Phantom Brigade is a turn-based strategy game developed and published by Brace Yourself Games. In this game, players take the role of a commander in charge of a squadron of mechs. An evil invading army is trying to conquer your home. It’s gonna take lots of planning, skill, a decent amount of foresight to get the job done. Luckily, a recent technological breakthrough allows you to see several seconds into the future. It’s always easier to plan when you can see three moves ahead. Like many of the best games, I demoed at PAX East this one had some surprises in store for me. What Phantom Brigade delivered was a well-executed turn-based game with an ingenious twist to the classic gameplay.
While planning their turn the player can wind time forward a bit, to see what their enemy intends to do. The player can then plan their moves accordingly. But it’s a bit more intricate than that statement may make it sound. A slide bar at the bottom of the screen allows the player to pinpoint when they want to start firing or where everything else will be if they move so far. This created an almost puzzle-like feel to the gameplay. I found myself piecing together how to get myself to where I wanted to be, and exactly when I wanted to be there. While I can see this game taking a supreme amount of effort to master, I can also see it being extremely rewarding to do so.
And because you can see everything that is taking place before it happens Phantom Brigade doesn’t cut the player any breaks. Friendly Fire is on, so make sure you time when you are shooting properly. Also, colliding with other vehicles will result in damage taken and mechs getting thrown around the battlefield.
Buildings also create another wrinkle in your time measurements. During my demo I targeted an enemy, only thinking about where he would be when I started shooting. Once things were in motion I quickly found the vast majority of my fire being eaten by a large, intervening building. I was told that if structures suffer enough damage they will fall, damaging any combatants close by.
I was also told that all the mechs in the game will be fully customizable. Players will be able to alter gear, as well as weapons when playing through the game’s campaign.
The graphics in Phantom Brigade function well to represent what is transpiring on the battlefield. While they are not going to blow anyone away they do a great job of relaying the various bits of information the player needs to plan their strategy. Movement lines are clearly marked and cones clearly present fields of fire from the various combatants.
I enjoyed my brief time with Phantom Brigade and while I was still striving to master the intricacies of the game’s strategy I could already appreciate the rewards that the game promised. Getting to sit back and watch as a well-planned turn plays out in front of you feels like it will be a delight.
Phantom Brigade releases in 2020 for PC.