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Tenderfoot Tactics

Developer: Badru

  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: Feb 21, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: Jun 17, 2024 [$11.99]
  • Lowest Historic Price: $11.99
  • ESRB Rating: T [Teen]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    Provides a very different and interesting take on tactical strategy by putting it in more of an open-world setting

    One of the things I appreciate the most about the indie gaming space is its ability to surprise me on a regular basis. Just when you think you’ve seen everything a specific genre has to offer, a new game with its own take on things will often show up to open your eyes to new possibilities… even if they don’t always work out in the end. One such pleasant surprise is Tenderfoot Tactics, which throws a great deal of variability into the traditional tactical strategy mix by dropping you in an open-world setting. While there are some areas that suffer with this approach, it does make for a pretty unique challenge.

    Starting with the positives, the biggest draw to this approach is that the battleground for every fight is variable and at least somewhat under your control. If you’ve got ranged units that can benefit from verticality you can try to ensure fights are in hilly territory. If you’re willing to take a risk and have some units that deal fire damage, areas that have more vegetation can get interesting. The key is that you can often lure your attackers into scenarios that favor your team, and it’s very cool when it works out well. You’ll also find that customizing your squad has almost a dizzying level of possibilities, but I’ll admit that it felt quite trial and error working things out. Diving into the customization interfaces can be intimidating, and it would have been nice to get more guided help, but if you’re willing to take the time to get the hang of things you’ll be rewarded.

    In terms of issues, aside from the fact that it never felt like the game did a very good job of explaining all of its systems and screens, the open world setup has some downsides. One issue is that understanding where to go and what to do at times, trying to refer to what maps you have and the only minorly useful ability to get a limited bird’s eye view, can be aggravating. Not surprisingly, you’re also able to get yourself into trouble if you decide to tackle hotspots that are out of your league, though in general the game is forgiving with failures so that isn’t too crippling. There’s no doubt that without a set linear path the story element suffers as well, but again with the more open-ended nature of the experience this isn’t a big surprise.

    For fans of tactical strategy titles who’ve been looking for a game to come along and shake things up, this seems like an experience well worth checking out. Your level of control over both the battlefield and the composition of your squad, once you get the hang of things, really feels like it can give smart and experienced players an edge. For people who are more casual fans or are looking for something that’s a little different, you’ll want to take in the pros and cons to see where you’d likely fall in your enjoyment, based on what you prefer in your gaming experience. I’d love to see a follow-up that tries to build on the strengths of this experiment and flesh out some of the weaker areas, but until then this does stand out as being thoroughly engaging and refreshingly different.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.1]

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