Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble
Developed By: Area 35
Published By: Area 35
Release Date: 07.11.2019
Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is the sequel to 2017’s Tiny Metal and it is bringing all sorts of new content to the table. We have a similar model to the first game in the series, but with what the devs describe as “bigger, better, and more metal content”. This title doesn’t disappoint with the additions and changes made from the first game, and for anyone who yearns for the return of Advance Wars you have a spiritual successor that is lovingly crafted with all of the charm and aesthetic that originated from the Game Boy series. Originally a Kickstarter and bringing on a rockstar cast from across the industry, you have a game that really brings it home for fans of the genre.
This time around you are playing as the leader of the White Fangs, Commander Wolfram, as she searches for her brother and puts some heat under the invading Dinoldans. Stop the re-emergence of ancient technologies and power while restoring peace to the land at large in this title about the devastation of war and how it rocks a country to its core. Brought onto the writing staff for this title was Hiro Inaba, who has credits working with the Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright series’, so you know this is going to be an interesting one to play through from a story perspective.
Strategy games are a genre that allow for such diversity when it comes to aesthetic, setting, and much much more, and this game takes advantage of that while allowing for some classic ideas to return. You have the base gameplay that consists of building and moving units to defend and take control of buildings across the map. With this you also have to decide what units to create and where to deploy them to effectively take advantage of a rather deep strength and weakness system. You have anti-air, anti-vehicle, plain jane units and more, as this title brings 21 unit types to this already deep strategy game. You also have the addition of Hero units in the sequel that add some more interesting depth to the strategy of each map and give it some much needed flavor from the original.
In order to build these units, you have to use basic infantry to capture “city” structures throughout the map. These buildings are symbolized with tall towers and a downtown of a major city feel, and with the capture of these you gain a currency every turn that is used to create the attack units used to win the round. Capturing works based on the number of units in the particular soldier grouping you use to take over the city. For example, the basic soldier unit is considered to have a unit strength of 10, and so if you need 20 capture point to get the capture completed then it will take two rounds to start gaining the currency from said capture. And thus, if a unit gets hurt fighting it has a smaller unit strength and will take longer to complete capture. The system is simple, and easy to understand, and allows for some quick, and easy gameplay that isn’t bogged down by resource gathering or any other mechanics used in some titles of similar build.
Once you have your currency and begin building units out you can take the fight to the enemy and start to move towards the win objective. The win objectives vary a little from map to map, but basically you are looking to capture the enemy headquarters. This can be done while enemy units are still fighting throughout, so a full clear isn’t usually necessary to continue. This allows for things to not get bogged down for those that want to focus and run through the campaign, of which you will be sinking a good amount of time into anyways as you are looking at 39 missions for the base campaign. You also have some additional win conditions that are optional that make for replay potential, increased difficulty if you wish, and for some fun little challenges on the top. These include things like only creating a certain type of unit, finishing in a certain number of turns, and many many more options.
After completing the campaign, you have some additional content if you have not gotten your fill at this point. You also have skirmish and multiplayer modes that allow you to continue fighting on against new odds. In skirmish mode you will run through a whopping 77 maps that just take you right into the fight. You also have 21 of those maps that can be taken into the multiplayer mode where you can play against some real-life opponents as well. Along with the inclusion of four difficulty modes you can have a fully customized experience and have reasons to continue playing after your initial run to test your wits at higher difficulties.
Beyond that you have a cartoon aesthetic that oddly enough matches really well with the WW2 Japan feel the game presents as its setting. You have cute little units running around blasting each other to bits and reminds me a bit of it Toy Story had a game focused around the army men characters. With colors being utilized for HUD interface, and interesting use of pixel blocks to cover the “fog of war” portion of the game in which you can’t see what’s happening outside the view of your units you have a title that is really well designed and aesthetically pleasing in the art department. You also have a soundtrack that is something to marvel at. Done by composer Tomoki Miyoshi, with credits on the Steins;gate series, several of Tokyo RPG Factory’s Switch titles, as well as Soul Calibur V you have a musical experience before you that brings just the right tones to this title.
Overall Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble brings all the sugar and spice necessary to bake a great big Advance Wars cake. Anyone who loved that series and wishes it would make a triumphant return will be pleased to find this title coming out and taking the torch forward with the genre for the time being. This game is a ton of fun and allows for just enough depth, difficulty, and customization to allow most fans of the strategy genre to have a good time here. Definitely worth picking up for all the strategy or SPRG fans out there and here is to hoping for more games to continue on the ghost of Advance Wars past.