A tactics style roguelike mecha RPG. It’s the third game in the GearHead series, but new players should be able to dive right in.
In-Game Background story
NT157 has been a bad year pretty much all over the solar system. Typhon, a powerful biomonster created during the age of superpowers, awoke from hibernation and rampaged across the Joseon green zone of Earth. On Luna, the totalitarian Aegis Overlord government destroyed the last remaining city-domes that resisted their authority. The L5 space colonies continue to fight amongst themselves while Kosaka Station tries to keep the conflict from erupting into all-out war. And to top everything off, lead singer Tai of the cyberpop band Love Magnet just announced on thrunet that they’re splitting up. Welcome to the slightly broken world of GearHead.
The player takes the role of a cavalier, a mecha piloting adventurer. You will be able to take a wide variety of missions, recruit new lancemates for your party, upgrade and/or replace your mecha, solve puzzles, and get involved in local problems just like a wandering adventurer should. There is both personal and mecha scale combat. Characters can progress through a series of adventure modules set at different times and places in the GearHead universe.
Currently, there are two adventure modules. In Winter Mocha, your character has been invited to a charity mecha tournament at the newly built Mauna Arena. This was the original proof of concept scenario for GearHead Caramel and is pretty short. In DeadZone Drifter, you help a deadzone community to get a new power station, which ends up being much harder than it sounds. This scenario is longer and takes at least several hours to play through. A third module is currently in development.
The game makes extensive use of procedural story generation, meaning that each playthrough should be different from the last. Dynamic text generation is used to make sure each character, including the player character, speaks with a different voice. NPCs can have different relationships with the PC and remember your past interactions.
The mecha build system is very detailed and allows the creation of many kinds of machine. There is a mecha editor which can be used in-game to customize your party’s meks, or used out of game to create your own mecha designs.
The character system is also highly detailed. You make a character by selecting their lifepath. There are nine combat skills and a variety of specialist skills. Since no character can do everything, you will probably want to seek out lancemates who have the skills you lack. Also, characters can be upgraded with cyberware. Portraits are dynamically generated and can be edited by the player.
Characters can be imported from GearHead 1. The ability to import GearHead 2 characters is planned; I haven’t added it yet because the two current adventure modules take place before GearHead 2.
GearHead Caramel is highly moddable. Users can create their own mecha, add their own portrait bits, and even write their own adventures. The game is open source and written in Python.
About the Developer
Polar Bear Games is a solo dev originally from Newfoundland in Canada, but he’s been living in South Korea since 1998. In addition to programming games, he’s also a cartoonist.
Release date & platforms
GearHead Caramel is available now, with two complete adventure modules to play. The game is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux; it should be possible to play on any computer that supports Python 3.7+ and PyGame2.