Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is one of those titles you'd be forgiven for completely missing out on. It has a low price point, had very little marketing and is a childish-looking indie game. However, the game itself is a surprisingly solid little strategy title that would be a great gateway title for those thinking about jumping into the genre but have yet to do so.
Simple to a fault could almost be used to describe Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution. This simplicity is a dual edged blade, because it makes this one of the most approachable strategy games I have ever played, and it carries with it a great deal of charm as well. The story is a simple thing, with a squirrel-based revolution because the poorer ones are ready to overthrow King Louis the Umpteenth. It is a ridiculous but almost adorable concept that plays out quite nicely in the quirky story mode.
The presentation is clearly indie, with charming graphics that will not tax your graphics card, but still provides plenty of smiles due to its vibrant use of color and cute character designs. The audio design doesn't really hold up quite as well. The simplicity and charm of the visuals makes for overly redundant and frankly boring sound effects. The music is cute enough, but completely forgettable. This makes the presentation something of a mixed bag, but all in all the effort is solid enough to allow the game's mechanics to shine through.
With over two dozen levels that fit the game's theme, you have a strategy title that plays out on a grid, like most other ones. You place your furry warriors and various objects onto the board almost akin to setting up a boardgame. You have to balance defense and offensive formations, and this is the heart of the game's mechanics. Variety comes from the different stages and the different commanders, each of whom has unique abilities to keep things fresh. The objective of hunting the base keeps things quite simple, as does the interface. I have played a lot of strategy games that work in a myriad of different variables that get calculated in the background. This is not nearly as complex as that.
This simplicity is wonderful if you are new to the genre. The rules are easy to understand and the game is fun with its quirky presentation. All of these things add up to a title that lends itself to newcomers in a way that most strategy games lack. The downside is that while Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is entertaining out of the gates, the lack of depth comes back to haunt you the further you get into it. A great strategy game tends to unveil new tricks, units and systems as you progress. Otherwise it grows stale by about the halfway point. To its credit, Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution feels fresh for longer than that, but by the game's conclusion it has not grown as much as I would have liked. The end result is a game that is fun for a while, but will likely not offer up enough intricacy and challenge for strategy veterans.
Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is a fun little title that at its asking price provides a good time for those looking for a tactics game without the need to study an entire encyclopedia of knowledge just to play. The rules are simple but fun, and the premise is silly but entertaining. There are certainly worse things in the world. However, those elements of charm and simplicity give way to a feeling of repetition by the game's end, and the joy of the first hour gives way to something that holds few surprises or rewards for your persistence.
High Tale Studios
Black Shell Media
Article by Nick