Welcome to some classic RTS base-building mechanics that will lead you down the path of glory or something like that. 8-Bit Armies is exactly what the title says it is, 8-Bit armies running around trying to destroy each other. To my surprise this game is loaded with cool options and while some of them were not accessible at the time I still had fun playing the campaign and skirmish modes. Do not go into this thinking anything other than 8-Bit graphics though because that is what you’re getting.
Basically what you need to ask yourself here is do you feel lucky? Well…ok wait I was going somewhere with that but let’s not be overly corny. Okay who cares, do you feel lucky enough to lead your 8-Bit army into battle? Well do you? Let me just say this, DO THE TUTORIAL. I know but I just want to jump right into the game. Well if you do that good luck with figuring out what to build, how to build it and when you should build it. How about we talk about the campaign mode, sound good?
Here you will be able to choose which side you want to be on, the Renegades or the Guardians. Don’t worry about which side you choose really as it just gives you different missions. What missions though? Well I’ll tell you. Things start out pretty simple. Build you a small base of operations, train some soldiers and then take out the enemies HQ. Not bad, you did all that on your first try? Yeah I am pretty good at strategy games. TEE HEE. Don’t get over confident soldier. After that things ramp up a little with, destroy all enemy structures, stay alive for 15 minutes, or destroy 6 enemy motor pools. The missions will start to come at you fast and furious so you better learn how to set up your base in the most efficient way. I learned the hard way that if you think the enemy is sleeping on you they are not and you can expect an attack at some point. I found this to be a well-timed mechanic in the game and it kept me on my toes. I think there was 115 missions between the two campaign modes so there is plenty of playing time for this one. Hey but what about attacking and defending ourselves? How does that work? Good question.
Building Your Army
In order to build the biggest and most bad ass army you will first need to work on a foundation. What do I mean? Well you need to make money of course and the only way to generate money is to build refineries. Don’t worry about the building speed on this game it goes pretty fast. If you stack your refineries close to each other they are supposed to work more efficiently but I never really noticed nor did I care because I was pulling in major money quick. Don’t stack too much though because the little trucks will start to pile up on one another. The neat thing here is you can instruct each truck on where you want them to go in order to pick up the resources. You don’t want every single truck going to the same node.
Once you have a stable amount of money flow you might want to start working on defenses and your army. You can go for Tech and other things in order to build advanced armies but you won’t need that right away. You can build turrets and missile defense systems to protect your base which I wouldn’t worry about the first 4-5 missions but after that it becomes a must. Then you can build some barracks or motor pools and these work the same way as the refineries. If you stack them they will work more efficiently and it will give you a number above the barrack showing how much faster it is working. The barracks of course train your soldiers, ground troops, big dudes carrying rocket launchers, and this is the back bone of your army if you ask me. They defend well and take out other enemies when you have a large number of them. The motor pool is used to build tanks, helicopters, heavy armored gun trucks etc. and when combined with the right balance of troops can be devastating to your enemy. Each soldier, tank or helicopter can be assigned a button. I played this on the PS4 so it was square, triangle and circle. This is important to be able to distinguish between them because when you are going across the map you want to be able to guide your troops with the best path to your enemy.
The enemy bases are hidden on the map but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where they are located. Speaking of rockets you can actually build a missile silo and nuke your enemy, try it, it is fun. You need to keep an eye out on your troops as they travel though because there are sneaky enemies all over the map and they will pop up on you quickly. Tip, watch the energy on the buildings you build because eventually you will need to build more power plants otherwise you put yourself at risk.
All this works the same in skirmish which was my favorite mode to play. Here you can play against more than one enemy and this is where you really have to strategize. The enemy in skirmish is a lot more aggressive and you can expect attacks to come hot and heavy. I would say getting a balance of defense and soldiers is a good strategy to start off with. You don’t want to attack too soon but you also don’t want your enemy just sitting over there stock piling his troops as well. Try to be defensive and a little aggressive at the same time.
I couldn’t play the Co-Op mode or the online play and I was a little disappointed that you couldn’t play couch Co-Op or even play against each other that way. It had to be online against someone or with someone. While I found that to be pretty damn cool that this game gives you that option I still wanted to play this with someone in the room.
The other problem I had with the game was the wheel you used to build or train troops. It didn’t always work that well and I did think the design was good it just didn’t work great. Also there would be times where I would tell my troops to do something and half of them refused to do anything. Seriously I would give those orders and then check back on them to find out only half had moved into battle. Not really something you want happening. The other issue with the game was when too many things appeared on the screen at once the game began to lag. There were times I couldn’t instruct my army right away because the screen was to choppy for me to do anything. None of this was anything that ruined the game though.
8 – Bit Armies while fun and entertaining does have a few flaws. However I can look past these knowing that I spent hours building up my base and creating a monstrous army to take down my foe with a smile on my face. I could see the game getting a tad boring after a while of playing it. I mean it does play like an app on your cell phone at times but the real test came with playing it with my ten year old son. We had fun completing missions together and he thoroughly enjoyed the game. The only problem was he could see the flaws, he showed frustration when things didn’t work the way it should and he even acknowledged that after some time you would probably get bored playing the game. If this game wasn’t listed at 29.99 I would recommend giving it a try if you like these types of games. At that price tag though I would wait for a sale. Still…it was fun to play.
A review copy of the game was provided.
Developer: Petroglyph Games
Release date: September 21
Rating: 7 out 10