Tiny Metal is a military themed, turn-based, strategy game similar to Advance Wars. The game is broken up into levels, each one taking roughly 30 minutes, requiring you to clear the map of your foe’s military or conquer their headquarters to win.
At the beginning of each level you’ll start with one or two units, foot soldiers or vehicles that you’ll have to use to capture buildings around the map in order to expand your territory and build up your army. These buildings all have various purposes once captured; for instance, if you capture a headquarters it can be used as a deployment position for new units or if you capture a hospital it can be used to heal your troops. It’s nothing extraordinary for a strategy game but it adds that little additional gameplay element of healing or deploying units that can mean the difference between a win and a loss in some levels.
The core gameplay relies on the unit’s strengths and weaknesses, so when certain units face-off against each other it’s likely one of them will have an advantage over the other and therefore it is vital to organise your troops well to ensure a successful outcome. There is a big variety of different units that can be deployed from regular foot soldiers (which have an increased building capture time, are weak to vehicles but strong against snipers at close range) to tanks (which have a generally good attack and defence against everything except helicopters but have a small movement range to counter balance it). There are several more units that all have varying strengths and weaknesses which add some complexity to matters that you must keep in mind when mid-battle.
In between levels you will get sections of dialogue and screens of text that will fill you in on a very basic and, to be honest, forgettable story. All the text seems to have been translated from Japanese, some of which is difficult to read due to misinterpretation during translation. The other very noticeable downside to the story is all of the spoken dialogue is still spoken in Japanese and there is no option to change the language. To be completely honest we found the game to be far more enjoyable during the combat gameplay and that there was far too much unnecessary text tacked on to flesh out the game.
Furthermore, it’s unfortunate that Tiny Metal currently lacks a multiplayer mode as we can see this being an absolute blast with a few friends. Going by the menu there is a multiplayer mode in the works, but any details on this remain a mystery for now.
Tiny Metal is a fun military-themed, turn-based strategy game. It manages to put your brain in gear with the troops' different strengths and weaknesses creating interestingly close battles. However without a multiplayer mode, some translation issues, and a text-heavy story the game falls short of being a must buy.