8-Bit Armies from Petroglyph Games is essentially Command and Conquer for iPad savvy toddlers.
Having been a fan of the RTS genre for quite a long time, my interest was piqued.
I wasn’t really expecting much from anything with 8 bit in the name and boy were my suspicions correct. This appears to be a fairly lazy game with very little in the way of challenge or depth.
8-Bit Armies Review
The player is tasked with choosing a faction between The Guardians and The Renegades.
This will determine the campaign parameters and unit types available for the player. It also dictates the overall location of the campaign; city style for renegades, and swampy jungle for guardians.
Graphically the game is Minecraftesque with blocky models and as the title suggests “8-bit” aesthetics. It just feels hastily done and lazy though. A more polished or even cartoony vibe to this game would have nudged this title into the ‘sightly appealing’ category, but alas.
The Guardians have a much higher tech focus than the renegades. The former having drones and the like while the latter are able to field cheap units en mass.
It’s a nice feature but it fixes an issue I didn’t really have. Regardless of which army you choose, destruction through overwhelming force is the key to victory.
The age-old mechanic of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ is also included in 8-Bit Armies. Some units are better against some, worse against other and it does provide a tactical element in the later game, when aircraft and stealth units become available to the player. However, after slogging through the basic premise time after time they are quickly dispatched.
Gameplay wise this title is very simple. Build your base structures which will unlock your tech trees for varied unit production. These are concepts familiar to any RTS player ever.
8-Bit Armies includes a simple point and click interface for simplicity — select your units usually assigned to Square, Triangle and Circle — use the left stick to scroll to the desired area and click X to initiate. Easy peasy.
There’s very little in the way of story and flavour in 8-Bit Armies. There are no cutscenes and what little story there is, is told through scrolling text. The AI is woeful too. I simply mosied units through my enemy’s forward scouts having minimal damage inflicted on me and proceeded to rush their base and win.
Maybe too simple
Even on the defensive missions where the player is instructed to ‘Holdout’ for a length of time the game is too easy. I fortified my base with turrets and mass infantry, put my controller down, went and made a coffee and watched the time tick down.
Any sense of challenge and desire to be present was gone after that.
There are multiple objectives per level which may appeal to the completionist and gold star hunter inside you, but simply achieving the minimum bronze tier objective will advance the game to the next stage.
As I said before, this game would suit a child playing on a tablet as I doubt it would hold an adults attention for any length of time. Especially when other more interesting and varied titles exist, Boom Beach anyone?
This game is more backwater base quartermaster than frontline fighter, but I guess the saying rings true; ‘War is hell.’
In this case, it’s the boredom, not bullets that’ll kill ya.
8-Bit Armies was reviewed on PS4 and Xbox One using digital codes provided by the developer.
Game Title: 8-Bit Armies
Dire AI - 3.2/10
Not very fun - 4.4/10
Lackluster All Round - 4.5/10