For those looking for a squad-based strategy game where you take the fight to the aliens for a change, Shock Tactics may be just the game for you. Combining the tense turn-based battles of XCOM with procedurally generated maps and planetary exploration, Shock Tactics is attempting to chart new territory in the growing ‘XCOM-like’ subgenre.
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Rather than as a clandestine black ops group tasked with keeping the Earth safe from invasion, Shock Tactics has players blasting off into the great beyond to take the role of violent space colonist. As the first wave of the Free Space Pioneers, it’s your job to explore the alien world of Hephaest, scour its surface for any alien technology and dispatch any threats that would stop your pilfering. Instead of returning to a base which steadily grows over time, Shock Tactics has you setting up outposts and dig sites as your mercenary team roam around Hephaest, decking aliens in the face.
It’s not just the local population you are stealing from: pirate crews and the Imperial Consortium are all scouting out Hephaest looking for rare technology. According to the Steam page, your antics eventually lead to “a final battle deciding their fate in the galaxy”, so the stakes are pretty high on this expedition.
Shock Tactics seems to be focusing on quick skirmishes, rather than the long drawn out firefights of certain missions in XCOM. Missions will feature specific time-sensitive objectives, encouraging troopers to push forward, rather than sitting in overwatch for several turns. XCOM 2’s timed missions were a source of consternation for many, so it will be interesting to see if Shock Tactics’ objectives successfully speed up combat.
Shock Tactics is set to launch on Steam next Tuesday, but no US or UK pricing is currently available. Developer Point Blank Games are also promising a physical edition of the game, should you wish to have a dedicated game box on your shelf.