December 9th, 2012 | By Alex Wilkinson
Have you grown tired of playing strategy games that rely greatly on luck, compared to skill? Are the random number generators getting you down? Well your time may be here with Telepath Tactics, a whole new way to strategize.
Telepath Tactics is the latest creation from Craig Stern who decided to move away from the whole idea of chance and move back to the raw skill inherent in strategy He hopes to cut away a lot of the pretence and fluff that keeps getting put on top of many modern-day strategy games. In Telepath Tactics he hopes to cut a lot of this away and really bring out the strategy elements once more.
I for one really do like this take on the genre as I always feel cheated by random number generators, but in Telepath Tactics when you fail it really is your fault. This is achieved by having not critical chances and other variables, everything is very much put in place from the start.
You can equate the turn based style of Telepath Tactics to games like Advanced Wars, a game I have greatly enjoyed over its many carnations. It offers a very well thought out and varied turn based strategy experience that encourages you to learn continually over the game as you are introduced to new aspects.
The setting is fantasy but before you all start moaning about this theme being overused, this is where Craig Stern’s ingenuity really comes in. Telepath Tactics although deeply rooted in this fantasy setting the monsters and creatures are atypical and really seem to be a novel new take on the genre. Although in the current demo you only play as human vs. human the extra fantasy stuff – promised for the final release – looks great.
The game starts with a brief introduction to the plot done via scrolling text before setting the scene with some of the main characters in a brief introduction of the characters. All in all the story does not develop greatly in the demo, but this is largely due to the demo being limited to only a few level, with most of them tutorial based you only get a brief feel for the gameplay.
Although the demo does have a distinctly slow pace it guides you through all the basics more than adequately. The pace can be compared to that of someone being first taught Chess and equally as necessary. This becomes apparent when you play the game as there are a lot of subtleties in the characters and the ways in which every piece interacts. Although you learn very quickly from your mistakes and when you leave your flank open to be backstabbed by the enemy, you do learn to always rotate your characters appropriately.
All the small subtleties in the game make for a game that may look quite basic and straightforward on the surface but is actually very deep and engaging. You do have to constantly think ahead, and figure out the best route for that particular scenario. This is where the static nature of the characters really comes into full bloom, as you are able to begin planning where they will be and how they will get there. You can anticipate damage and find ways to counter times you let your guard down, really the level of strategy possible is endless.
The very short nature of the demo currently available is a little bit disappointing as you begin to get into the game only for it to come to a rather abrupt end, but of course this is the nature of the beast. Telepath Tactics is indeed still under heavy development and looking for additional financial support on Kickstarter, so you cannot expect the demo showing any more than is necessary to get you hyped for the game. And believe me even after my short time on the demo I want more, I’m especially looking forward to the multiplayer as I believe this is where the true strength of the game will lie.
I am not detracting from the single player at all; the single player seems great fun and contains a rather light hearted but interesting story. Although a noticeable issue was that on a level where I had to create a bridge to cross the river the enemy AI – which is meant to seek you out to destroy you – on this map you being to see its obvious flaws.
With no bridge and the enemy hell bent on killing me they decided to all line up by the bank of the river. Of course this made my life far too easy as my ranged units merely stood on the bank and took pot shots at them. It was a very noticeable problem and one I hope gets address in the final release, one simple solution would be to have the computer team start with an engineer who can then build a bridge to try to flank your party.
Due to the early nature of the game so far it is difficult to be overly critical. The visuals are simple but neat and don’t over complicate the battlefield, yet serve their purpose fantastically. And the audio all seems to work fine throughout so the fundamentals all seem to be firmly in place.
Telepath Tactics is a very well constructed strategy game that shows great promise. It of course has some holes in it but still with several months until the billed launch date it really is shaping to be something rather great. With the addition of a multiplayer, both local and global I really do have high hopes for Telepath Tactics providing it continues to develop along the same lines.
Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page over here and if you love strategy games I am sure you will get a lot of enjoyment out of Telepath Tactics.