A simplified RTS that’ll put you to sleep.

Title: 8-Bit Armies
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Petroglyph Games
Publisher: Petroglyph Games
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: A perfect game… to knock you out
Price: Console: $30/£25
PC: $15/£11
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

8-Bit Armies is a fast-paced, friendly, accessible Real Time Strategy (RTS) game, which first saw release on PC via Steam way back in April 2016. While the game lacks a proper story mode per se, it does feature a whopping 25 single player missions spread across Renegades and Guardians armies, 12 co-op missions, multiplayer, and skirmish modes which is sure a decent amount of replay value. While the RTS genre can be daunting, Petroglyph Games made sure that 8-Bit Armies would be a simplified version of the genre so that anyone can jump in. Two years after its original release, 8-Bit Armies finally makes it to the PS4 and Xbox One, so how does it hold up?

As stated, 8-Bit Armies is an RTS game. But what does that entail? It means players have to think and act quickly in order to not only conquer the enemy base, but also protect their own territory and carefully constructed camp. Players need to build and manage resources in order to be able to survive and pump out soldiers ready to fight.

Players will start out matches with a set amount of cash in order to construct buildings, which will allow them to generate more money and subsequently soldiers. Spending money building things like power plants and refineries will start the flow of money of your base, whereas barracks and garages will let you to pump out your army of soldiers and assault vehicles. Each of those have up to three types of soldiers/vehicles assigned to three different controller face buttons. Depending on the amount of money you have, you can press a button multiple times, and the game will create the same amount of soldiers/vehicles. This deliberately designed as it allows players to control a type of soldier with one of the face buttons – meaning you can have a handful of artillery protecting your base, while you send another off attacking the enemy base.

Interestingly enough, as players go through the game and progress through the bevvy of missions, they’ll be able to unlock stronger and more powerful weaponry and buildings. You’ll start off with machine gun soldiers, grenade launchers, and armored jeeps, then you’ll work your way up to earn to stronger munitions such as tanks. Furthermore, each mission will have a set of “optional,” objectives (besides destroying the enemy base) such as beating a mission under a set time, which can be accomplished to earn a three star score at the end of the missions. Thankfully, while missions won’t always be completed quickly (depending on your strategic thinking) there’s a handy save and quit feature allowing players to exit mid-mission. The problem is that the game feels tedious and boring. It’s quite easy to just generate a handful of soldiers and send them off to the enemy and just space out and literally forget what you were doing in game.

I’ll flat out admit it that I’m a sucker for 8-bit games, which is why I feel like the overall presentation is definitely the game’s strongest point. Seeing those little blocky soldiers walk around shooting blocks out of their cute little weapons makes it fun and mesmerizing to watch. One thing’s for sure, the game is very colorful to compensate for the lack of detailed environment, considering it’s an 8-bit looking game. Audio-wise, however, it’s another story. The game features a generic hard rock score, but for whatever reason, sometimes, the score will just fade out and fade back in for a few seconds, or even minutes later. Interestingly, the characters’ “voices,” (for the lack of a better term) are reminiscent of arcade sounds, which actually gave me chills and brought me back to a more simplified era of gaming.

While 8-Bit Armies’ concept of a simplified RTS game is appealing, the genre is definitely not for everyone. Micro-managing your base is actually pretty fun as you decide what you need to build to increase your cash flow and reaching new and stronger types of soldiers, but the game does feel boring at times. Once you have everything set up and enough soldiers walking around, you can simply put down the controller (or pass out) and let things roll out by themselves. It feels dull and a drag playing it on a big TV; ironically enough, it feels like this game would’ve been perfect for the Nintendo Switch. It’s hard to explain, but by playing it, it’d rather enjoy this on the go than on the couch.

The Good

  • Love the 8-bit homage
  • Simplified RTS

The Bad

  • Boring
  • Patience required

Family Focus

8-Bit Armies is rated E10+ and PEGI7 due to the presence of fantasy violence and mild blood. I wouldn’t expect armies to talk things out.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.