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R-Type is a long standing shoot 'em up that revolved around your ability to control a satellite unit to adjust your firepower. R-Type Tactics takes the world of ships and enemies created for the franchise and weaves a turn based strategy game around them.
Turn based strategy games are the video gaming equivalent of chess, risk and other board games. The player is presented with a tile based environment and a number of pieces which they can position and move. These games usually revolve around some military conflict.
When the player directs an encounter to take place the comparative stats of vehicles, characters and current landscape are used to calculate the winner. Forest usually makes you harder to hit, whilst tanks do more damage than infantry.
The game is unusual in the genre for it's side-on visuals, rather than the more common top-down aspect. Most levels are structured this way, with units starting far left and objectives sitting tot he right. This impacts gameplay as units must always travel left to right - rather than the free-roaming of other games.
Players will be drawn to the game for its space fight aesthetic and the encyclopedic drawing on the R-Type universe. But even those not fans of the series will find the experience to commanding these well designed spacecraft appealing.
The strict side-on view point ensure the game retains its signature look and feel - and to the passer by simply looks like another R-Type shoot 'em up game (temporarily paused).
As the player progresses and the battles involve larger levels and more craft the time required to play also spirals upwards. The turn based nature of the game makes for a more pedestrian pace, although this does allow players to save at any point..
Much of the R-Type franchise and mechanics will be over the heads of younger gamers. Those a little older may take a little persuading to get into the game. Because of its adherence to the R-Type cannon it initially seems pretty dense and complex. Given time though and a solid tactical role play game emerges.
Expert gamers are most likely to appreciate the franchise as a whole and therefore get the most out of this game. The great reproduction of the fast paced action shoot 'em up as a start-stop turn based game is achievement in itself. Those who remember player R-Type games in local arcades during their youth will thrill at the chance to get there hands on a wide range of craft and in general - for this very different R-Type experience.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: