Skip the generic story, and the feeble attempts at character building. Metal Brigade Tactics is a strategy game, and any story is just a bonus. Turn based strategy gaming is not that common on iOS, and when this game emerged early in January of 2011 I got really excited. I am a fan of both the TBS formula, and mechs so it felt like a match made in heaven.
The gameplay in Metal Brigade Tactics differ quite a bit from what I am used to in the genre. Usually the map is laid out in octagons, but instead we get horizontal and vertical squares. This takes some getting used to, and creates some concerns regarding range of weapons. When the layout is in octagons the range is constant, and two is two in all directions. With squares the range is weirdly reduced to being two in straight lines, and the diagonal is reduced. This means you can easily place your mechs in blind spots for the opponent, and vice versa. At times it creates ridiculous situations, and the saying “keep your enemies closer” is a definite truth. If you are an old-school octagonal TBS gamer this is a hurdle that might even be too high to jump. To me it took some time getting used to, and then I started using it as part of my strategic thinking.
Starting a mission lets you choose level of difficulty that also affects the bonus dropped by annihilated enemies. Before that you can use your earned credits to buy new mechs, weapons and upgrades. I think this is an area that could be vastly improved, as the menus are quite boring to go through. Overall the customization is quite limited due to harsh weight/power regulations. I remember playing Mech Commander, and other mech games in the past. The joy of a huge mechanized unit is the firepower it carries, and you can never have too much. Once your pilots are ready for action you enter the battlefield.
Battles have different objectives, but most commonly it is a matter of getting from point a to b or to kill all opposition. If any unit has artillery capability that is set first before movement commence. Moving units is fairy easy using the touch controls. Attacking lets you choose what armament to use depending on the range. A battle scene commences, and hopefully you come out victorious. It follows the standard for TBS games in the actual gameplay.
Metal Brigade Tactics is quite challenging, and the 19 missions in story mode can last quite a while. Replaying on harder difficulties is quite rewarding as well to see how good you really are. A skirmish mode allows for local hotseat battles versus a friend, or the AI. There is a glaring lack of online multiplayer, and this would have been perfect for asynchronous multiplayer.
The presentation is quite basic, and it is one area that could use some improvement. Mechs look too similar, and geographic features are reused over and over. I do like the military green color scheme to the interface, and menus though. The music is a thumping techno soundtrack that is surprisingly good. Sound effects are sparse, but appreciated when they occur.
Metal Brigade Tactics is a welcome entry in the turn-based genre, and I hope to see a sequel in the future. The gameplay is solid even though it takes a while to “forget” about the lack of octagons. The customization of mechs is cool, but could be much deeper and flexible. Presentation is a bit basic, but it works quite well. The lack of online multiplayer is also something worth noting. Still it is a competent single player experience.
Metal Brigade Tactics $7.99
Seller: Busking Software