*UPDATED* – If you pre-ordered before January 11th you gain access to a Mabari Warhound pet (not like a WOW cosmetic pet, this one kills things) as well as the key to the Black Emporium, a shop so diabolical only people crazy enough to pre-order will gain access. What is inside? Nobody knows for sure, although there are rumblings of The Mirror of Transformation which can be used to alter your appearance after the game has already begun.
There is something magical about moving little army men around a game table while pretending you’re a super-important high ranking general. WarChest and Splash Damage’s Rad Soldiers is the latest turn based strategy title that lets you live out those arm-chair general fantasies on your mobile phone or tablet. Did WarChest manage to deliver something with both style AND substance?
Buying In: Rad Soldiers is 100% free right now for iOS, with extra soliders, weapons, and costumes available via micro-transaction. Unlike many turn based strategy games that focus on hundreds of soldiers and massive battlefields, Rad Soldiers is a much more intimate affair allowing the player to command an average of only 4 or 5 soldiers per match. Because of the smaller scale, each unit has a distinct role and personality and comes equipped with a unique special ability. For example, agents tend to hang back and deliver massive damage from afar, while commandos clear the way and provide covering fire and explosive damage. A unit’s point value is determined by their load out, and each match has a limits as to the number of points allowed. Tabletop games like Warhammer use a similar system to keep things fair between armies. If you want to field a team of medics, go for it, just stay within the allotted point value!
Offline Challenges: RAD Soldiers comes with a number of challenges that can be completed offline to rank up and get some experience before thrusting you into online play. Most of the single player challenges are against themed enemy teams and typically consist of a single military objective (usually, defend the objective for five turns). The challenges start off easy enough, but the rewards for completing them are next to nothing. While it’s entirely possible to endlessly complete medium-difficulty challenges to gain RAD bucks (in game currency), you may be tempted to buy some RAD bucks with real money to boost your squad with some new members or weapons. This is of course what they’re banking on…
Asynchronous Online: Like our beloved Hero Academy, the multiplayer component of RAD Soldiers is asynchronous, meaning that both players take their respective turns whenever they feel like it. While this is convenient, it’s often easy to lose track of what you were up to the last time you played, especially if you have multiple games going at the same time. Ideally, RAD Soldiers would be played by two friends on their respective tablets in the same room taking turns and talking smack… That would be good times.
Not Nerd Appropriate: While I’m not a huge fan of micro-transactions I fully understand why they’re a necessary evil in today’s gaming world. To be honest, if you don’t like mico-transactions then don’t micro-transact! In terms of actual gameplay issues, the maps are currently a bit of a mess and feel claustrophobic and cramped. Unit health also needs to be tweaked a wee bit, because as it stands every unit takes a veritable hail of gunfire to bring down. It’s the little things.
Nerd Appropriate: I’m delighted to say that despite some minor gripes, RAD Soliders is a wonderfully complex tactical experience that is drenched in style. The game looks and plays quite well and fans of games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown or Hero Academy won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to see what weapons, units, and maps will be added in the near future.