I’ll start off by saying I have little experience in the way of games such as X-COM, but I know enough of the turn-based squad action genre to take a look at Shock Tactics from Point Blank Games. While it has some AI problems along with confusing and frustrating map designs, there’s still enough challenging turn-based action for serious players that can handle its shocking flaws.
Taking place on a dangerous planet, you control a group called the Free Space Pioneers who are trying to fight off the Imperial Consortium for ownership of the planet and it’s resources, namely a special kind of ore that can power nearly anything and be used to create super weapons. Anyone familiar with X-COM already knows how this will be played out, and that’s by using your teammates in turn-based combat that will put your strategy skills to the test. Starting with your base menu, you can select missions, customize your soldiers, accomplish tasks to unlock more abilities and other areas of your base, and more. Once you’ve selected your mission, loadout for your characters and such, it’s off to the squad based tactics action of the missions. Here you’ll find walls and other objects you and your enemies can use for cover, making for some interesting battles as anyone behind cover are more difficult to fight against.
Besides cover objects often getting in the way of most battles which will force you to constantly move the camera, the enemy AI can be quite annoying and frustrating as they tend to turtle up behind cover, placing you at a disadvantage as you move around trying to get a hit on them as they tear into you. While you do have some special abilities to help out such increased range accuracy, rapid fire, and some others, most can’t take away the frustration of dealing with coward enemies. The graphics and sounds don’t do much to help either, as they have a rough, last-gen look to them while the sounds serve their purpose and not much else.
With a little more polish, Shock Tactics could be a great alternative for X-COM players looking for their turn-based fix. But as it stands with wonky AI, so-so visuals and sound, and just an overall rushed feel to it, only the most hardcore and dedicated strategy players will be able to survive this shock.