The judicious use of the words ‘assault’ and ‘squad’ and the attachment of Men of War co-developer DigitalMindSoft to this web-based, predominantly multiplayer strategy game had me thinking this was some new MoW spin-off. Assault Squad shares a World War 2 setting – i.e. there are tanks – but that’s about it. No dramatic 3D explosions or hat-scavenging here, simply hex-based battles between static units. Rather than immediately firing up the Stonesignal I had a quick sniff around its public beta this morning, and discovered it to be turn-based strategy in the vein of a small-scale Civ, but with a steely focus on all-out war.
It looks as though it’s from 1942, in both graphics and cramped, cheerless interface, and it’s badly in need of being translated by someone who didn’t work on ‘Allo ‘Allo, but I suspect it can become a fairly ferocious little boardgame-like battle of the wills if it finds an audience. Despite the sterile presentation it’s not an obtuse, inaccessible affair however. It’s fast and fairly simple, and you don’t need to wait too long before you can build an Il-2 Sturmovik, which is basically my benchmark for anything involving WW2 these days.
Give the open beta a try here, and there’s a slightly wobbly tutorial which attempts, not entirely successfully, to show you the ropes against an unprotesting opponent. Being browser-based, all progress in multiplayer game is saved in that there cloud, and the turn-based nature allows long-term games against opponents who can’t necessarily play immediately. WAR.