Creating a game that works on multiple interfaces is a tricky principle. Games like Killzone 3 have been able to mix the use of a standard controller with the implementation of Playstation Move. The trouble is the game was designed to be played on a controller so the Move just felt like an inferior way to play the game and so it fell out of favour with most players.
The developers of Tiny Troopers Kukori faced a similar problem, with a game like this if the controls were broken the game could have easily crashed. Tiny Troopers was originally designed to be played with a touch screen, so a new control scheme would have to be implemented for the game to feel at home on the PC. On its release the game utilised the mouse to act as the player’s finger. You left click on a point and your men will take a path to that point. The mouse also acts as your offensive control allowing you to point and right click to take an enemy out. This system is generally ok but has difficulty when trying to move and shoot (a tip the game gives you). The lack of dexterity meant the game felt more difficult as you relinquished the fine control of players that other titles give you.
An answer came from a request from the games community. After the games release the developer was asked to utilise the keyboard to help give players the extra control they felt they needed. This was done and so now the game has two control schemes. However instead of one being superior to the other I think they just make the game have an extra level of depth.
When you play with the mouse to really play well you have to try to plan ahead making the game feel more like a strategy game with a bit of action mixed in. When using the keyboard the game becomes a top down (well a 45 degree angle down) shooter. The extra control the keys give you takes away a lot of the strategy needed as you are more able to run and gun till your heart’s content. This multiple control scheme base will allow the game to suit the player and broaden its appeal.
This type of community/developer interaction is very welcome and in this case I think it has helped improve the game. Obviously this type of interaction can go too far, but I applaud anyone who is able to make or take constructive criticism to improve a title. Obviously the controls are only part of the story and Tiny Troopers does a good job in the other areas as well.
The start screen throws the cartoony graphics in your face and the game does a good job at holding your attention with the lovable sprites all the way through the game. The backgrounds are not as vivid as the characters but they are in keeping with the general tone of the game. The sound is done well with the characters having high pitched voices and gun fire having softness in keeping with the game. The Camera angle can be a bit annoying when your view is obscured by trees and I wish they could have let you zoom in and out. It would have made the game feel more like a PC title than the port it is.
Games like this are based on quick easy play and loading times are an important part of this. Although you have an equipment screen in-between your mission choice and starting the round you will not spend long in waiting to get to grips with the opposition. This helps make the game great for a quick pick up and play and that is where its strength lies it does not have the depth of Company of Heroes but it does not claim to either. There is basic leveling up of characters as they survive missions and you can use the points earned in missions to buy gear for your next foray onto the battlefield. These help you play with the way you will attack a mission but are not always necessary to use.
The game is split into 30 missions of increasing difficulty when you have completed a mission the next is unlocked. The objectives range from escort missions to wave survival. You are able to replay missions at different difficulty settings as well and this can be a nice chance to go back to improve your scores allowing for extra playtime. It does help the missions feel very similar towards the end but you can easily step away from the game and come back at a later stage and still find enjoyment there.
Tiny Troopers is a great Coffee Break game its fun gameplay linked with its eye pleasing graphics make it a welcome break from work and I would recommend it as a snack in-between bigger game in an instant. It’s sensibly priced (around the £8 mark) and with the prospect of developer support and community integration to come it appears as if the game could have some legs. If you are a story driven player avoid this game as it will be a disappointment but for everyone else it’s worth a look.
Buy It/Don’t Buy It = Buy it
Will you play it 12 months later? = Doubtful unless there is significant community support
Paul Fiander (Wellbeingosteo)
Images courtesy of Iceberg Interactive