It’s hard to describe this game without sounding like you’ve been beamed in from some distant, bizarre future, but here it goes: The Machines is a new multiplayer online battle arena game (or MOBA, as the cool kids say) in which you direct robot factions in firefights that unfold right in front of you through Augmented Reality – AR.
Let’s reverse up a bit and explain, then. Creator Directive Games has made a new battler which takes advantage of the most futuristic tech on offer right now: Unreal Engine 4, Metal 2 and ARKit. It all combines to create a game which looks like it might have been crafted a home console, except the action is playing out in your living room through your iPhone or iPad.
You can’t help but gasp at the detail and fidelity of the visuals when you zoom and pan around your first AR battle – trouble is, you’re in charge of these hulking great robots too, so you’d best concentrate and not just stand there agog. It takes canny strategy and a keen understanding of your units’ strengths and weaknesses to take out your opponents’ portals and base, but the action isn't so intense that you can’t also move around to marvel at the futuristic battlefield in front of you.
AR technology adds a completely new dimension and depth to gaming.
Atli Mar Sveinsson, CEO of Directive Games
You can battle opponents online, of course, but The Machines’ creators also hope real face-to-face battles become a big part of the experience too, in the same way board games bring people together (except with The Machines it’ll feel a million times more futuristic).
It also has a single-player mode useful for practice sessions. With continued play you can unlock more robots and perks to deploy on the battlefield. Developer Directive is already planning tournament modes, too, so it’s not merely a technical showcase; games in this genre are famed for their stupendous depth and long-term appeal.
The Machines has only just launched, of course, but tie all we’ve described into a neat bow and you’ve got one of the most fascinating new games to have arrived on the App Store in a long time.