If you’ve been paying attention, you know I’ve been dying for a cool strategy game. It’s unfortunate that Microsoft doesn’t show more love to their XNA-powered indie developers, who toss games out at smartphone prices. The first title we want to show love for? Tacticolor.
If you’ve played Galcon on any platform, this is going to be seem pretty similar. Your playfield is a clustered of intertwined islands that can only be accessed by other, adjacent islands. As your empire gets larger, you can deploy units (in the crudest sense of the world, they’re essentially play pieces) to the board. Everything plays out in real time, leaving you scrambling to take over hub territories before enemies work your forces. It’s tug of war on a game board scale and it goes fast. Unlike Galcon, the number of pieces you can keep on each territory is capped, leaving you unable to build some comically-sized mega-fleet to roll your opponents. As a result, you’ll need to play your hand in order to take advantage of your stream of reinforcements. The game is always pushing you forward and an exposed flank will ensure lost ground. The art direction is perfect: isometric, colorful, and animated well. Having the cursor snap to different territories (as opposed to using a sensitive cursor) is fine enough, but it doesn’t quite work at points. This is a nitpick.
It would honestly be great to see a slightly more complex version of the game with abstracted supply lines and a few (not many) different units), but at the whopping price of $1 (80MS points), you can’t go wrong with Tacticolor.
If you have a favorite Xbox Live Indie Game or are a developer who’d like to show us your goods, send me an e-mail!