Monaco Devs Reveal Arcade RTS Tooth And Tail

Last year Monaco creator Pocketwatch Games announced an in-development RTS game by the name of Armada. Then they changed the name to “Lead To Fire”, before realising that nobody would know how the hell to pronounce the first word. So now it’s called Tooth and Tail – and there’s a first set of screenshots and details below.

So Tooth and Tail, then – a play on Tooth-to-Tail ratio according to its devs (although surely it’s a play on tooth and nail?). The team is describing it as an arcade-style real-time strategy game which caters to an audience who like the digestibility of mainstream RTS’ but don’t have time for the genre’s propensity for causing migraines.

“Like with Monaco, we focused on simplicity of controls. Your commander controls your army indirectly – two analog sticks, ABXY, and two triggers are all you need,” say its makers in an official blurb. “I like to say that if you can get the controller out of the way, the player can more directly interface with the fantasy and their strategy. Yup, it plays just as well on kb/m, but we really like using the controller as a design constraint. And for the record, fuck shoulder buttons. Those things are terrible.”

In early 2014, the studio’s Andy Schatz described the then-Armada to us as an RTS you could feasibly play in a party setting and “the first great gamepad RTS.” The aim remains the same. It’s a streamlined RTS, which means matches are a maximum of 12 minutes long and you can play at a competitive level after just a game or two. “More real-time chess, less competitive cow-clicker,” they’re saying.

Stylistically, the team has adopted a 90’s nostalgia Command and Conquer style – and O be still my ancient heart: check out this collection of Redwall-inpired fan art by the game’s painter Jerome Jacinto. His portfolio got him the gig, and you can see these Redwallisms all throughout the game. There’re flipping skunk grenadiers in there, man.


  1. zxcasdqwecat says:

    Yes, but can I play it with boomerangs too?

  2. JFS says:

    The artwork is striking indeed. The screenshot however is a strange mix of pixel art and bloom/blur. I don’t know what to make of that.

    • KillahMate says:

      Pixel art with high-end VFX seems to be the in thing these days. Monaco played with a similar aesthetic, and you can see it expressed probably most clearly in the Duelyst online tactics game.

      • AndySchatz says:

        duelyst is indeed a huge inspriation for us! One of my fav pixel art games ever (art-wise, honestly havent played enough yet to get a sense for design!)

        • KillahMate says:

          Yeah, both the pixel art and traditional 2D imagery in Duelyst are first-class in my opinion – it’s the only game I kickstarted purely based on its looks! They’ve brought in some serious talent to work on their sprites.

  3. slerbal says:

    I can’t make head nor tail of that screenshot, it’s bloomtastic and basically illegible.

  4. Godwhacker says:

    Oh look, Russian Socialist imagery. How original.

  5. Rilmo says:

    What the fuck is wrong with shoulder buttons?

    • Koozer says:

      Maybe the Z button ate his hamster.

      • AndySchatz says:

        Probably just in comparison to my love for the tactile feel of the triggers, they feel like the wussy step-cousins. Don’t wanna have to take my fingers off those lovely Triggers :)

        • frogulox says:

          Its fine, his grandad invented shoulder buttons. After the trigger surge of ’42 aggressive market saturation forced shoulder button aside in the name of ‘progress’

          Family fortune lost in an instant and a generation of supporters embittered to this day.

        • Rilmo says:

          On a 360-controller I presume. On the ps3/4-controller I actually prefer to main the shoulder buttons and just use the triggers as buttons. It’s standard in most games I believe, and in uncharted you can’t even choose to use the actual triggers for shooting. On the Xbone-controller I think you’re just supposed to nudge your finger upwards instead of moving it on top on the button. I’ve somewhat limited experience with it though, and it’s also been a while.

          I find it more annoying to move back and forth between the right stick and buttons, depending on the game. Not a big deal, but a thing of the past when I get my hands on the new xbone controller where I can reassign them to the back. I like shoulder buttons. (With the exception of the RB on one of my 360-controller that’s gotten real mushy.)

  6. Foosnark says:

    As a recent convert to playing with an XBox360 controller: the only thing wrong is that I am constantly getting [LB] and [LT] confused. When it becomes muscle memory (as when playing Dirt Rally and Rocket League) it’s not a problem, but when I’m trying to follow onscreen instructions there’s definitely a moment of “huh?”

    • AndySchatz says:

      Oh ya, no worries. We don’t use the shoulder buttons so I’ll probably just map them to the same commands. (and everything will be remappable)

    • dethtoll says:

      I miss the old days of PS1 with L1/L2 and R1/R2. Much easier to keep track of for me.

  7. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever played an RTS with more than a basic mouse and the arrow keys, plus the hotkey for “build farm” or the equivalent. I still love ’em, though so I guess I’ll keep my eyes open for this one.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Awesome. Yep, I think you’ll enjoy it! I always felt like I was good at RTSs but too slow to ACTUALLY be good. :)

  8. andytheadequate says:

    Although I don’t normally like RTS games, Monaco was my goty and quite possibly my favourite ever co op game so I have high hopes for this.

    Is this co op too?

  9. racccoon says:

    I think they forgot snails n frogs.