July 8, 2024

Fair and Square: A Geometric Twist on the Classic RTS

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Fair and Square: A Geometric Twist on the Classic RTS

By Nick | July 8, 2024
Fair and Square A Geometric Twist on the Classic RTS

Where Triangles Wage War and Circles Roll to Victory

In the early days of real-time strategy games, simplicity reigned supreme. Those who cut their teeth on classics like Dune, Command & Conquer, or Warcraft fondly remember when commanding armies was as straightforward as point-and-click. There was a charming intuitiveness to these games that allowed players to dive right in and focus on strategy rather than wrestling with complex control schemes.

It's refreshing to see modern games that harken back to this era of simplicity while incorporating a fresh touch. Fair and Square, by indie developer Octopus Engine, is one title that aims to recapture the charm of those early RTS experiences.

Read about The Evolution of RTS Game Design

Where Geometry Meets Strategy

Discover Fair and Square, the innovative RTS game blending classic mechanics with roguelike elements. From indie title from Octopus Engine

At its core, Fair and Square offers a familiar RTS framework, allowing players to grasp the basics quickly. Players can easily select units, order construction, manage build queues, and collect resources. The need to explore and secure new resource points as existing ones are depleted adds a dynamic element to gameplay.

Adding a host of unique runic empowerments adds depth and re-playability, ensuring that no two playthroughs are identical. These runes, akin to shrines and temples, provide buffs that introduce an element of strategy and adaptability, as players must learn to leverage their acquired abilities to overcome increasingly difficult challenges.

The game offers both single-player and co-op features, but the survival mode is where you will likely spend most of your time. This mode keeps players engaged by providing consecutive waves of enemies, each presenting a steadily increasing challenge. While the difficulty ramps up significantly after, say the seventh wave, it remains manageable and doesn't become frustratingly impossible

Geometric Warfare

Discover Fair and Square, the innovative RTS game blending classic mechanics with roguelike elements. From indie title from Octopus Engine

Graphically, the game adopts a minimalist approach that is appealing in its simplicity. Initially, I thought I'd accidentally opened my old high school geometry book, as units take on the shapes of circles and squares. However, the visuals could be elevated with additional details. For example, adding shading effects to the triangle and circle units to simulate rotation or tumbling would add depth and movement, enhancing the overall 3D perspective..

As solid as the game mechanics are, the game will definitely benefit from further refinement in some vital areas. First, the limited animation, particularly during resource gathering, leaves something to be desired. Only sparkles indicate active resource collection, whereas adding visible beams or mechanical arms could significantly enhance the visual feedback and immersion.

Second, combat animations also need improvement. Despite featuring large-scale battles, the current visuals do not convey the epic scope one expects from an RTS title. The battles feel somewhat tame, lacking the intensity and grandeur typically associated with massive clashes.

Third, the game's UI and tutorials require some attention with the user interface, particularly the fonts, benefitting from being larger for improved readability. Additionally, the tutorials need to be fleshed out a bit more to provide clearer guidance and explanation, especially for new players.

Lastly, and most notable issue is the tendency for some units to become stuck when surrounded by buildings. In these situations, units flicker in place, requiring manual waypoints to guide them out of the congested area. This can disrupt the flow and may frustrate players in intense moments.

The Shape of Things to Come

Despite these areas for potential improvement, the game shows promise as an innovative entry in the RTS world. Its blend of old-school mechanics, roguelike elements, and unique unit design offers a distinctive experience for both new and seasoned strategy fans.

As Octopus Engine continues to refine and polish the game's foundation, Fair and Square has the potential to carve out its own niche in the world of real-time strategy games. Perhaps in the next update, they'll surprise us with rhombuses or trapezoids as new units. Just don't blame us if players start having flashbacks to geometry pop quizzes

This article is brought to you by the letter 'W' – as in 'Wow, I need more!' Find your next 'wow' moment in our Review section.

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