Battlecruisers, the explosive strategy game from Mecha Weka, has won second place in the annual Kiwi Game Starter awards by the New Zealand Game Developers Association. Started seven years ago, the competition offers prizes of mentorship from gaming industry experts, plus $25,000 for the winners and $10,000 for the runners up.
Editor’s Note: Check out our full review of Battlecruisers!
Four finalists from around New Zealand were selected from dozens of entries based on their originality, technical / creative innovation, and commercial prospects: Battlecruisers by Mecha Weka, Ghostvale by Wildflower, Rose & Locket by Whistling Wizard, and Seedlings by Bardsley Creative. The finalists faced tough questions against the expert judges Jason Della Rocca (Co-founder of Execution Labs), Vee Pendergrast (Operations Manager at CODE), and Andrew Cushen (Deputy CEO at InternetNZ).
“They were all really, really, really high quality this year,” said Lucas Haley, a board member of the NZGDA. “The judging team did have a difficult job ahead of them. [Battlecruisers] was highlighted by the team for its engaging gameplay and its retro vibe.”
“This is a huge honour for us. And we didn’t even have to bribe anyone!” said Peter Casale, Creative Director at Mecha Weka, when Battlecruisers was announced as runner up during the livestream announcement. “We can use this money and this mentorship to develop a whole lot of new toys, new features, new levels, and keep our community engaged.”
Battlecruisers launched in early February on STEAM (PC), iOS (iPad), and Android (tablet) to strong user reviews: 104 players (89%) rate the game as ‘Very Positive’, which triggered a feature placement on STEAM’S New and Trending homepage category.
On mobile platforms, iOS players rate the game at 4.6 out of 5 stars (86 reviews), and Android players rate it at 4.7 out of 5 stars (44 reviews). Battlecruisers was also selected by Apple Editors for a coveted feature placement in the App Store’s Games category for seven days in March, and was ranked at #1 in The Metro’s Best New Mobile Games in February 2021.
Following the launch success, the team at Mecha Weka released a Skirmish Mode update for unlimited replayability. They’re now working to localise Battlecruisers in six more languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese) as well as release 25 new levels across all platforms, estimated for completion this year. Future development plans include releasing a smartphone version on iOS and Android, opening up Battlecruisers to another 2.2 billion gamers worldwide who spent $76.6 billion on mobile games in 2020.
“Getting runner up in KGS is huge for us,” said Felix Man, co-founder of Mecha Weka. “When we started working on Battlecruisers four years ago, I never dreamed we’d be here. Then we launched to some amazing reviews and it finally felt real, like our indie game might have a chance. After speaking to the judges we realised there’s still so much we don’t know, and we’re just a small way up this enormous mountain. But now we have mountain guides! And we’re super excited to be able to work with them on Battlecruisers.”
“With the help of our judges and our community sponsors, the NZGDA is proud to support the next generation of game developers through the Kiwi Game Starter competition,” said Chelsea Rapp, NZGDA Chairperson. “Early-stage funding is key to building a thriving game development community, and this year’s competition has been proof of the incredible talent and originality that we have here.”