It’s safe to say that the new Kickstarter game Iron Harvest qualifies as an overnight success. The steam punk real time strategy title is off to an incredibly successful start. It has already become one of the best performing Kickstarter campaigns in recent memory, surpassing its funding goal by over $150,000 in two days. A total that still has plenty of time to grow.
Oddly enough, it’s not the first time a property based on the 1920+ universe, created by Polish artist Jakub Rozalski, has enjoyed such success. Previously, Scythe, a board game based on the universe’s artwork, saw similar success, raking in over $1.8 million by the end of its campaign.
Now, not every campaign manages to live up to backer expectations. This is even more true if a project relies on the good graces of an established property’s fandom. As such, we’re here to take a closer look at whether Iron Harvest is worth the hype.
Of Mechs and Men
One of the defining characteristics of the game is its story. A fact which developer, King Art Games plans to prioritize throughout three unique single player campaigns with an overarching plot.
Set in the alternate history of 1920+, the game offers players a world where a fascination with technology led to the creation of bipedal robotics by the early 1900s. These creations proved the go-to weapons in the battles waged during the Great War. At the end of the conflict, the wreckage of these once great machines was left in the hands of those willing to scavenge it from the battlefields.
Based on this premise, players choose from three key factions to play as, each with their own campaign and special characteristics. The Saxony Empire is a heavily industrialized society with high tensions following their loss in the Great War. The Polania Republic is an agricultural nation looking to modernize and defend itself from its aggressive neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Rusviet is a monarchy and home to powerful machines which teeters on the brink of revolution. Each nation’s hero units reflect the state of their faction, ranging from a vengeful old commander to a fiery resistance fighter.
It’s certainly an interesting premise. Each nation takes cues toward their own storyline while breathing life into the concept of Rozalski’s art. Of course, everything hinges on whether the gameplay is up to snuff.
Steam Punk Strategy
As it stands, King Art has released trailers of the current build of the game and the footage looks promising. Units are well detailed and maneuverable, providing a decent amount of potential strategies whether the enemy is a human battalion or a hulking behemoth of iron and steam. Likewise, the balancing provided to the game’s hero units keeps things from becoming lopsided. Legendary units never completely sway the tide of battle without a good plan of attack to follow them up.
King Art said they have completed a working demo for the game. Hopefully this means we’ll get more footage, or possibly some player impressions in the near future.
One concern worth noting is the stretch-goal paywall for a multiplayer component. Currently locked away at $1 million, the campaign asks a high price for a mechanic many gamers have come to expect in PC strategy titles. While it’s an understandably large commitment in terms of development time and resources, a robust multiplayer element would ensuring longterm play and engagement among players.
A Worthwhile Investment
So is Iron Harvest worth the support its found? By most signs, yes. The game has plenty to show for itself, both in terms of gameplay and story. It also lives up to the concept of Rozalski’s art in both those regards. That said, it is still banking heavily on the overwhelming support of 1920+ fans for a key gameplay element. A reward equally matched by its risk of failing.
Regardless, this promising campaign is only just getting started. Iron Harvest deserves to be on the radar of steam punk and strategy fans leading up to its intended Dec. 2019 release on PC.
For more on promising titles from the realm of Kickstarter, check out our coverage of Forgive Me My Henchmen and Once Upon a Coma.