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Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 18 - 2018

Nazis and Lovecraftian horror in a turn-based tactics game. What’s not to like?

Auroch Digital take players back to World War 2 for this turn-based strategy game, tasking the player with saving the world by defeating both Nazis and horrors from the Cthulhu mythos. Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics may not have the most endearing title, but being loosely based on a popular tabletop board game, there will surely be plenty of players out there to whom the title means something. Add to this the fact that everyone enjoys shooting Nazis, and who doesn’t have fun facing eldritch horrors? Forget the name, this is all about the serious business of saving the world.

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Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics runs a reasonably decent narrative through the game, one involving the Nazis trying to summon and use Lovecraftian horrors to give them the edge towards the end of the war. Allied forces send a team in to put a stop to all of this occult nonsense. Players will, after working through a simple tutorial that introduces all the members of the team, be able to choose from a main mission or a side mission from a small map. Choosing the main mission could result in the side mission being no longer available, so the reality is that it is best to take each side mission first before doing the main mission. Anyway, once a mission is chosen, the player will be given a briefing that essentially lays out what the team need to do, while also expanding on the games narrative.

When the player loads up their mission, they will begin by guiding their team wholesale through a given environment. To begin with, it is mostly all about the forests, but the settings get more interesting as the player progresses. At this point, before the bullets start flying, moving just one member of the team will see them all move. However, once combat is started, things will become much more involved.

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The player will move their team through a fog of war, limiting their vision. As they move, the fog of war closes in behind them. The cool thing is that enemies can be seen moving through the fog, as darker figures giving the player an idea of where they are, without revealing what they are. This gives the player momentum to keep pushing forward, revealing their enemies, especially as firing at shadows will only give limited success. There are certain abilities that can expand the fog of war further out, but otherwise the player is mostly going to be advancing into the unknown, which is just what is needed to inspire a little terror.

When the combat kicks off, players will find themselves moving and acting with each team member in a turn-based process, similar to what can be seen in many other similar games. Each character has action points that dictate how much they can do in a turn. For example, moving a long distance may use up all of their action points, leaving them unable to defend themselves against whatever they find. Alternatively, they may be able to fire their weapon twice if they stay put. Getting into cover is important as it reduces the chance of being hit by enemy fire, but I found that the game very often only gave cover from certain directions, which were usually not where the enemy was coming from. Once a character is moved, the player then gets to choose which way they are facing, giving the character a defined area they can watch over, which is useful for overwatch.

Overwatch is something that XCOM players will be familiar with. It is where the character can set up, ready to fire and then shoot upon anything that moves in the enemies turn. In Achtung! this is complicated more by the cone of vision, and also by Momentum. These are another kind of point that the player earns by successfully killing or getting critical hits on the enemy, and it can be used for performing certain special actions, such as overwatch. Other actions that use Momentum may include firing a side arm, expanding that field of vision, or even using some special powers that the player may unlock as they progress. It’s a nice system that will allow the player to perform beyond the limitations of their standard action points, giving them an advantage over the enemy.

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Characters are afforded some protection with a luck bar, which takes damage before it starts affecting the characters health. However, they will also have to deal with stress, which is raised by taking damage or seeing an ally killed for example, and will result in unexpected behaviour, such as randomly shooting. It gives players yet more to consider.

Once a mission is finished, the player will return to the menus to choose the next mission. They will also be able to unlock any new skills they can in the characters skill trees. Each of the four characters has a defined role in the game, and as such their skill trees are locked down and limited, and while some of the unlocked abilities are impressive and exciting, most are fairly bland improvements. The same goes for the weapons, which again are pretty much fixed for each of the characters. There are a variety of supplemental items that can be equipped to characters, which can improve their weapons or help in other ways, but the selection is still limited.

So Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is pretty much all about the missions. There is very little going on outside the missions to distract the player, so hoping back in to take on the next location is almost all that is available. Fortunately, the combat itself is quite engaging, and there are plenty of tactical options available for the more advanced players. For the most part, players will be fighting against various Nazis, but as the title suggests, there are a few Cthulhu-based horrors that the player will find themselves up against. The problem is that it is only a small selection, and to be honest, they are not particularly horrible. I think there is more tension in seeing them in the shadows than when they are fully revealed.

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Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is a very focused turn-based strategy game, with the focus being on the encounters themselves rather than any bells and whistles outside the missions. While many veterans of the genre may yearn for more depth and variety, for newcomers who have been attracted by the promise of both Nazis and Cthulhu, the concentration on gameplay may well be on point. For those who just want to get on with the business of saving the world from Nazi occultists, Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics would not be a bad choice.




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