Tooth and Tail

Genre: RTS
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: Yes

About The game

To get your attention right away: Tooth and Tail is a competitive indie RTS. The backstory of the game is revolution in an animal world: animals revolt against other animals.

The game essentially addresses the issue with most rts games, where high skill level is necessary to even start thinking about competitive play. The most radical change is that you can’t scroll the map freely. You control a commander unit that you can move directly (keyboard/mouse or gamepad), this unit scouts the map, orders the other units and places buildings. Here’s how it is handled: your initial building, gristmill, has spot for 8 farms. You have 3 farms in the beginning of the game. Each farm costs 60 food to build and produces 1 food per second. As game progresses, new gristmills on the map can be captured.

You can build defensive buildings, new farms or “lairs” for the animals. The lairs automatically produce soldiers (while your supplies last), and you can then order those units around either by commanding them all or by selecting a specific unit type. The unit commands are pretty much straightforward: button click can mean attack, holding the mouse button while highlighting the enemy makes everyone focus it, or running away and keeping the mouse button pressed means your army retreats with you.

In total, there are 15 unit types and 5 defensive buildings. You pick 6 of these in any variation before the multiplayer battle, thus adjusting your strategy for every battle separately.

Pros and Cons

At the state of the previous patch (1.0.3) – on my ranks it felt that the game has the “rush meta” – I could win most games by building small units, but I’ve checked out the tournament videos and they showed much more elaborate plays.
Overall, the game matches are extremely short and intense. I personally never had a game longer than 8 minutes.

The aesthetics are the strong point of the game. The pixel art is cartoonish, but once you think about this, it gets pretty brutal. It is implied that the animals eat meat of others, which adds a cannibalistic feel to the game. Some might tell you: Vladimir, wait a second, in the animal world it’s called “carnivorous”. To that, I can answer: “The animals in the game have anthropomorphic features, so you can’t distance yourself from looking at them from the human angle.” So in the end, the game that is light on the art implies heavier subjects, making a unique dark atmosphere.

The drawback to this is that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between walkable and unwalkable tiles. You’ll be getting stuck with your hero, simply because some places that seem to be passable turn out not (mostly in bushy tilesets, gets quite extreme in singleplayer, especially the mission where you have to free multiple squads of your soldiers).

All maps (even in single-player campaign) are generated randomly. That means that a lot of matches in single-player will be made easier if you get lucky. In competitive you can get screwed because of that, but it surprisingly does not bother you much: first, it teaches you how to adapt better. Second, if you are placed at a worse position than your opponent and lose: no big deal, it only took 5 minutes.

Summary

The strongest point of the game is the entry threshold: if you enjoy watching RTS games, but can’t get into competitive scene because those games require lots of concentration / time to get good, Tooth And Tail might be a good alternative. Since you control one commander, it takes the pressure off micromanaging tons of units / controlling the minimap / bases like crazy. You can start the games quickly, quickly win or quickly lose. The amount of strategies and possible plays still big due to unit variety and strategical decisionmaking (expansion vs offense). Overall, I can safely recommend Tooth and Tail to both RTS fans and people who are willing to get into the genre.

Have something to add? Make sure to join our Steam group, discord chat https://discordapp.com/invite/013oJVAEt1l3JM1wC or join our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ColdwildGames/

Feature Image taken from the game store page, here

Armor Clash II - Indie Game Reviews 2017 Steam Screenshot

Genre: RTS
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: On the fence about this one. Wait to see where it is going. I’d say No for now.

Armor Clash II is a classical Real-Time-Strategy game that involves Base Building. While the game offers everything that modern RTS Base-Building games could offer, it feels lacking for some reason.

Pros

  • Every cool RTS function is there: unit groups, build shortcuts, selecting all similar units on screen when double clicking.
  • Great unit models and graphics
  • Upgradable “general skills” that level up as you battle
  • Day/Night cycle is pretty cool (but I did not see it affecting the game in any way)
  • Good naval unit implementation: the naval units supplement the ground units well
  • Good variety of units

Cons

  • Balance issues: ships actually seem overpowered at high tiers, one side (the one with heavy armor/tanks) seems much stronger than other.
  • AI is not great
  • Only 8 skirmish maps, at the time of writing this review
  • Lack of internet-multiplayer. LAN Only games.
  • The fight for resources is not exactly intense: sure, there are points on the map, capturing those brings you extra credits. But other than that: you just build resource gatherer at the very start of the game (at your base) and just carry on. I did not exactly run out of resources.
  • Lack of polish in some aspects: it’s easy to miss level-up in the midst of the battle; the skirmish settings do not save between matches, etc. Lots of seemingly small stuff that make impression from the game worse in the end. Also, the ai difficulty resets completely when you change maps which adds to annoyance.

Some thoughts

Armor Clash II made me seriously think what makes RTS games good. Because the game has everything that you would expect from a classical Base-Building RTS: rock-paper-scissors unit mechanics (only with more depth), build queue, attack-move, general skills and factions. However, it still just did not seem enough. The reason for this is probably how the game is set up: balancing RTS is no joke, and while game author does a good job on implementing technicalities, it still is not enough to provide a meaningful tactical gameplay.

For example, if you look at starcraft 2 or company of heroes – there’s always a tradeoff between when picking a strategy. I.e. if you decide to focus on capturing points in CoH – you are exposing your flanks and cannot build strong defense effectively. If you decide to concentrate on building infantry – you will be lacking in vehicles. Essentially, you pick the way to play and if your way of play is better than opponents – you get rewarded. Armor Clash II does not have a lot of tradeoffs like this: there are two factions, but they don’t feel much different. You can build most of the buildings right at the start and it kind of kills the “technical progress.”

The AI is not terrible, but not great either. That would not be an issue if you could play over the internet. However, the game has LAN multiplayer only, so you probably won’t be able to play against other people.

Summary

I’m really on the line about the game. It’s not a bad game and despite the negative traits, I think the game has potential if developer keeps working on it. Right now, Armor Clash II is a game that you could go once a day and play one quick skirmish game against AI. If you want something like that – it’s not a bad RTS for killing 15-20 minutes. Whether you feel it’s worth $15 – totally up to you. Right now, however, I would not recommend it.

Have something to add? Make sure to join our Steam group, http://steamcommunity.com/groups/coldwild or join our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ColdwildGames/

Feature Image taken from the Armor Clash II store page, here

8-Bit invaders! game review screenshot

Genre: Real-Time Strategy game
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: Yes

Pros

  • Distinct graphic style (not for everyone), which makes the game engaging and aesthetically pleasing to play
  • Shortcuts for every building (I mean, it’s not surprise anymore, but if you’ve played red alert – you know that one feature was missing there).
  • Fast-paced gameplay, requires mostly macro skills and multitasking.
  • If you liked the previous games – this one won’t disappoint you either.
  • If you are nostalgic about late 90’s – early 2000 RTS era, that’s the game to check out. It’s like Red Alert 2 in space.

Cons

  • Campaign starts somewhat slow (not much unit variety)
  • Old-time strategy feel. If you disliked C&C series (before RA3) – the game will probably disappoint you too.
  • Sometimes AI feels a bit dumb

Have something to add? Make sure to join our Steam group, http://steamcommunity.com/groups/coldwild

Feature Screenshot taken from 8-Bit invaders store page, here