Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble Review
Release Date: July 11th 2019
Developer: Area 35
Publisher: Deilightworks, Area 35
Platform: Windows and Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
The original Tiny Metal was a straight-forward turn-based strategy game, you move the usual crop of units around the map, capturing the means to produce more units until you overwhelm the enemy. Tiny Metal: FMR doesn’t stray too far from its roots, but it’s taken a good look at them and decided which ones get invited to Thanksgiving and which ones get fake directions and end up lost in the woods eating pine cones with the Sasquatches. By this I mean it doesn’t do a lot more than its predecessor, but what it does it does well.
The games possess the usual Campaign, Skirmish, and Multi-player modes. I won’t talk about these except to say that I wish I had someone to try the multi-player with. Battles in Skirmish mode are just like those in the Campaign, so let’s start with the Campaign. You begin the Campaign with a wait for it, tutorial which I would have skipped if it had let me. I got past the first missions reasonably quickly, but I noted the AI had a knack for slowing down my advance, even if they couldn’t stop it. But once the mission maps got bigger and more units were introduced, it becomes more complicated. I think it was the third or fourth tutorial mission that really caught my attention. My objective was to defend my own headquarters while capturing the enemies, along the way you occupy buildings with your infantry and lancers (Antivehicle infantry.) Buildings provide additional funds, the more you have, the more money you have to spend on new units which come from, you guessed it, factories which you need to capture as well. Buildings and the games version of an APC provide fuel and ammunition resupply and (slow) healing. I defeated a few enemy units, moving slowly until suddenly I was set upon by several at once. Not only was I ambushed, it was a combined arms ambush with enemy infantry slowing me down while their armor concentrated fire on my most vulnerable units. I fell back in disarray. I prepared for a counterattack, but it never came. Instead, the little monster kept me busy with a few small units and managed to flank me via a route I didn’t know existed. Among the attackers were several damaged units. The AI had pulled them back from contact with my units and sent them somewhere else not too shabby for a console war game. Adding to my woes, I was running low on ammunition and actually lost a couple of units due to low supplies. It took more than 30 turns to beat, and I wasn’t even out of the tutorial yet. The AI changes its priorities as you move, as I started closing in on their HQ, the enemy fell back and defended it, calling remote units back to do so.
The bottom line here is that Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a pretty standard Japanese arcade-style war game. But it is well-executed and while the AI isn’t Genghis Khan or anything, it prioritizes its actions and changes its plan in mid-stream just to stop you from executing your own. It’s also more complex than many similar games. You can transport Infantry units on vehicles, and you must keep your forces supplied with fuel, ammunition, and power-ups called commander powers that belong to the bizarrely dressed cartoon you are filling in for. My only real criticism is that the missions can begin to stretch out a little bit, taking rather more time to complete than I had allowed for. But that’s really it, it’s a solid entry into the category and I recommend it for anyone looking for a casual war game.
Well designed missions
Surprisingly good AI
Does most things right
Missions sometimes drag out
1960s era Godzilla movie voice dubbing
doesn’t do anything new