Are you into Gundam, Macross, or fighting mechs in general? If you are, you may or may not have heard of Project Nimbus, a Kickstarted game by GameTomo. Project Nimbus is a game that features a sizable roster of Battle Frames, mechs that are piloted in fast-paced and highly active aerial combat. Project Nimbus: Complete Edition launched on May 16, 2019 in the Nintendo Switch eShop for only $19.99, featuring new modes that were only available in the Japanese PS4 release: Survival and Warfront.
The backdrop for Project Nimbus follows a familiar wartime one for fans of games or anime revolving around fighting mechs. Here, battles are held in a futuristic setting, hosting a war between three factions: the US-led CFN, the Russia-led UCN, and the Children of Fallen Nations terrorist organization. Campaign mode allows you to play as key pilots from the various factions as you play out their individual story lines in this three-way story. Campaign mode features cutscenes and mid-battle play-by-play story progressions that can enjoyed with either English or Japanese vocals. Between battles, you can dive deeper into character’s motives and mindsets as you can play the optional monologue recording or pre-battle conversions for those parts in the story.
The story itself is ok, with the English voice acting being good enough to move the story and battles along without feeling simply tacked-on. Depending on the intensity of the battle, at least with the default sound settings, there are times where much of the more dramatic mid-battle dialogue is easily overshadowed by the sounds of the battle alone. Although, the hand-drawn characters with overlaying dialogue between some of the missions was a nice touch.
Battle Frames are varied in builds and stats, featuring weapon load-outs that include machine guns, rail guns, missiles, and energy blades to name a few. Despite Battle Frames having legs, the game plays primarily as an aerial shooter, where the player can freely swap between first and third person perspectives. All of the Battle Frames are able to boost for a limited time, where they could use this boost for fast lateral movements or simply just to travel faster. Also available to all of the units are anti-missile flares, which can be used to steer away enemy missiles.
For the bulk of the weapons, air-to-air combat is centered on locking on an opponent and firing at them when the angles and distances are favorable for the weapon you are using. While ammo in the game is infinite, the amount of rounds you can fire off without reloading for any weapon is not. Each weapon has a cool-down for reloading, with reload time varying from weapon type to weapon type. Reloads trigger when a weapon’s clip is empty or manually by the player. While a weapon reloads, you can swap to different weapon and use that while reloading occurs in the background. This allows for a nice constant pace of play, especially during the busier battles.
Autofire guns spray for as long as you hold down the trigger against a locked on opponent. This plays well when you are trying to lay down some counter-fire while circling a target and dodging incoming attacks. Missiles can be fired in chunks, depending on how long you hold the trigger against locked opponents. Fired missiles track opponents, although faster or farther opponents can be trickier to hit with these due to their movement, use of anti-missile flares, or both. Rail guns and cannons, although apparently meant for long distance, seemed to be the most versatile. They not only seem to connect with enemies well, regardless of the distance, but they usually deal a respectable chunk of damage when they did. Whenever I used a Battle Frame that had one of these equipped, I leaned on these weapon types heavily.
Some Battle Frames carry energy swords, which can be used on even semi-close enemies since the Battle Frame automatically zips to the locked-on enemy before taking a swing. Of course, there are also specialized Battle Frames that added some spice and variety to the game play. Some Battle Frames can launch autonomous psychodrones that fight along side you. Others can transform into jets, just like Wing Zero from Gundam Wing, where your Battle Frame can move at boosted speeds with less lateral movement and without wasting “boost energy”.
There is a very nice variety of Battle Frames, weapon loadouts, and play styles to keep you busy through the game’s three modes. The story mode does a good job and tossing you to into the gameplay with the various mech models.
However, the two additional “Complete Addition” modes, Survival and Warfront, provide even more of a sandbox experience for you to try out all of the Battle Frames. Survival Mode allows you to battle endless waves of enemies that increase in difficulty over time. Warfront allows you play through six different mission modes which you to choose from and engage in, over and over again. Here, however, your progress grants you stat points that you can use to level up different aspects of your favorite Battle Frames.
What allows each of these additional modes flourish is that they include the game’s full roster of Battle Frames to you to mess around with.
As far as gameplay goes, Project Nimbus: Complete Edition sports fast-paced and engaging gameplay. During the story, there are plenty of times where screen-filling groups of enemies are firing from all around you, constantly keeping you on the move. The controls take a bit to get used to, especially for the more heavily-armed Battle Frames. There is no real way to jump to your favorite weapon slot, at least not on the Nintendo Switch version. Therefore, Battle Frames with up to five or six different weapons slots can at times have you frantically browsing through your weapon slots while having to dodge waves of attacks.
Most of the Battle Frames are pretty agile, allowing you to dash and strafe in various directions to dodge attacks and fake out enemies. Thanks to the lock-on ability, you get that very Gundam-esque style of dog-fighting where Battle Frames are seemlessly attacking with accuracy while performing the kind of high-speed three-dimensional movements that you would see on the show. I would have liked the ability to shift focus between live enemies without having to drop out and back into lock-on mode. Depending on the difficulty you are playing at, your Battle Frame will automatically lock onto the nearest on-screen enemy after you killed the on you were locked onto. At least that helps to bridge any gaps between attacking multiple opponents as well as maintaining pace of play.
All-in-all, Project Nimbus: Complete Edition is a fun little pick up and play game for $20. While enjoyable, the Campaign mode is pretty much one-and-done once you complete it. The Survival and Warfront modes do a much better job at giving the game some much-needed replay-ability. You have a good collection of Battle Frames to mess around with and the fast-paced action and the self-increasing difficulty of the Warframe mode does a decent job at keeping itself from becoming tedious. Fans of the mecha genre of games or anime would probably have a bit more fun playing this than others, due to nostalgia alone.
Take a look at Project Nimbus: Complete Edition by GameTomo for the Nintendo Switch for yourself here. If you are more curious about playing a game like this on PC, the visually remastered Steam version of the game was also released 10 days later.
† Project Nimbus: Complete Edition review code for the Nintendo Switch, as well as some screenshots, provided by GameTomo PR.