Review: Tiny Metal (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Review: Tiny Metal (Switch)

By James Charlton

Indies do what Nintendon’t

Upon the release of what felt like the twentieth Fire Emblem game, and not a hint of Advance Wars, most fans had given on on the cute war simulator series ever making a comeback. Well the good news is we now don’t need Intelligent Systems or Nintendo to bring it back, because developers Area 35 have done it for them!

Advance Wars, I mean Tiny Metal, is an adorable take on a war strategy game, allowing you to command tiny tanks, tiny planes, and tiny soldiers around a battlefield in an attempt to wipe out the opposition.

Like Advance Wars, there is a lot of story going on here with massively lengthy cut scenes explaining the plot in immense detail. The peculiar thing here (and perfect for a Famicast review) is that it’s all in Japanese. Every character is completely voiced, in Japanese, even the title screen shouts at you in Nihongo right as you load up the game (yes,  the developers are Japanese). However they did at least localise the in-game battle cries into English, possibly with the one or two English speaking staff they had around the office, as they all sound like one guy doing all the accents he knows (Scottish, Australian, American). They’re not bad, but they’re also not good.

The cool thing about the story however is that it’s completely skippable. You just hit the fast-forward button and get straight into the action. There are actually quite a few useful features in this regard for people without much patience; you can turn off battle animations, automatically move to the next action, and even increase the game speed itself. This game can be set to be as slow or as fast as you like, something I very much appreciated.

Onto the gameplay itself. It’s pretty much identical to AW as you’d expect, you move your pieces around taking care to note how much defence power the environment will give you, and which unit works best against another. If you have riflemen on open ground shooting at a tank, you probably won’t even make a scratch, but if you assign a group of rocket launcher soldiers and attack from a mountain, you might wipe it out in one shot. Later on in the game you get jets, anti-air missile launchers, helicopters, snipers, radar units, electro-magnetic super tanks, they all have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to use them wisely.

All in all it’s quite polished for an indie title, with plenty of content and high production values for the most part. It’s also a game that works great in portable mode (despite the lack of touch controls), it’s super smooth docked or undocked and is so easy to get back into with the hit of the power button.

There are some rough edges to be aware of though; the lack of English voices is one, but the title screen clearly saying “multiplayer coming soon” two months after release is a big one. The devs have promised several DLC updates in the future but until that is released this review can only take into account what is there right now.

Despite this game feeling like an 80% complete package, if you like strategy games, miss Advance Wars and want to study Japanese, this is definitely worth picking up.

Final Score: 8.0

(Review code provided by the publisher)

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