App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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War is Hell. In the video game world, sometimes it can be cute. Tiny Troopers aims for the cute but it can also be quite Hellish, effectively combining the two elements. Ordinarily I’d call that a plus, but this can be Hellish for all the wrong reasons.
Tiny Troopers is a game without much of a story to tell. Players take their small squad of troops from mission to mission, performing typical errands like VIP protection, survival, and enemy clearing with very little in the way of exposition. Save knowing that the other guys are Bad. Soldiers who survive a mission gain experience and will eventually rank-up, but one time use power-ups and Specialists can also be purchased/hired to give players even more of an edge. These can be essential in some cases as a soldier’s death is permanent, so it’s best to keep them alive or risk starting from something close to square one.
The action and controls in Tiny Troopers are simple and satisfying. Tapping anywhere on the screen will create a waypoint for the squad to move to while tapping on enemies will unleash a hail of bullets in their direction. Special items such as grenades or bazookas can also be purchased mid-mission using Command Points saved or earned through various means (completing objectives, killing enemies, finding dog tags, etc) for a temporary boost. Rounding out the list is the ability to replay completed missions for bonus Command Points with no permanent risk to the soldiers. It’s a great way to save up for some much-needed defense or attack buffs as the campaign gets tougher.
While the Roguelike approach to soldier’s is interesting in theory, it’s kind of obnoxious in practice. They only actually gain experience in the campaign, but campaign levels can’t be replayed from within, so it’s a constant push forward. Once they kick the bucket they’re gone for good, but the rookies can’t run through earlier stages to pad their levels a little. Not a good combination. This is made all the more frustrating when an entire squad gets wiped out by a single tank shell because they decided to stop on the middle of the battlefield for no reason.
Tiny Troopers is fun in small doses and has the makings of a pretty cool casual war game. It’s just that the soldiers’ movements aren’t entirely accurate. An issue that doesn’t go well with permadeath. It’s certainly entertaining in its own way, but requires a lot of patience to get anywhere.
Tagged with: $2.99, abstract strategy, action, Action Game, Chillingo, strategy, Tiny Troopers, war, war game