Before PlayStation or Xbox were a thing, upgrading your PC was a viable option, had to buy some expensive video cards to enjoy a game or before the Internet was available at your home. Hell, even before games in CD-Roms, I used to play games on PCs too. Man, how I loved to play strategy games in my (now ancient) Win 95 PC. Command and Conquer, Age of Empires and Warcraft were some of the most desired games of that age which I could (barely) run them in my 14″ monitor. And now, here I am with 8-Bit Armies from the American studio Petroglyph Games, a fast-paced strategy game that captures the nostalgia of these old strategy games I loved so much and puts it in a modern game with a good retro feeling. Take your army to victory after reading our review.
What do you do?
8-Bit RTS Series is a series (duh!) of fast-paced strategy games which contains three titles: 8-Bit Armies, 8-Bit Hordes and 8-Bit Invaders. The first title available, 8-Bit Armies involves the battle between Guardians and Renegades, two factions with inspiration in actual technology (when we think about what kind of units they use). When the other two becomes available, the three games will have cross-play, putting your Armies against knights and aliens. Think about it like Command &, Conquer, Warcraft and StarCraft are throwing a party and this party is going to be hot!
What is Good?
- Visuals: 8-Bit Armies has simple but colorful and beautiful 8-bit 3D graphics… ‘Wait a minute: how can they have 8-bit 3D graphics?’, you may be wondering. I’ll tell you: the idea behind it is like their 3D models for buildings come to life from 8-bit NES game elements turning into 3D models but with a modern treatment. The result is beyond curious: it’s great! Some elements seem to preserve more of the classic aspect of 8-bit games, like your tiny soldiers, but the overall experience is quite pleasant to your eyes.
- Gameplay: Strategy games always (and it’s a statement: always) lose to PCs in terms of gameplay. The combination of keyboard plus mouse has always been superior to joysticks. Halo Wars came to life and proved strategy games could also be enjoyed with an Xbox controller. And I dare to say 8-Bit Series goes further, making things easier and even more accessible. You can select the buildings to create or units to train with the bumpers, which brings a radial menu for you to select from. When training units, you may assign them for the buttons X, Y or B for quick management. Units can be queued for production and will be trained as long as you have resources. Their training costs resources, which can be extracted in special locations of the map (indicated by the $) and processed in refineries. Your buildings cost these same resources, but they also cost power to stay functional. This energy can be obtained from special buildings, the power plants, so always pay attention to the energy levels of your base not to be caught with offline defenses because you haven’t built enough of them.
- Strategy: As mentioned above, the game has a low learning curve. But it doesn’t mean it’s shallow on strategy: units have different styles of damage and armor, so every unit becomes more effective or weaker against some sort of enemy. For instance: vehicles are good against machine gunners while weak against rocket infantry, who are ineffective against these same machine gunners. Having specialized squads or mixed squads can both be good options, depending on what they’re fighting against. Always have it in your mind before sending an all-out strike against the enemy.
- Game Modes: Beyond the campaign, which can be played in both sides of this war, the Rebels and the Guardians with many missions each, you can play the campaign in online co-op, the good and old skirmish and online multiplayer up to 6 players.
- Campaign progress: In the campaign, you must accomplish missions which grant you up to three stars, which one (bronze, silver and gold) related to a specific objective. By accomplishing them, you can start the next missions you play with more resources and more units. Some of them seem impossible to accomplish in the allowed time. But don’t worry: as you unlock new units to be used in campaign after each mission, you may need to go back a few levels to accomplish those seemly impossible missions with more advanced units. Although it prolongs the lifespan of the game, this back and forth becomes tiresome after some time.
What is Bad?
- Game length: The game is too short. One of the shortest titles from the developer. In less than 4 hours, you can fully complete the game. And, except for the level select, which helps you go after the achievements you may have missed. And that’s all.
RTS 8-Bit Series: 8-Bit Armies [Score: 76/100]: RTS games are usually considered a niche genre and, to prove them wrong, 8-Bit RTS Series is a good option for those willing to try something new. With a low learning curve, a simple but challenging gameplay, every player will easily understand its mechanics and enjoy it. Choose your faction and get into the battlefield, commander. Your troops are waiting for your orders.