Antisquad Steam Review

Antisquad is a turn based tactical shooter strategy game along the lines of X-Com: Enemy Unknown. There is a lot of style and personality to the game with its characters. There is a bit of skipable dialog before and after each mission. A lot of the fun and challenge comes from the combat. It is a game of chess, 3 troops of your choosing vs a small army. Your troops are just as frail as the enemies. You need to be smarter than their numbers. Enemies become alert when they spot your troops or see their allies die. It feels like a port of a mobile game. Everything is a mouse click, so it feels very click heavy and if you can overlook that, its a great game for its customization and combat.

You have five troops at the start, but you can hire more. The troops are basically a sniper, a scout, a explosives expert, an assaulter (armored weapons melee expert), and a heavy gunner. Each of these troops has two of their own special abilities. One is a special attack like a dart to slow enemies, a knife to break through enemy armor, a grenade to do area damage and the other is a passive skill that lasts a few turns and has a cooldown, such as a smoke screen to hide allies, armor increase to increase the armor of everyone around and so on. Everything your troops do cost ‘action points’ and all characters start out with the same amount of AP. Moving, attacking, using skills and reviving fallen allies cost AP, but for each character, every action costs a different amount of AP. So the scout’s movement costs 6 AP, her attacks cost 12 AP and smokescreen costs 54 AP vs the sniper’s 40 AP attack and 30 AP dart skill. The only thing that doesn’t cost AP are items that you find or buy in the store. If one of your troops has AP remaining after their turn, and an enemy attacks them, they will fight back if they have enough AP. This allows you to let enemies come to you.

Since it is turn based, everyone on your team gets to use all their AP and then everyone on the other team gets to use all of theirs. The game does a good job of showing the distance you can travel with the remaining AP, but shows how much you’ll have left when you’re done traveling and even what distance you need to be in order to attack someone. You will need to double click for most every move, because the first click is just to show what you’ll be doing. Click on an enemy to see their stats and what things you can do to them, double click to attack them. One click to see where you’ll move, the AP you’ll have left and how the enemy will react and double click to move there. You get the idea.

One way the game seems shallow, there’s no sort of hit percentages, fog of war or height advantages like in other games. Its all just flat terrain with objects and walls for cover. There are no destructible environments. Again, its not as deep combat strategy wise as other games. There’s still a lot of depth in upgrades.

Before a mission begins, you can buy items, guns, gear and upgrade each character for a cost. Upgrade their attack damage, movement, armor and so on. Every layer of armor is just an extra hit they can take, such as someone with 3 armor can be shot 3x before it’ll drain their health. Once they’re out of health, they’re down. When they’re down an ally can revive them, but if they aren’t revived in X amount of turns, they’re gone from the mission, but not forever.

The missions have simple objectives, get to here, kill all enemies, blow up this or that. Sometimes you’ll have to push buttons to open doors or operate things to kill enemies. Some of the areas are pretty straight forward, but others allow for flanking and different routes. Each mission feels like a healthy amount of gameplay. Not just that, but when you head into each mission, you chose your difficulty from four difficulties. Its a nice feature and adds replayability to missions when you need to grind for gold to buy upgrades.

So when I say port of a mobile game, to me that would send up red flags of ‘pay to win’ or microtransactions. There seems to be none of that here, all of the gold you get in the game comes from winning (or losing) missions, completing challenges, killing enemies and clicking on them. Yes that’s right you need to click on dead enemies for whatever reason. I guess that prevents wasting turns from touching each one. Some enemies can drop power ups for the mission that you need to have your troops physically collect. Enemies know to collect them instead of you to power up themselves. Other times, you get crates that when you are between missions, you can open them and have random loot. Some games charge you $2.50 to open crates.

In all, the game feels simpler than other tactical turn based games, yet still a lot of fun. The depth comes from the customization. Its a beautiful game to look at and that adds to the enjoyment of the game. It feels polished for a $6 game and I got a lot for my money, even if it is click heavy.

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