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Think First, Shoot Later: Mighty Tactical Shooter

Mighty Tactical Shooter might not be the first turn-based side-scrolling space blaster but I can’t remember ever seeing one before. A friend pointed the game out as we were browsing The Leftfield Collection at Rezzed, wisely recognising that it would be precisely my receptacle of brewed leaves. The easiest way to describe it is by asking you to imagine R-Type if R-Type were turn-based and had fancy physics for debris and tumbling blocks. Orders are given to your ship using a neat radial interface and the short bursts of movement and missile-launching keep the pace at a reasonable clip while allowing for intense brain application.

I spent a while watching other people play and had a brief dabble myself – it’s clever stuff, although I’m entirely incapable of planning out the gravity manipulation that you see in the trailer above. Despite the seemingly limited playfield, complex and cunning manoeuvres are possible. It’s all in the curve of the command lines.

Technically it’s simultaneous turn based (aka WeGo), as the enemy AI will be planning moves at the same time as you are planning yours, and they will both execute at the same time. This sounds way more complicated than it is! It just means that you’re not waiting for ‘the other player’ to finish their turn. You plan your turn, watch the outcome, plan your turn, watch the outcome, and so on without having to wait for ‘the other player’ as you would in a strictly turn based game.

As well as piloting the ship, players are responsible for diverting power to the different systems as and when they are needed. On the verge of a huge collision? Boost shields and cut power to the guns. That sort of thing. As seen at the beginning of the trailer, the various systems have AI personalities as well, and can be upgraded and rejigged as the game goes on. I don’t know exactly what that side of the game involves but I’m hoping for possible bickering and arguments that can lead to the shields failing because they’ve fallen out with the engine.

The game is in good shape but only around 50% complete so, as I’m learning to expect more often than not, a crowdfunding campaign is planned. It’d be good to see the build that was at Rezzed available as a downloadable demo when the campaign begins.

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Adam Smith

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