Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL is fun, but this is little more than a mobile port. The FingerGuns Review;
It’s nice to see Tiny Troopers appear on the Switch. So often I’ve mentioned when doing reviews for Switch games is how at home certain titles feel on Nintendo’s superlative hybrid machine and once again, Tiny Troopers is no different. Another delightful indie that was bouncing from platform to platform before finding residence on its rightful home.
Something else that should be noted is how few of these games we currently have on the platform so far. A more colourful attempt at building something akin to Command and Conquer for a full-on mainstream audience, Tiny Troopers XL tasks you with controlling an army that houses some serious weaponry, along the way recruiting a vast selection of specialist mercenaries from a variety of backgrounds, such as Machine Gunners and Medical experts, all tasked the stand alongside the Elite Delta Force, throwing missions your way such as destroying outposts, rescuing hostages, collecting Intel and more. There’s plenty of bang for your bucks here, with the game stretching across 60+ missions, alongside the now genre-standard wave maps and zombie modes (which is a little boring, sadly. It’s essentially the same structure as the original missions with a slower enemy that no longer shoots at you).
Aspects of the game that are specific to this XL version over previous console releases is naturally, the Switch itself. You can play the game using a touchscreen (which will feel right at home with players who have already experienced this game on phones and tablets). Being able to simply tap on enemies in order for your armies to aim their guns in that direction is handy and you’ll find yourself leaning towards that particular style of play more often than not. The twin stick shooting is still present and correct, but there’s little more direct that simply tapping on what you want to be shot at.
In terms of Switch specifics though, that’s about it. The game is more or less what you know from other systems if you’ve had the chance to play it elsewhere. There’s a genuine lack of variety in the missions which is a bit of a problem, even if what it does do, it does very well. It’s just a shame there’s a little too much reliance on very repetitive game mechanics that slowly wither the experience into a territory that a game like this shouldn’t find itself in. Where’s the replay value? There’s little here once you finish the campaign and collected all dog tags, Intel, weapons and that’s about it. You’re left with just spending cash to upgrade your gear and that becomes a slog and strips you out of the fun the game began so strongly with. The action is humourous, there’s a fun story being told throughout and it keeps you engaged from that perspective, it’s just a little disappointing to see Epiphany Games weren’t a little more risky with their approach.
Visually, there isn’t much to shout about. It looks near enough identical with what you may have experienced on the mobile versions. It’s all a bit dark and low-res, leading us to think there wasn’t really enough love given to this particular version in that department. There was also a few frame-rate issues, which on a system like the Switch on a game that isn’t particularly visually taxing, is bordering on the criminal.
If you can get past the shoddy visuals, the terrible music and the repetitive gameplay, there genuinely is a fun game to be had below the surface. The issues being of course that this could be so much better than what, sadly, feels like a cash-in port of a title that deserves better. I’ve had fun with Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL, but unfortunately it was short lived once the cracks began to show.
I do hope Epiphany Games work on making this version a little more polished or build a whole new Tiny Troopers experience for Switch because as I said at the top, there’s a game and a half here waiting to be played on a platform that can lend itself well to this kind of game.
Joint Ops XL isn’t it, though. Not one bit.
Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL is available now on Nintendo Switch (reviewed).
Developer: Epiphany Games
Publisher: Wired Productions
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy please go here.