December 5, 2016

TASTEE Lethal Tactics

Tags: A Gamedev Plays

This post is from the now defunct website “A GameDev Plays…”, copied here for posterity

More simultaneous turn-based goodness with TASTEE: Lethal Tactics. While the gameplay is very similar to Frozen Synapse, that is definitely not a bad thing. Plus this game makes a few improvements too, ensuring it is a worthwhile addition to the genre.

In TASTEE: Lethal Tactics the player controls a squad of four mercenaries in tactical combat (surprise!). The objective is to eliminate opponents or collect items or control certain areas of the map. As will be familiar to players of similar games, the basic mechanic is to give the mercenaries a plan (move here, look there, etc), then when ready click Commit and watch all teams execute their plans simultaneously. Repeat until the the mission is completed. Controls are quite standard: set movement waypoints by clicking on the map and right-clicking for commands to run, crouch, or look. Attacking opponents occurs automatically with the outcome based on who is calmest and fastest to shoot. It is possible to test out plans before committing them, and replaying the outcome from previous turns.

This seems familiar

So far, so Frozen Synapse. How does TASTEE differentiate itself? Most obvious is the graphics. Gone is the abstract view. Instead, this game is fully 3D in a modern western setting (think Hell or High Water or Justified) but with a slight comic book look to the characters. It can sometime be hard to identify cover or enemies as they do not standout, but there are tooltips to help. The camera can also zoom and tilt, giving the game a tabletop miniatures feel. I think this works very well. Although perhaps it is harder to achieve, as gone are procedurally generated maps, replaced with 10 bespoke (clean and pretty) maps.

There are also a few other improvements. Characters also have a small amount of health, so it is not always (but usually) one hit is a kill. Furthermore, in addition to the standard categories of unit (sniper, rifle, grenades, shotgun), TASTEE adds subcategories via special actions. So perhaps your shotgunner can also scout out enemies or your grenade person can launch an especially big grenade. Once everyone is unlocked through the campaign, there are 12 different characters to use. Best of all, at the start of each mission, the player choses who to take! Want 3 snipers, sure go ahead. This is a good change and adds a level of meta strategy to the game.

Who to chose

The game comes with a single-player campaign, instant skirmishes, and online duels. There is also a daily challenge with an online scoreboard so everyone can see the results. The campaign has a story, but it does not appear very important. This game is mainly about the online games and the developers seem to be putting quite a bit of effort into building community, with many polished and slick online integrations. As well as the online duels and daily challenge, there are links for Twitch broadcasting and an online chat server. An online competition is on right now.

I like these games, and this is a well-made entry into the genre. For those new to this type of game, it is definitely giving a try. Fans of the category will find playing like slipping on a well-loved sweater, but also with some nice improvements over similar games. If you are ready to wear the simultaneous turn-based sweater again, then TASTEE: Lethal Tactics is worth considering.

TASTEE: Lethal Tactics is available on the Steam store for PC only at US$14.99. It has not yet been bundled.

Good boy

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