LET THEM FIGHT

Review: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

There’s something primal about smashing two things together and seeing what happens. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (TABS) lets you do just that. This early access strategy title allows you to pit (small) armies against one another just like you’ve always wanted to. 

If you peruse the product description, you’ll find it tells you that the game provides ‘never-before-seen insight to our greatest battles of history’. It’s completely true if you’re five years old and consider smashing dinosaur figurines into one another great entertainment. I was and I do. TABS is good, honest rag doll physics fun. It’s not trying to be anything it isn’t; it’s self-aware entertainment. 

There are two modes: campaign and sandbox. The campaign mode lets you pit your wits and luck against a series of designed encounters in stages ranging from Dynasty to Renaissance and all the way back again. Levels are grouped around these stages based on the troops you can use. Units from each period follow a progression from cheap melee-based David’s to hulking Goliath’s. The breadth of units keeps the gameplay encounters fresh despite uninspired level design.

Meanwhile, the sandbox lets you play director as you set down units for both sides of the battle. No winners, no losers. Just smash them together and see what happens. The real appeal comes from mixing units from different periods. Samurai vs pirates? See what happens. 

The AI leaves a lot to be desired. You’re not leading lions here, just big horn sheep that ram against one another until one’s still standing. Arrows fly wildly off course and God forbid your units get close to one another. They throw bombs at walls to bounce straight back at themselves. They are the dumbest mountain sheep I’ve ever seen. But you learn to work with it. The clunky-ness is part of the charm. 

The project roadmap lays out future plans for the game to be led out of early access. More classes and new maps are very welcome but do not recognise the potential of the game Landfall Games has created. There’s clear room for expansion, whether it’s allowing for community-generated levels or multiplayer matches. The 2 vs. 2 mode from Clash Royale would perfectly complement the chaotic style of TABS. I hope for these to come all the same — whether in a sequel or as DLC.

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is an interesting little game that fills in the lockdown schedule of ‘not much to do’ between late and later in the afternoon. It’s worth a look. 

Feature image courtesy of Landfall Games