In this strange post-XCOM world, just about anything seems possible, so long as it’s turn-based and takes place on an easily read grid map. Insidia from indie studio Bad Seed is the latest free-to-play release to reach for a slice of that tactical pie, and it's just opened for public beta testing on Steam.
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Insidia’s angle is its pacing, with matches designed to play out in 15 minutes or less - breathlessly fast compared to many tactics games. Turns play out simultaneously with a time limit on planning your actions. Once both you and your opponent have committed your moves, it's time to hold breath and clench buttocks as you find out whether you managed to predict and outmanoeuvre your opponent. It's like Speed Chess by way of Heroes of The Storm.
Designed for snappy 1v1 combat, Insidia has a familiar, Blizzard-esque aesthetic to take the grimy edge off its post-apocalyptic wasteland setting. The game at the moment is polished but barebones. The current Early Access version contains six characters, and with each player fielding a team of four, expect to see a lot of mirrored match-ups at this stage of development.
Initial Steam reviews seem quite positive, although the success of the game is going to hinge entirely on how many players they can get in on the ground floor. At the price of free, and with the game looking so polished already, it should be worth taking a stab at if you’ve any sort of love for the genre.
Insidia is in open beta on Steam now, and is free-to-play with the option to buy the game outright (netting you a permanent account upgrade, unlocks of all present and future characters, and a pile of currency for buying everything else) for £13.79 - an option I’d like to see more free-to-play games offer.