The key to streamlining a concept is knowing when to stop hacking at it. Sacraboar has stripped too much from the RTS template, to the detriment of its one-on-one capture the flag action.
Two opponents face off over a symmetrical map, each of their bases stocked with a castle (for troop spawning), a power station (they speed up construction) and a pig (your bacon flavored flag). In battle, there are just six types of troop to choose from. Men in armor, men with arrows, tanks on stilts, flying bats... Each has a specific role to play. Faster units, like the tribal hunters, are designed to capture a piggy. Tanks blow most stuff up, but they’re countered by an EMP firing, ultro-tank. Bats hover overhead, spitting goo, but they’re easily grounded by hatchet chucking infantry. Stupid bats.
It’s a maze of micromanagement. You have to be intimately familiar with what each unit does, or you’re going to get hammered. And that’s where it all falls apart. The inept art design is the worst failing. Your troops are indistinct, and difficult to tell apart. More often than not, you’ll be left exposed because you simply can’t make out your targets in the melee.
A bucketload of competitive modes cover for Sacraboar’s sparse central game; leagues, tournaments and handicap challenges are neat additions, but they highlight how lightweight the game is. Sacraboar may well find a comfortable pocket of support. It’s laser-focused on delivering a tense, one-on-one game, but its rewards are blurred under no-frills packaging and a too-serious demeanor.
Jan 6, 2010