If you’ve ever played strategy games like Advanced Wars, then chances are you’re going to really enjoy Tiny Metal. A lot of what made that series addictive and enjoyable is exactly what you get in this new simulation strategy game from developer Area 35. However, while there are changes to the gameplay in Tiny Metal to distinguish itself from its biggest inspiration, a lot of it can feel redundant and stretched out at times with very little payoff. Though this doesn’t make Tiny Metal a bad game, a shallow story and long skirmishes could turn some people off from becoming fully invested in it.
You’ll have to be clever when playing through the campaign or skirmishes in Tiny Metal, but the reward for victory might not be as satisfying for everyone. Campaign stages and Skirmish battles can take a long time, depending on the scenario and what units you have available. While objectives may require you to clear out a map of enemies or capture a specific area, lacking the right units and resources can force you into a prolonged battle. This can also be made more difficult with how some units can’t move as well as others, making for a very slow crawl towards your objectives.
When you’re finally in battle, things are pretty straight forward. Some units can defeat certain enemies much easier, while others may have more situation specific uses to them. This is mixed up however by the use of the Focus Fire ability, which allows you to combine the stats and firepower of multiple units onto a single enemy.
Every skirmish you find yourself in while require to use Focus Fire, but there are some situations where it becomes useless, where stats are simply not enough to damage certain enemies without the right units. This might be where a lot of the strategy comes into play, but it can quickly back you into a bad corner when you unintentionally attack with the wrong type of units.
Tiny Metal’s gameplay may be interesting to most, but the campaign story you can play through isn’t as much so. You have characters that are part different armies within Tiny Metal’s world, but the story between them is very shallow and filled with many anime arch-types that don’t do much for its plot. Most of the time spent playing through the campaign of Tiny Metal will be in the long battles and not as much on the dialogue before and after stages. Playing missions in the campaign will help you learn the basics of the gameplay, but the story is downright forgettable.
Unfortunately, Tiny Metal lacks additional content outside of the Campaign and Skirmish mode. There is a 1 vs. 1 multiplayer mode on the Nintendo Switch version of the game, which can be done through local play or online, however it is unavailable at launch and won’t be playable until later via an update. You can view data entries for friendly units and enemies in the game’s Metalpedia, but you only get a basic overview of each one, with a few extra journal entries you can find during the campaign. This is bare bones at best and hardly feels like a reward for achieving victory in campaign missions.
If you need a game that can help you pass the time, then Tiny Metal will help fit that niche. The strategy gameplay elements don’t get overly complex, but are challenging enough to make you think up smart ways for achieving victory. However, don’t expect much else beyond that. There isn’t a lot of bonuses to earn, nor an interesting story to really hold your attention. The lack of online or local multiplayer upon launch is a real disappointment, even for those patient enough to wait for the patch that adds it later on. Tiny Metal is not a bad game, but one that definitely feels a bit slim.
This review is based on a digital review code for Tiny Metal on the Nintendo Switch, provided by UNTIES and Sony Music Entertainment.