Tiny Troopers, an arcade war shooter developed by Kukouri Mobile Entertainment and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. Akin to Cannon Fodder or even Grunts, you lead small squads of soldiers into battle scenarios, carrying out destruction and evacuation missions while permadeath breathes down your neck.
Tiny Troopers Pros:
- Appealing 3D overhead presentation with detailed environments and mazelike battlezones
- Soundtrack is militaristic and sound effects/chatter retain arcade feeling
- Tap controls are simple to use
- Variety of soldiers, tools, and support items to purchase with earned Command Points
- GameCenter and Crystal integration provides nearly 2 dozen achievements
Tiny Troopers Cons:
- Group cohesiveness is inconsistent; cannot control specific individuals
- Some grinding is necessary to obtain items without resorting to IAP
Tiny Troopers contains 30 missions in its Campaign mode, with levels able to be replayed to earn Command Points via Mission mode without impacting your Campaign soldiers in any way. Through the Campaign, you are provided 2 or 3 soldiers to send into a hot zone, with additional specialized troops available for single-mission purchase. You can also purchase power-ups like range extending scopes, hefty armor, beefy magazines, and more that can assist your soldiers. However, should they fall in combat, the purchased power-ups are taken to the grave, too. Kill stats are maintained for each soldier, and surviving missions allows them to earn experience and rank up in status. During missions, you can purchase air drops of grenades, rockets, medkits, and more to help you on the fly, though you will also find some of these items strewn about. Medals can be found hidden in many levels and a number of these can be exchanged for persistent upgrades that start your soldiers at higher ranks or improve various attributes by small percentages. A map helps you orient yourself to your location and the location of objectives, and intel packs can be purchased to indicate the location of enemies and other useful info.
Graphically, Tiny Troopers offers a very pulled back, overhead viewpoint of the surrounding terrain, with aptly-named tiny troopers gathered in a fairly loose clump. The level of detail and shading gives that game a stylish and enjoyable appearance, and different terrain levels create natural boundaries which must be negotiated by the group. The game does a pretty good job of not alerting you to the location of enemies or objectives other than via the map. There are no arrows directing you to the points of interest, nor glowing objects or the like. You’ll often be notified to the presence of enemies when they first fire upon you, and buildings that must be destroyed may spawn soldiers to tip you off to their significance. Tossed grenades may bounce off of buildings and prove ineffective where they land, so there is a need to get the toss distance right or risk blowing up your team. Tiny health bars appear over each trooper’s head, but they can be hard to see on the small screen. The soundtrack has a great militaristic feel, but the sound effects and character voices remind you that this is a cartoonish arcade game after all.
Controls are pretty simple, though they leave a bit to be desired. Most of your interaction comes from tapping on-screen, which will cause your men to mobilize when you tap on a new location or engage enemies in a firefight when tapping on a specific bad guy. Soldiers will squeeze off a couple of rounds even while moving, but you’ll need to keep tapping on the same enemy to keep shooting until he finally falls, which was a tad annoying. Using grenades, rockets, etc. requires you to drag from the icon on the right to the desired target. You can access your map from the button in the lower left corner or purchase support items from the icon in the lower right corner. Standing still is a great way to lose soldiers, so you’ll need to balance firing with moving out of the path of incoming bullets. The men don’t always move consistently as a group, which can be frustrating when a guy stands there like a sitting duck while his mates who were in no real danger continue to high tail it out of the way. There is no way to move specific individuals, which could have gone a long way toward increasing the fun of dealing with persistent characters and working on strategies to take out the enemy.
Replay value is good, as there will likely come a time where grinding is needed to earn more Command Points to purchase soldiers and power-ups to get past a difficult mission. It’s conceivable that you can purchase some expensive soldiers and still fail the level repeatedly, whittling your funds way down. There is an IAP option to buy CP, which we generally find undesirable, as well as friend codes that can earn you a little scratch. There are 3 difficulty levels, allowing you to earn stars based on which level you play. Obtaining the full 3 stars requires you to complete each mission on the hardest difficult level. GameCenter and Crystal integration allow for an Achievement system with nearly 2 dozen awards to earn. A universal app for $2.99, Tiny Troopers has its annoyances but still retains its sense of fun and excitement, earning it a solid 4-Dimple ranking.
Tiny Troopers Review,