“A Boring and Empty Application of Strategy.”
An XboxHornet Review By Liam Jugler.
Before I start the review, I wanted to point out to the studio that their game crashed and caused my Xbox to reset to the dashboard when I tried editing a map. It didn’t repeat but still, wasn’t a good first impression.
This is always the worst, when you go into a game thinking you’re going to love it, but just end up disappointed by it. Little strategy isn’t awful, just boring and empty.
First of all, we’re back to Orcs!-level graphics. Incredibly simple, basic blobs that seem about 4x smaller than they need to be. Given how massively busy this game is at all times, having the ugly art everywhere just exaggerates the problem. The first big turn off was the UI design. It’s a generic jpg of a block of wood for the background. What does wood-texture have to do with strategy? I have no idea, dear reader, answers on a postcard.
Next up is the crippling problem. Good lord this game is boring. It’s way too simple in its mechanics: You have 3 units and 3 buildings; Move them toward the bad guy house. Repeat. Forever. When I got this, I thought it looked complex, deep, or at least Advance Wars-style fun but its absolutely none of those things. I guess if you want to play an objectively worse version of those games, Little Strategy is right up your alley.
Ok, here is the core issue; there is nothing to do in the game. Options, people, options make games. My options every turn in this game are “move Guys” and “build more guys”. I can do 2 things, ever. There is no combat beyond throwing your stack of dudes at the other persons stack of dudes and hoping you had more than him, there is no capturing mechanic, just walk over the thing you want. This also means your choices basically don’t feel like they matter. I didn’t capture that forest, I walked into it and if my enemy does the same? Welp, it’s his. Thanks to this lack of tech, evolution, tactics, combat, terrain and upgrades the only real strategy is Zerg Rush.
4X games are complex beasts and I admire anyone who wants to make a casual version of that genre, but this is like trying to make a casual RPG by porting Progress Quest to Xbox Live. The fun of a strategy game, be it RTS or 4X, Turn based or whatever, is building your forces, planning the perfect assault and fighting off on comers. It is not about tapping ‘End Turn’ and watching your little guys walk for 20 seconds before moving on to the next battle.
The sound design in Little Strategy is awful and adds to the boring atmosphere. You remember in Advance wars when you take a city and it gives a wonderful little Crunching noise? It does that so you feel good about what you did. I don’t actually think there are any really good sound effects in the whole game.
Overall, I’m not sure if this is somebody’s first game or a very incompetent studio. In the case of the former: Hey, don’t take this review to heart too much, you’ve done well getting this far and it’s a fairly neat little toy to show off as a sign of your progress. Keep it up and study a little harder and you could do some neat stuff. In the case of the latter: Stop Making Games.
Game Score: 2/10.
Download a free demo of the game here.