It’s not very often I would ever dream of starting off a review this way, but I am going to go on record with this opening statement; 8-Bit Armies is the most fun you will probably have with your pants on! If you’re the type of gamer who still lives in your mom’s basement, then its the most fun you will ever have at all.
But what is 8-Bit Armies about I hear you ask? It’s a real-time strategy game developed by Petroglyph Games, which was initially released on April 22, 2016 for Microsoft Windows and only very recently on the major consoles by SOEDESCO.
It’s fast paced and built using a fantastic retro feel to the graphics and gameplay. You start off with a very brief tutorial which is easy to follow and sets you up nicely for the game. The controls are easy to grasp and the entire game is simple enough to master.
The basic idea is to build various buildings which will bring in currency allowing you to then build up a formidable army and attack the enemy. Easy enough I guess, but when you throw into the mix levels that are set around an active volcano, you can’t simply allow your team members to just run and gun the enemy down. You will have to construct vehicles which can tackle the hot lava which your army can get inside and avoid certain death.
Start off and build a refinery to collect oil which is your currency, then build a barracks and motor pool. Once they are built you can then produce your soldiers and any vehicles you need to take on hoards of enemy soldiers and deal with their bases thus winning the levels. You are limited to 100 units on the battlefield, but the feeling of sending 100 infantry toward enemy buildings and throwing grenades is fantastic. That may sound difficult to control so many people, but it really isn’t. When you produce them you assign them to either the Triangle, Square or Circle. When you want them to move you simply press the button they are all assigned to and then press the cross button where you want them to go to and off they toddle. Its very simple and very addictive.
As you progress through the game you unlock more units that you can build and each of the 25 campaign missions come with 3 different levels of difficulty. The harder the difficulty, the more challenges you get to try and complete within each mission which unlocks more items for the game. You can easily play through each level on easy, but you wont unlock much beyond your basic infantry and a couple of vehicles. Also, don’t be fooled by the easy look of the game. The harder difficulties are enough to make it challenging and I found myself getting killed off relatively quickly at first.
The game also comes with 12 co-op missions that you can play online with up to 5 players so there is always plenty to do within the game. Each of the regular missions can be played by either the Guardians or Renegades, but there really isn’t much difference between the 2 factions. Both share the same buildings to build and there are only a few subtle differences in defence towers, vehicles and super weapons, but it’s still fun to play both sides.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again with some games, it’s the little details that make a difference. The look of the game is simple, but when you drive a tank over the terrain you knock over trees or destroy structures that are in your way rather than what you would probably expect from a game like this where the vehicles would have to drive around them. That being said, there is no real depth to managing your buildings and units. You can’t bring up a menu and start researching better things to send out onto the battlefield and I guess that may be a downside to any hardened RTS fans that are out there, but I didn’t miss that from the game; it simply isn’t needed. The game will most certainly appeal to all ages and abilities.
Plus, with all the action you can have going on screen at once, I didn’t notice a drop in framerate, the games engine copes extremely well, so the above mentioned ‘moms basement’ types will have no reason to complain about any technical limitations. I think the game is aimed towards everyone who just wants a bit of fun from an RTS, but with no real story to the game there will be some that complain, but it doesn’t need one. Do you really need to know why you are sending 100 troops into battle to obliterate an enemy? I didn’t.
8-Bit Armies is the first in a series of similar games and I can’t wait to get my hands on the others and bring you my reviews if I can. It’s not often that a game just gets everything right without issue, but Petroglyph Games and SOEDESCO have nailed it on every level and for that reason I can easily give this game a solid 10/10 as I am loving everything about it and will be playing for a very long time to come
**Please note: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game by SOEDESCO and in no way has this swayed my opinion of the game as per our review policies, so please bare that in mind before people start commenting saying that we have been paid to write a good review.. WE HAVEN’T**
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