8-Bit Armies is a fast-paced real-time strategy game built with a retro feel to it and it is impossible not to make comparisons to Command & Conquer due to both the gameplay and the people behind this game, the only thing missing is some great cut scenes between missions. This is a game that has been out on PC for a while and its move onto console works.
There is a quick tutorial you can do but the controls and gameplay for this game are pretty basic. Get your refineries down, barracks and motor pool up and start mass producing units. That feeling of having 100 units on the battlefield is fantastic, watching the health of an HQ disappear as 100 infantry units unload everything they have cannot be beaten! Controlling large groups of units is made easy by producing units on square, triangle and circle which assigns that shortcut to them.
Your main decision is what army you want to command as you make your way through the missions. Whether you want to play as the Ion Cannon controlling Guardians or the Nuke capable Renegades. Both share the same buildings and units apart from the odd difference in defence turret, superweapon and vehicles.
There is a good amount of content in this game to keep you busy with 25 campaign missions, 12 co-op missions and online play with up to 5 people. The fan favourite skirmish mode returns where you can enjoy access to all buildings and vehicles as you play against the AI for map domination. There are a number of maps ranging from 2 players to 6 players in size that you can play on and they vary from little villages to out in the swaps. The campaign missions come with some re-playability as each mission has up to a 3-star difficulty where you need to complete it under certain requirements. Whether that is not building a certain type of unit, surviving for a set time or destroying all buildings.
Don’t be fooled by the fun colourful look of the game though. Attempting some of the 3-star requirements for missions too early and you will fail. As you progress through the missions you unlock more starter units that you can begin missions with. This will be key in helping you get those 3-stars as I found out later on in the game.
Throughout my time I didn’t suffer any real lag even when I selected my 100 tanks to roll across the map and annihilate anything in their path. Obviously, this game isn’t real life graphics, but I really enjoyed the blocky retro design and at no point felt it took away from what the game is. The level designs are full of extra details and watching trees just fall over as your vehicles ram through them adds to the fun and laid-back feel to this game.
Big fans of the RTS genre may find that 8-bit armies is lacking any real depth though. The tech building only unlocks a few units rather than a tech tree to upgrade units. Buildings can’t be upgraded to be more efficient and it only took 3 buildings to have access to 90% of the game’s units. I don’t think 8-bit have missed this depth, I just think they didn’t want it in their game and the game works without it but being in this genre might mean people are expecting that.
I would recommend 8-bit armies for the casual RTS player who doesn’t want to get caught up in which upgrade do I put on this unit to be good against that unit. The fun in this game is taking a horde of infantry units and seeing how far into an enemy base you can get before you bring the next horde! The design of the game has a happy feel about it and I found myself having fun. I certainly expect to go back to this game and jump in a few skirmishes and try out the online play when a few more people get the game.
For the trophy hunters out there, you will be happy to know this game comes with a Platinum, which you will be get after collecting the other 29 trophies! A lot of the trophies you will collect through completing the campaign, but you have the odd curveball in there like squish 5000 infantry which sums up 8-bit armies perfectly.
This game is fun, simple. Even though it sits in the real-time strategy genre I wouldn’t say it commits to that genre too heavily which might put some people off. All in all 8-bit Armies move to console has worked.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*