Drone Tactics is a complex-but-simple strategy game. The game is aimed towards kids, but also has surprisingly mature and in-depth characterization and in-depth tactics. Story play is somewhat easy and fun, while the more experienced players battle the 'Badlands', a collection of 60 levels with a difficulty level so high only a few players may beat the entirety of them.
Players pilot a team of 8 bug mechs and their mobile base along wide maps filled with other bug mechs. The tactics revolve around the great differences between melee/gun/cannon mode of attack, and leg/tire/tread/flying mode of mobility, accented by anti-ground, anti-air, beam, versatile, and special units. The player must become intimately concerned with all the tactical aspects of their units, the enemy units, the terrain, and the battle system in general, and piloting their drones with this in mind can mean the difference between a mission being near-impossible, simply difficult, and not.
Yamato and Tsubasa are friendly and curious kids who study bugs in their free time. When they find strange bugs who can somehow speak to them, their world is changed beyond their imagination, and they are set on a path to save these bugs' world- from their own race! Cimexus, a peaceful and magical planet of unified intelligent bugs, is covered with a potent magic left behind by humans who had once come here before. and now, that magic is being abused by a new group of humans, Dr. Gidoh and the Four Generals of the Black Swarm. Yamato, Tsubasa, and their uncle Dr. Sakuma fight for peace on Cimexus again.
The story is set to a strangely unique mix of childish and simple characters, to appeal to kids, and complex lore and subtly realistic and human characters, which appeal to the mature audience. The plot is a middle-ground of both, and the dialogue sways back and forth between the two. There is optional dialogue between each mission, filling out the story and the characters.
There are over 25 missions in the story, and 13 allies to recruit, each unique. Through the course of the game, the battles are moreso intended for fun and storyline*, with most missions containing various secrets or optional difficulty. One of the most dominant aspects of optional difficulty is never touching the Badlands to level up or earn great gear before finishing the game, turning the Story Mode into strategic hell.
Easy/Normal/Hard difficulty is handled entirely by the difficulty of winning in the card minigames, and the AI's intelligence and choices, dodging the often-occuring artificial difficulty most games stumble onto. It has such a profound affect on the Badlands that it makes the Badlands unbeatable on Hard Mode, and near-impossible on Normal Mode (though that is intentional). Despite its possible difficulty, all maps can be won, no matter the challenge*.
The bulk of the game, and the part of the game most mature players will look forward to. Despite the fact that new drones must be unlocked by playing the story, and the Badlands requires intricate use of all the units, the difficulty level is moderate in the beginning, slightly increasing with each mission. Unit level increases by a range of 5 with each 10 Badlands levels cleared, until level 30 by Badlands 50-60, the maximum unit level. The difficulty spikes sharply at Badlands 30, and continues to get more difficult with each level. Rather than the entire group having a small collection of cards, like the player (and enemy in story missions) are confined to, in the Badlands, each enemy has their own collection of cards which they may proceed to use every turn. The latter half of the Badlands requires perfect strategy, even on Easy Mode.
Secrets and ChallengesEdit
Both the story mode and the Badlands are peppered with secrets. Various areas have intricate symbols etched into the terrain which can net the player high-powered cards by drawing them back, and most story missions have islands with capsules which are out of the way of the main mission. Roughly a third or fourth of the story chapters, canonically, the characters are fleeing while being assaulted by difficult enemies. The player is not supposed to tackle much in the Badlands at all until they beat the game, but the player can train in the badlands to gain enough levels to beat all the enemies without fleeing. However, if the player trains in the badlands, this disables them from the experience of being low-level and piloting the snail to the destination point before it is destroyed, creating a kind of reverse-secret where the difficulty level is rocketed up and the playstyle of the game completely changes if the player does not fight the Badlands at all. The cards system may not be extensively diverse, but features a kind of level up system utilizing multiples of cards, making the final levels of the cards almost like unlockables, especially when involving cards only obtainable in high levels in the Badlands. The final Cimexus Hymn healing card requires the equivalent of 45,667 Flitter Dance cards, the Scorpion Tail requires the equivalent of 506 Neptune Horn cards of which merely the second level of cards are rare, and the beam-defending Water Bear card requires a hard 90 actual somewhat-rare Bagworm Shell cards.