Game Reviews

Tropical Stormfront

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Tropical Stormfront

RTS games still haven't managed to find a comfortable home outside the PC. The number of control options playing with a keyboard and a mouse gives you is almost impossible to replicate elsewhere.

That's not to say that there haven't been valiant tries, and you can now add Tropical Stormfront to that ever-growing list.

It might look old skool, but it's a slightly more casual take on real-time warfare than games of yore. It comes with a handful of technical problems, but when the bullets are flying it's a tense, satisfying experience.

Action time

Set in the not too distant future, when an alliance between Japan, India, China, and Germany called the ODO threatens the stability of the world, the game plays out on the islands and archipelagos of the Pacific.

You play as a group of countries who have joined together to stop the ODO, taking the fight to them by land, by sea, and by air over a 25-mission campaign.

Defending your bases, attacking specific targets, and wiping out the enemy's machinery of war is the order of the day, with levels ranging from small skirmishes to multiple fronted theatres of all out war.

Cold hard cash

Resource-management is kept to a minimum. You start each battle with a set number of bases, and every 80 seconds these bases generate cash. You can then spend this cash on creating new units for the fight.

Each of these units has a specific role in battle, and its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Tanks are the warhorses of your army, and are the only units that can take over enemy bases. Capturing bases turns them to your cause, nets you more cash, and gives you a foothold in enemy territory.

The maps you fight on are self-contained, and the weight of your victory at one will have no bearing on the strength you have at the start of the next. On the easier levels, cash is abundant, but as you progress through the difficulty settings choosing the right time to spend becomes key.

Solo warriors

The lack of any multiplayer modes is a definite oversight, with the pace and style of play perfectly suited for quick online skirmishes. The action is thick and fast, but the size of the maps makes keeping track of things reasonably easy.

Crashes and clipping sully what is otherwise a competent package. Simple touchscreen controls and large units keep things from getting too fiddly, but the lack of options, and a reliance on rush tactics over strategy, make for slightly shallow combat.

Tropical Stormfront doesn't manage to replicate the PC RTS experience, but it does raise the bar for smartphone strategy titles. Fast battles and smart AI blend together with a reasonably engaging storyline to create a game that's well suited to pocket slaughter.

It's not revolutionary, but it's another step in the right direction, and its focus on action makes it a decent starting point for newcomers. With a few tweaks and an online mode, this could have been the first essential RTS on Android. As it is, it's another competent near miss.

Tropical Stormfront

An enjoyable, well-paced single-player experience, Tropical Stormfront is held back by technical problems and a lack of online options
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.