Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is an Advance War inspired turn-based tactics game
Full Metal Rumble is a turn-based tactics game at its core. Boasting nice graphics and soundtrack, but forgettable story and poor controls. While the game has it’s moments in the sun, the issues with the controls truly kill the fun for me. With a lacking story, if controls are an issue, what fun is there to be had? Then there’s the ethical issues behind the company itself, but I’ll leave that to you to decide. Back in 2017, a company, newly founded, called Area 35 released a spiritual successor to the Advance Wars game developed by Intelligent Systems back in 2001. Developed as a turn-based tactics game, Tiny Metal evokes nostalgia reminiscent of tactics games of yore. The question is, however, does it stand up to the magnitude of the game that inspired it?
Borrowing heavily from Advance Wars, it’s almost as if they took the original Advance Wars and remade it with modern graphics. Yet at the same time, it feels lacking, dull, and shallow in comparison. By no means does it stand up to Advance Wars in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. The graphics are nice, and pure design choices really make the game feel different, but the story is lacking severely. The plot is dull and appears to be more of an afterthought than anything. The story could be more engaging, and yet the voice acting, at least the English version, leaves much to be desired. While the Japanese voice-overs are better, that fact alone doesn’t make up for the only mediocre plot. This is a disappointing fact considering it was written by none other than Hirotaka Inaba, the writer for I Am Setsuna.
Where the game lacks in plot, it makes up with gameplay. I’ll be honest, when I play a tactics game, I rarely care about the story. Only Final Fantasy Tactics, and more importantly Fire Emblem, truly hold my attention when it comes to story in a tactics type game. If you have played any tactics game, it doesn’t matter which, you know exactly how Tiny Metal will play out. You move units each turn in an attempt to outmaneuver and flank your enemy, capturing buildings as you go. With Tiny Metal, these buildings add to your income each round, allowing you to build more units to fight with, If only it were that easy. The game suffers one huge fatal flaw: controls. On the overworld map, if you click on a mission you are forced to begin that mission or alt-f4 your way out of the game to re-launch. Yes, there is a back button, which is set to Delete, but it doesn’t work. Thus, you are not able to back out of any menu you might need to that uses this key. What’s worse, the entire economic system I mentioned above involving the buildings is basically useless due to a simple system that shouldn’t be an issue. Every factory/barracks you own has its own turn each round. You can create a new unit, or pass without creating one, allowing you to save up money to purchase higher-cost units. Except it won’t let you pass. You can click on the option all day long, only to have it indefinitely cycle back saying you need to complete an action before you can pass. This was so annoying to me that I basically gave up and just mass-produced infantry units, killing my income, not allowing me to build anything more than said Infantry unit.
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