Day 142: Storybook Tactics

Posted: 2011/03/31 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #143, and today’s game is “Storybook Tactics”.

You can’t always judge a book by its cover, and especially when that book is Storybook Tactics. One of only a very few tactics-style games available on Xbox Live (XBLA game Band of Bugs being the only other one that comes to mind). Tactics games, such as Final Fantasy Tactics and many other, are grid-based RPG combat games, and have been an enduringly popular (if somewhat niche) genre. This is an excellent example of a tactics-style of game, though with a unique Fisher Price-ish look, and highly recommended for anyone who’s either already a fan, or who has never played a tactics game but is curious about them (since this is perhaps the most reasonably priced way to experience it, at only 80 Microsoft Points).

First, from the developer (MercuryWave):

“Necromancers have cast a spell over the great warriors of the land. Free them from the spell and bring them together to overthrow the evil necromancers!”

Tactics game vary most noticeably on how heavily story-based they are. Storybook Tactics has less focus on its narrative, and more focus on the combat. The minimal plot is made up for by a very deep game, with dozens of characters to unlock, and branching paths through the game. The game’s depth means there’s a lot to explain, and that gives Storybook Tactics a feel of taking a while to really get in gear, but once you master the learning curve you find yourself swept away by a campaign where your decisions significantly affect the outcome of encounters.

I really like the look of the game, it reminds me of those 5×5 pixel depictions of famous video game characters, where they try to depict a well known character with as few pixels as possible. The game is not perfect, the included documentation could be a bit more detailed, but with a bit of experimentation it’s easy to jump in and have a great experience.

Click here to download “Storybook Tactics”, and then please come back to rate the game.

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