App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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You can probably guess this from the name alone, but Tacticool is a multiplayer shooter filled with tons of lame baditude. The game’s initial loading screen has a play on Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” with dudes in tactical gear, you can get killstreak badges that look like the grim reaper, and if you do well in a match you get a “badass" bonus. As much as this stuff might make you roll your eyes, there’s actually something to Tacticool’s gameplay that makes putting up with its weak edginess feel worth it, at least up to a point.
In a lot of ways, Tacticool resembles Call of Duty. It’s a fast-paced multiplayer shooter where teams of five players use modern military weaponry to frag each other until one team reaches a certain kill threshold or time runs out. Also like CoD, you earn experience for just about everything you do, and filling up your experience bar grants you currency and access to all sorts of new weapons, gear, and characters that you can use to customize the ways you’ll kill players in subsequent matches.
One key difference between something like Call of Duty and Tacticool though is the game’s perspective. In Tacticool, the game camera hovers over your player character from above, giving you a really good sense of everything in your immediate surroundings, but limiting your view into the distance. As it turns out, the use of this overhead view is one of the key ingredients to Tacticool’s success.
Tacticool’s isometric viewpoint--plus its really smart (though not wholly original) auto-firing control scheme--still gives the game the feeling of a shooter, but one that relies much more on positioning and smart teamwork than being able to line up a headshot faster than someone else. If you enter engagements seeing enemies are grouped together, you better have a grenade or some backup or you’re toast. Similarly, if you see a sniper in the distance and you don’t have a way to close on them under cover, stay away.
These little tactical nuances would all be for naught if it weren’t for Tacticool’s smart map design. Although there aren’t a ton of maps in the game currently, each one is impressively sprinkled with choke points, higher ground, and other strategically significant terrain.
Kill until you can’t
Tacticool very much looks like it might be yet another brainless run-and-gun experience, but actually manages to layer in just enough depth and complexity that it feels like a fully satisfying (though still lite) multiplayer shooter experience on mobile. Or, at least, it feels this way when you first start playing.
Tacticool is a free-to-play game, after all, and its model is one that relies on leveling, gacha mechanics, and premium currency to determine what things you might have access to at any given time. Depending on how it’s designed and who you are, this kind of design might not seem like a big deal. For me, Tacticool’s free-to-play design is almost fine, but there are guns in the game that are exclusively available for purchase using premium currency, which gives anyone playing the game for free a distinct disadvantage. I don’t even care that I never once saw any of these guns being used in my time with Tacticool. The idea that someone can buy an advantage over someone else in a competitive game ruins its balance. Full stop.
The bottom line
Tacticool has a pretty lame tone to it, and its free-to-play design is kind of messed up, but the game itself still manages to be surprisingly fun. Without paying, you can have a good amount of fun here with the game’s tactical gameplay. That said, if you plan to put any serious amount of time into Tacticool at all, be prepared to spend money if you want to stay competitive.