Steam Tactics (Xbox One) Review

A tactical RPG for any skill level, Steam Tactics simplifies gameplay with speedy battles and an ever increasing leveling system. As a $10 digital download, there is enough here to please longtime fans of the genre but welcome tactical newcomers.

There are some obvious callbacks to the Star Fox series as the main anthropomorphic dog character looks like Fox McCloud and there is a right hand man frog character that is basically Slippy Toad. While the animal characters and plot act as a glue linking each battle, the star of the show are the grid based combat scenarios.

Like any TRPG, the player taps a unit, can move to any tile within range, and then execute an attack. The difference here is that most battles only take about 1 minute to complete as there are only a few units to manage, with each falling after an attack or two. Eventually battles grow a bit in size towards the end of the campaign but the focus is always on quick gameplay.  It is also up to the player to equip each air craft with specific weaponry that can only attack in specific directions. For example, one gun might shoot two tiles ahead in all four cardinal directions but another might only shoot at angles or directly in front of the craft. Due to the weapon system, battles are essentially Chess matches mixed with Rock/Paper/Scissors weaknesses. Other than the occasional asteroid in the way, terrain isn’t much of a concern either.

Each battle earns experience points that are used to buy new weapons and level up. These constant unlocks and upgrades make the gameplay loop addicting. There will be times the player will run into a higher difficult spike, simply being out leveled by the opponent, but then older stages can be replayed to grind for XP.  Since most battles are over before you know it, grinding is almost painless. There is also a benefit in replaying old stages as new difficulties are unlocked. Each new tier also yields new rewards which are used to level up and upgrade even further.

This is another Sometimes You title through and through. If you are unfamiliar with their library, there is a cohesion between all their titles – they are designed to be played in very short bursts but often provide deep but simplified systems to keep players engaged. Steam Tactics might not visually look like other titles they released but it definitely plays like one and this is a good element to note.

SCORE: 7.5/10

Also Try: Fire Emblem Heroes (Mobile)  
Don’t Forget About: Star Fox Command (DS)
Wait For It: Space War Arena (Switch eShop)

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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