Konstantin Koshutin’s stratospherically gorgeous action-strategy HighFleet begins its campaign later this month on Steam.
A wonderfully tactile war sim, I’ve had my eyes on HighFleet’s burning skies for some time. You’re in command of a massive, airborne imperial war machine, recruiting and refuelling across the country and staving off attacks from nippy rebel forces. Battles play out as pseudo-strategy affairs, directly attacking with your flagship as you deploy smaller craft to fight for you.
What really sells it is the presentation. UI elements are represented with in-fiction knobs and levers, battles playing out on fuzzy analogue screens that flicker and shake and bloom with each missile strike. Fraser took a look at HighFleet earlier this year, and while he found the game’s densely layered systems could be a bit daunting, this physical, diegetic interface helped bring the entire beautiful mess together.
“When you want to drop your ships into a city, for instance, you have to yank a lever, and you can use your compass, ruler, pencil and eraser to chart your course on the map display. It’s a bit imposing, but it also begs to be played with, and this is one place where the tactile nature of the game really works to its advantage. The sound effects then elevate the fantasy of being in command of this fleet of steel titans.”
HighFleet is coming to Steam on July 27.