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Aztez, a 2D beat-em-up strategy game set in ancient Mexico, is coming in August

I got my first look at Aztez way back in 2013, and I was quite taken by it. It promised a mix of turn-based strategy and brutal, bloody 2D brawls—an odd blend, yes—rendered in a stark monochromatic visual style based on 16th-century Mexico and Central America. But after that brief preview, it completely fell off the radar, and I didn't hear another word about it—until, surprisingly, last night, when the two-man studio Team Colorblind announced that it's (almost) finished and will be out on August 1. 

The goal of Aztez is to build and maintain a great Aztec empire. Diplomacy is obviously part of that, but more often than not you're going to run into people who just don't want to play ball. That's where the Aztez come in: They're basically the special forces of your empire, ferocious and merciless in battle, and even able to call down the wrath of the gods upon their enemies. 

There are eight weapon sets to collect, more than 25 unique enemies and 50 "combat environments" based on real cities and the Aztec Underworld, and more than 70 cosmetic items to claim from your fallen foes. And if the fights are all you're after, you can skip the strategy part and just throw down in the arena in the capital of Tenochtitlan. A detailed stats page will track your wins, losses, kills, max combos, ritual sacrifices, and other such relevant information, and online leaderboards will let you compare your ranking with the rest of the world.

I've played around with the current build of Aztez, and it is very impressive. I'm not particularly good at it (I've been hacking away with the keyboard, but it's clearly designed for a controller) but the combat is fast, complex, and vicious, and the strategy angle really doesn't get in the way: It's more about making either/or choices with limited resources and time, rather than having to deal with the minutiae of actually running of an empire. 

Aztez is scheduled to come out on August 1 on Steam, Humble, and other fine digital storefronts. The "Aztez in One Minute" trailer below breaks down the basics of the game, and a more detailed look can be had at aztez.com

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.