War might be hell, but this is the funniest way to fight in one, take control of your tiny soldiers and capture checkpoints, eliminate enemy infantry and vehicles and protect the civilians. That’s right, Tiny Troopers are invading the Xbox One.
Tiny Troopers begins with a short cartoon-like cinematic to introduce you to the war raging on, and it’s your job as the commander of an elite troop of soldiers to complete certain objectives.
Initially gameplay feels like a modern day Cannonfodder, and anyone who played the retro classic will know that only means great things.
WIth movement on your left stick and firing on the right it’s a piece of cake to get to grips with the controls, there’s also Grenades, Rockets and air strikes which are activated using right bumper and the two triggers. X instructs your troops to drop down to avoid nearby explosions and the Y button brings up a support menu for you to purchase the above weaponry as well as medipack, intel to reveal enemy and pickup locations across the map, a speed boost or an airborne reinforcement for when you’ve suffered a casualty. Finally the ‘A’ button will reveal a map which is an integral part to working your way from start to finish.
Missions start off pretty simple, with a simple journey A to B taking down a few enemies on the way, but soon enough you’re taking on tanks, avoiding air strikes and destroying enemy buildings, the variation of missions is above average, but there’s always going to be a little feeling of repetitiveness when there’s such a selection of missions overall.
On the initial campaign as a Soldier there’s 3 chapters each with 10 missions, you’ll probably spend a good few hours working through one chapter and there’s always the option of returning with 4 difficulty levels to work through,
The second game mode is the Spec Ops campaign, this one has 4 chapters, but each only has 7 missions, already that’s 58 missions to enjoy but there’s also bonus Zombie missions as well as the XombieOne mode which gives a further 4 zombie missions.
The Zombie levels work similar to a horde mode, where you are rapped in an area with zombies and of course zombie chickens spawning around you, survive past the first few waves and you’ll open up a small side area and a second soldier to join you, keep progressing and you’ll unlock a 3rd and 4th which will help to repel the ever increasing strength and numbers of zombies.
Between both the standard campaigns and zombies there’s a great selection of enemies, and while Zombie mode gives you limited weaponry with random air drops, the campaigns challenge you to work towards the upgrades.
When starting a mission you’re taken to an upgrade screen, you can pay the premium for a one time specialist who will join your squad for a single mission, these guys prove useful with abilities such as automatically healing, or wielding weapons like a flame thrower or gatling gun, however these require medals to unlock and a healthy amount of coins to use each time.
Coins are an important part of gameplay, every kill and objective carries with it a cash reward. This cash can be stored for a greater score at the end of the mission or spent during your battle for air strikes and support. The more you save the better upgrades you can buy before the next mission and you might not want to leave it too long before you grab some gun attachments to improve range, accuracy and firepower.
Soon enough you’ll also be looking at the outfits, which range from cheap and cheerful to expensive with more perks, saving up 500,000 coins will give you a swanky white outfit which also gives more hit points, a bonus of cash for every completed mission as well as a reduction to enemy awareness.
The extra upgrades and unlocks really add some welcome depth to Tiny Troopers, and if a fan of Cannon Fodder wanted a modern day remake, you really wouldn’t want it much different from Tiny Troopers.
Graphically the cartoon approach wont please everybody, but it fits the fun and simple mechanics of the core gameplay, environments are varied, colourful and at times deceitful as you’ll find enemies hiding among the tree’s to catch you off guard.
The audio is mostly very impressive, with varied enough sound effects, some fun and clear voice acting, however zombie mode brings out the worst as the constant defensive fire leaves a pretty annoying rat-tat-tat-tat of your weapons constantly.
Finally Value… 58 missions, and then the zombie missions as well, there’s plenty of variety, lots of upgrades to purchase and more than enough reason to keep challenging yourself to return for the medals scattered through most levels to unlock specialists as well as fund the revival of any fallen comrades.
My only gripe is that there’s no online play, ‘Joint Ops’ does give a multiplayer vibe, but there’s no way of splititng your team between 2 or even 4 players for co-op action which would be great for family play, and even more fun fending off those zombie chickens.