Developer: TACS Games
Publisher: TACS Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Strategy, Simulation, Puzzles & Board Games
Release Date: 30th of November, 2017 (EU) & 7th of December, 2017 (EU & NA)
Time to take out the galactic amorphous trash.
For the lovers of strategy turn-based action who want to play a game that isn’t the colossal success of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which debuted earlier this year, a new alternative has presented itself, by the name of TACS Game’s ACORN Tactics. Only, if you thought Rabbids were weird, then get ready to see Rabbids in a different light because ACORN Tactics has plenty of odd and bizarre enemies of its own. Weird enemies aside, although it shares a genre with Mario + Rabbids, the two can’t be any more different as for one, ACORN Tactics has you defend outposts, which are getting invaded by green gelatinous blobs from space.
These alien creatures don’t say much. but they can deal considerable amounts of damage and havoc, so being the threat that they are, and the fact they are commanded by the evil King Blob, it is down to you and the Alien Counter Offensive Response Network (ACORN for short,) to destroy them. To defeat these menacing green blobs, you need to arm with yourself with fun little buildable and customisable walking tanks. These walking tanks come in three different classes: snipers, machine guns and shotguns. All these can be used effectively but it does depend on distance and how much damage you want to deal to maximise your output. Oh, purely because I didn’t say it before when I mentioned customisation, ACORN Tactics does a Death Squared and lets you put various hats on your mechs. Most don’t look right, but if they did, it might not have been as fun as it is now.
With regard to the single player campaign, it spans across 25 replayable uniquely hand-crafted levels with dialogue to explain what’s going on and drive the story. However, I feel the text part of it, is just too overwhelming and I just often skipped as much as possible, wherever possible, as fast as I could because it all just feels unnecessary and that there’s too much of it. Worse yet, the very same dialogue and cut-scenes will always play out, every time you replay one of the 25 levels and while the cut-scenes can be skipped outright, the text must still be endured. Furthermore, there’s no real clear direction for the story, but then story is never really the reason you play a turn-based game anyway, as the most important thing with turn-based games is gameplay.
On the subject of gameplay, it is quite slow, to say the least and frustrating, as you’ll find yourself just getting annoyed when enemies attack you, when you’ve just placed your tanks. Granted enemies only attack you, if they can see you, which may seem like a great idea but it’s really not. Normally this just makes you go to them and the maps can be quite big so if you start on one side and all the enemies are on the other it takes forever just for the fighting part of the game to occur. Also, when you do eventually reach them, the enemies always attack you first so it just feels convoluted having to travel to them to just be attacked before you can act. But if the main campaign is not to your liking, you can always take the custom team you’ve created and try your hand at completing new randomly generated missions.
As for the graphics, they are decent and portray what the developers want them to clearly highlight, very well and get the job done, but I wouldn’t say they are amazing. Although a design aspect of the game I do like, is the ability to customise your tanks as you can change the colours of the different parts and make them colour match the Joy-Con Controllers you happen to be playing with at the time. Just don’t go expecting to have everything available from the get-go as there are plenty of mech upgrades and unlockables, which can be earned via completing certain missions and then utilised via the Research lab. Also, it doubles as the place to go to change your weapon classes.
The bizarre thing with ACORN Tactics though, is when buying anything in the game, you don’t know the cost of anything, which was really weird. You get your currency from winning your missions. Sure you always seem to get just enough to always be able to buy the mysteriously priced items and mechs, but again, you never know how much something costs, until after you’ve purchased it. To try and make up for this weirdness though and to complement the game’s design and action, is the music. The music is good although it can also be very boring and repetitive in the way you just want to turn it off as it just becomes a monotone string of sounds, after hearing it over and over again on a loop.
That’s not the worst of it though, as sound effects feel like they are out of some weird Wii game where the characters don’t speak but just mumble a bunch of random sound effects instead. Speaking of the sound effect mumbling characters, they have some of the most unfinished designs I have seen in a video game. To start it off, not one single character has a mouth or eyes and yet, some of them have glasses and mouth masks and sure this may be an intended design direction, but it’s a little too weird for my taste.
Feeling like a game that is unfinished in some areas of the game, long drawn-out action that takes forever to start and enemies that look like something you’ll find on a plate in your fridge, ACORN Tactics is just not a turn-based game that justifies walking away from Mario + Rabbids. ACORN Tactics didn’t need to be better than the Ubisoft developed title, just offer something worth experience, which sadly it doesn’t, as ACORN Tactics is mediocre at best. Or to put it more simply, it’s only a game you’ll want to play if you’re a dedicated fan for turn-based strategy games and want another game of the same genre to play, because if you aren’t, there’s no reason as to why you should pick it up, as it won’t be something you will enjoy.
THE VERDICT: 6/10
*Review Key Provided by TACS Games
This post was written by Marcus_Sellars