Tiny Metal Review

 

  • Format: PC (version reviewed), PS4, Switch
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Unties
  • Developer: Area 35
  • Players: 1 (online multiplayer will be available soon)
  • Site: http://tinymetal.com/
  • Game code provided by PR

After playing a whole plethora of hyper-realistic games that attempt to mimic real life, having vibrant and stylised games like Tiny Metal is a most welcome breath of fresh air. Tiny Metal is a turn-based strategy war game developed and published by Air 35.  The game takes inspiration from the genius that is Advance Wars, attempting to snatch a little of that genius for itself… but sadly, ultimately fails.

In Tiny Metal, you play as Nathan Greiss, a budding lieutenant from the kingdom of Artemisia, who’s on a mission to find the people responsible for the assassination of Artemisia’s king. The story quickly picks up as you find that the attack is not truly what it appears to be and there’s no doubt that the story, while clichéd, is pretty solid.

It is a hybrid of 2D conversations and 3D combat. The art used for the characters is simplistic and charming, but you won’t have any issues getting a feel for the characters and the story despite the obvious gap between the theme of war, and the cute anime art style (think Pokemon).

tiny-metal-1

Gameplay is pleasantly satisfying and fun. There’s a whole plethora of available vehicles, soldiers, and aircraft that you can use to your advantage. What’s amazing is that each of these assets have clearly defined strengths and weaknesses, all of which you can exploit to your advantage.

The map designs and concept resonate well with the combat mechanics of Tiny Metal. You’re usually unaware of what’s happening anywhere you can’t see, and you’ll need to explore the entire map to find goodies like extra buildings, helipads, and even ledgers which store valuable information about the enemy.

Unfortunately, while the gameplay is theoretically great, the execution is not. In the first hour of playing, you’ll enjoy seeing the enemy movement. You’ll be excited counting how many of your soldiers die to the AI’s attacks and how many your troops kill in retaliation, but keep in mind that Tiny Metal is only around nine hours long (at least for our playthrough).

Constantly seeing every single 3D battle scene quickly makes it annoying and unbearable. You can’t skip them. Not to mention the fact that the game will forcefully show you these scenes every single time a unit attacks. Arguably, half of the time we spent on the game was probably wasted on watching these scenes.

Combat takes a large blow from the AI too. Players can easily run circles around it without breaking a sweat. The AI intelligence is at a level where it isn’t even capable of performing basic combat combos like lock-on and combined attacks, which makes combat boring and predictable. In fact, once you have access to the Striker units, you can easily bait any enemy unit with foot soldiers and it will work Every. Single. Time.

Furthermore, there are small issues that can range from ‘not really important’ to ‘extremely annoying’. First of all, there is no distinction between keyboard and keyboard & mouse control. The mouse cursor will constantly be on your screen regardless of whether you’re using the mouse or not. You can move it to the side, but sometimes it will randomly come back to the middle of the screen and select something you don’t want it to. I accidentally chose the wrong action multiple times because of this. Some voices are also missing from the game. There are instances where there’s still a text bubble, but the character will not utter a word.

Overall, while this is a solid game with fun gameplay, it isn’t without its faults and, unfortunately for Tiny Metal, the faults take a huge toll on the game. The combat becomes boring and slow due to the extremely long conversations during the cutscenes; and once you’re finally in combat, you need to waste even more time watching cutscenes that really should’ve come with an option to turn them off.

Normally we wouldn’t be too hard on a game for minor quirks such as missing voices and other small but obvious errors. However, Tiny Metal has been out since 2017, and these issues still haven’t been fixed. That shouldn’t be discounted from the overall quality of the game.

If you’re not a fan of visual novels or anything that talks at you too much, then Tiny Metal is definitely not for you. However, if you can live through that, then this game can provide you with hours of fun and is probably worth picking up.

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Written by Kate Yap

From the depths of Rapture to the cities Gaia, Kate Yap, has seen it all! Trading in hours of sleep for game time, Kate absolutely does not regret the panda eyes and proudly struts it around like a badge of honor.

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