Brass Tactics Impressions: A Solid VR RTS Experience

Game: Brass Tactics
Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Reviewed: Oculus Rift

I enjoy the occasional RTS against friends and there’s definitely a large market of video games available to choose from. When I was presented with Brass Tactics, a VR RTS, I was a bit wary of how the experience would be. Up until this point, I found VR on the Oculus Rift to be impressive in truly immersing myself in the whole experience of being within a different world.

From the info I gathered prior to starting the game up, Brass Tactics looked like a typical board game with RTS elements. After a few minutes of the game, I was hooked and eager to face against worthy adversaries.

In a lot of ways, Brass Tactics is a virtual board game as players will be hovering over the battlegrounds like a tabletop while commanding their troops and managing resources. However, this is still very much an RTS video game where strategy is constantly evolving, though the title does offer more of a beginner-friendly experience.

With that said, some of the finer tweaks you may be familiar with for other standard RTS video games might not be present. That shouldn’t sway you from checking Brass Tactics out as the game is still a very solid title.

As mentioned above, players will hover around the tabletop where you’ll see the entire battlefield. There’s nothing hiding you from seeing just what the other player is doing, but if you think that will make things a bit easier on your end then think again. Because this is an RTS, your opponent is constantly moving around the board as well, adjusting troops and managing resources. The longer you’re staring at your opponent the longer you’re missing your opportunity to build up your end of the battlefield.

If you’re familiar with RTS then a lot of the main elements are present. You’ll slowly gather resources such as coal and diamonds to build up towers around the board. Depending on the tower, you can summon a variety of troops. They can range from vehicle destruction type weapons, warriors, archers, and Calvary to just name a few.

Of course, certain troop towers may be locked away regardless of how much resources you’ve managed to acquire. Brass Tactics will unlock a new tier of towers to place on the battlefield simply by upgrading your castle or otherwise known as your base.

By adding in castle specific towers you’ll be able to upgrade your troops or speed up gathering resources. Normal standard troop based towers don’t get set up specifically at your base. Instead, there are dedicated areas to place a new tower around the map, all of these can be claimed by either team.

You’ll need to send a troop to the area in order to be claimed by a tower. This will also unlock a new area to gather resources whereas your tower can help spawn new troops if you have the necessary resources at hand. Likewise, scattered throughout the map is additional support such as cannons to help defend an area from when the opposing player makes a move to take over.

The battles can be intense once a sizeable group is acquired. Not only do certain troops work best against other specific troops, but with upgrades into play such buffed attacks you’ll find that every move will need to be strategic if you wish to win the war.

Sometimes it’s best to abandon a tower, regroup to a new location, set a diversion to draw the opposing force into a different area in the map while you make the real move with the brunt of the force relocated. You’re going to find that the game will have you constantly moving around the map to see just what is happening on all fronts and it very well may alter your entire strategy at any give moment.

When you managed to storm through the opposing force, players are only able to win the game by destroying the opposing castle base or if the opposing player concedes.

Visually, the game is a bit cartoonish so don’t expect anything too realistic. Though, the battles are still thrilling to watch up close when you zoom into the battlefield.

Brass Tactics offers a few different game modes to play as well. Not only is there the standard campaign, but the game does offer independent standalone matches which you can select a map along with adjusting your opponent’s difficulty. Outside of that, there is a matchmaking option to go against another player online.

Fortunately for you, if you’re still on edge when it comes to purchase a copy of Brass Tactics then you can opt to try the game out for free. A demo version of the game known as Brass Tactics Arena opens up a locked down version of the full game, allowing you to experience the first two campaign missions along with the ability to go through AI skirmishes.

All-in-all, Brass Tactics is a very solid title and it’s definitely one game that is well worth trying even if you’ve never been much of an RTS fan. With the free demo version available then there’s no reason not to give this game an honest try. Brass Tactics may just surprise you as not only a fun game but an incredible RTS experience.

You can download Brass Tactics right now on the Oculus Rift storefront for $39.99. Likewise, the Brass Tactics Arena can be downloaded for free.


Full Disclosure: A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for purposes of this review.