Version Reviewed: 1.1.5
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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Every once in a while I like to dive into a weird European game. If you do too, look no further than RESCUE: Heroes in Action from rondomedia. This German developer has created a real-time strategy game where players control firefighters as they put out fires, axe down doors, and save citizens. Although it has a fair amount of jank, it's still a fun and challenging experience.
Players select scenarios within one of three environment types (Suburbs, Urban central, or Industrial district) and have to use their skills to make sure they manage their water tanks and move quickly enough to remove threats, put out fires, and save lives. To do this they need to tap and drag paths for firefighters and firetrucks to follow along with tapping the appropriate command when a unit is near an interactive object.
After completing missions, players earn money that they can use to upgrade firefighters and trucks to make them more durable and efficient in subsequent missions. Considering the difficulty curve, upgrading the right things at the right time is pretty crucial. Luckily, Heroes in Action provides suggested upgrades for each mission and allows players to prepare adequately. And if there's ever an upgrade that's too expensive, replaying missions can grant additional money.
While dragging paths sounds simple, things in Heroes in Action get a lot more complicated when under pressure. At the start of every level players have the luxury of being able to assess a scene while it's paused, but once they hit the start button there's no stopping to queue up actions or take a closer look at things - even if new situations develop. This helps to make Heroes in Action feel a bit more realistic, but considering some of the control issues it's also a bit frustrating.
The main source of frustrationcomes directly from the controls. It seems as though there's no pathfinding, so players can only draw paths for firefighters and trucks that they can actually follow. As a result, if there's a piece of debris or a tree in the way of a path being drawn, it'll be blocked and they'll have to either wiggle a path through the obstruction or redraw everything. This wouldn't be as big a problem if selecting units wasn't as difficult as it is, though this could also be a problem that's also exacerbated by playing on a phone instead of a tablet.
Heroes in Action also has some other idiosyncrasies that could be interpreted as endearing or undesirable, depending on the player. Things like all firefighters having gruff male voices (including women), overall clunky writing, and the translation of everything except the firetrucksfrom German to English all communicate the level of polish in the game's localization, for better or for worse.
RESCUE: Heroes in Action is a solid game with one significant problem and a few minor ones. Itcaptures the intensity of working as a firefighter, but sometimes it adds unneeded pressure from its unrefined control scheme.