8-Bit Armies is an uncluttered RTS that’s perfect for consoles – well, almost. Here’s our review…
A good real-time strategy game on consoles is hard to find – there’s just something about the genre that works far better with a mouse and keyboard than a controller.
Surprisingly, though, 8-Bit Armies is an extremely accessible RTS, with a simple, well-designed control scheme that works with the player, rather than against them.
Assigning units is surprisingly easy, letting you tie troops to one of the three buttons before using that same input to move them around the map or to order them to attack. It isn’t the most in-depth system, but it is one that still encourages you to play strategically, splitting your units up into separate columns, as opposed to moving forward as a single block.
The game’s single-player campaign allows you to choose between two different factions, the Renegades and the Guardians. Both have their own unique tech trees to unlock, with the Guardians having more tactical units like snipers and drones while the Renegades rely more on heavy firepower and artillery.
Regardless of what you pick, each campaign unfolds roughly the same, however, with every map having a main objective to complete and two bonus goals that you can try to accomplish in the allotted time.
To complete these, you will need to make money from harvesting natural resources, build a collection of structures to produce troops, and efficiently delegate tasks. It is a familiar gameplay loop, but one that can still produce some memorable and exciting moments, as you fight tooth-and-nail for an important resource spot or an access route. It’s just a shame that the actual story doesn’t live up to the same high standards, with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it text dump occurring in the menu prior to each game.
Map variety is another problem in the campaign mode. You will constantly find yourself fighting on the same maps over and over with only a handful of new units unlocked to change your approach. This makes completing the campaign a fairly repetitive task, which is unfortunate given the promise of the game’s intuitive control scheme and mechanics.
If you do find yourself getting bored, it should be mentioned that there are other modes like a co-op campaign and several multiplayer options to explore. These slightly make up for the repetition. But still, it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed after such a promising start.
8-Bit Armies is a fairly decent RTS game that feels right at home on consoles. It is simple and easy to control and doesn’t overburden the player, like some other RTS games. All of that doesn’t change the fact that there are some major issues with the main campaign, however. There’s just not enough content to keep a player’s interest over the number of hours required to beat it, with the game in desperate need of significantly more maps and a better story to motivate the player to keep coming back to it.
8-Bit Armies strips away a lot of the complexities associated with the genre, offering an experience that is easy to pick up but difficult to master. Soedesco and Petroglyph Games have done a great job with the port, adapting the controls for console perfectly.