tactics.”
Complicating matters: there's no saving allowed, and the levels are randomly generated. “[Y]ou can't cheese through levels by save-scumming or rote memorization,” Jack Monahan says. “That's why our game has permadeath, so that players have a chance to develop and then apply their skills, as well as their favorite loadouts. Games like Spelunky, or even Hitman: Blood Money missions are so replayable in part because a given play session can be pretty short. It encourages people to come back and try something different.”
Matador also has an undeniable style, both in music and art. “For building the vehicles in the game, I owe a great debt to Kow Yokoyama , a Japanese artist whose series of kit-bashed Maschinen Krieger model kit designs are still so fresh and vital,” Jack Monahan says. “Kit-bashing existing military vehicles lends a certain grounded look to the units in the game, even if they are 30-foot-tall mechs.”