Tiny Troopers PC Review
Quite a few games have an iOS port now – some that work and some that just feel plain wrong – but I was interested to see just how well a game like Tiny Troopers could work with its touch screen revoked. Having been incredibly popular on the platform, it’s no wonder why Tiny Troopers now has a PC/Mac version. But does it feel right on PC?
Tiny Troopers takes a comical approach to desert warfare with its miniature characters and high-pitched voices, but its general underlying rule is just like any other war game: kill all enemies. Other objectives are also given such as to destroy all enemy vehicles or buildings, protect journalists, or complete an assassination. Missions vary mostly, however, by their terrain.
In a lot of ways, it’s like a game of the classic Worms or Hogs of War, but without the turn-based system. Your enemy will generally wait patiently for you, and using your map, you must plan your approach into enemy territory wisely. As you progress through the campaign mode, your soldiers will level-up with every mission that they survive. One thing that makes Tiny Troopers interesting is that even with your higher-ranked squad and a stash of weapons in reserve, a single tank blast, unseen land mine or unnoticed frag grenade can end it all – even on the easiest difficulty. Your team always groups together (unless a soldier gets stuck behind something), so what could kill a single person will often kill them all, and once they die, they never come back. You’re then given some new, low-ranked soldiers which you must then gradually level up again.
Before each mission you are given a chance to upgrade your equipment and recruit extra soldiers. All of these upgrades require CP or Career Points that can be acquired by killing enemies, completing objectives and collecting items such as dog tags or weaponry. Medals can also be found out on a mission and are often well-guided. These can then be used to buy new training, giving your characters an increase in accuracy, power and health, and also increases the minimum rank for new soldiers.
When using CP to recruit extra troops, you have a range to pick from that are slowly unlocked as you progress through the campaign. You start with a basic marine, but soon unlock new classes such as a medic, heavy machine gunner, and others that start with special weapons. However, these troops aren’t cheap.
There are three types of special weapons that can be found during missions, either purchased or dropped by enemies. Grenades are the most basic, cheap special weapon with a fairly small area of effect and do little damage to vehicles. Moving up in power, you then have a rocket launcher that will take out any vehicle in a single shot and can be much more accurate than a grenade. Finally, you have air strikes, much more powerful and accurate than either of the other weapons, but can be very rare to find or expensive to buy.
I haven’t played the iOS version of Tiny Troopers, but you can tell it was designed as such. You control your troops with mouse clicks: left-click to move to and right-click to shoot. These seemingly simple controls take a lot of getting used to. First of all, you can’t simply select an enemy to focus your attacks on whilst moving your characters. Now, this is perfectly acceptable because aiming yourself is what it’s all about. What I found frustrating is how the troops would stop moving once they reached their destination, meaning that you then have to stop shooting, pick a new direction for them to run in, and then begin firing again. By the time you kill an enemy, it’s time to move your people again. You really need to keep your soldiers moving because even on the easiest difficulty you soldiers can die in a matter of seconds or instantly when faced with dynamite-throwing enemies. Like I said previously, your characters die forever, and keeping them alive becomes your main objective.
What makes the movement even more frustrating is the camera angle. The way the camera looks down on the players at an angle means you can see much further forward when traveling north than you can when traveling south. And on top of that, you have a large section on the HUD directly in the centre at the bottom of your screen, meaning that you can only run a few metres at a time. I made it my own objective to reach the bottom section of the map in the safest way possible before I even began to complete my objectives because I was sick of losing levelled-up marines to enemies I couldn’t even see. You can find Intel that shows your enemies and vehicles on your map, but they still need to be visible for you to even target them.
Moving on, most of the missions are good fun and clearly well-designed. I will state that I started out playing on the hardest difficulty, but slowly lowered it towards the end as it became incredibly difficult – and I don’t say that lightly! The last few missions of the second chapter, for example, led up to killing an important, high-ranked enemy. You start with securing a few local villages in the snowy mountains, kill the target’s doppelgangers, and finally assassinate the main target in a small base guarded by snipers (possibly my favourite set of enemies), dynamite throwers and many soldiers. Oh, and vehicles. And land mines…
Despite all of the bloodshed and loss of soldiers you may become fond of (Major Noob and Private Pyle were two of my best), Tiny Troopers is a cute little war game that takes me back to my Hogs of War playing days, what with the patriotic music and funny comments. I enjoyed it, and out of curiosity, I may even go and buy the iOS version too! Does it feel right? No, not particularly, but it’s still a fun game overall. Granted, there are some issues that become particularly annoying at certain stages, but I would still recommend it as a good way to spend around six hours.