So, I’m going to split this Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution review into 2 parts, purely because I feel that way you will get a true sense of what I have had to endure to bring it to you. The first section will be the first 10 minutes and the second will be everything after that. Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is a turn based strategy game where you play a squirrel rising up against King Louis the Umteenth who is squandering all their taxes on an extravagant lifestyle.
There you have it, it’s basically the French Revolution played out by squirrels. The one squirrel who stood up to the government goes by the name of Charles De Montesquirrel. The game starts off quite basic with the title screen being uncluttered containing basic single player or multiplayer options. You’re greeted with a small museum type tour of the back story and then thrust into the first level that starts with a small yet comprehensive tutorial.
Each level is set up, where each player has half of the map, each player’s area is separated into squares. In each square you set up your defenses and your fighters. Your defenses come in the form of barrels, however if you align 3 barrels together they then convert into sandbags with more HP and harder for enemies to destroy. Likewise with your fighters, your initial army consists of squirrels with pistols but you can combine three to make a rifleman, then three riflemen to make a bomber. You have a set amount of fighters and defenses at the start of each turn so it’s up to you to plan ahead to have the best chance of winning the round. You get acorns as your currency so you have to spend wisely.
Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is really easy to get the hang of in a short amount of time and the objective is clear. Once I had played and won the first 2 rounds I started to think more about strategy and the levels offered quite a healthy challenge. This however is the first 10 minutes over and things went rapidly down hill.
At the start of every turn the dreaded Tax Man takes some of your acorns, 50 at first but this goes up to 100 once you hit stage three, I’m only guessing but it’ll probably be more as you progress through the game. This of course gives the Tax Man an advantage as he has more disposable income to spend on upgrades. On your half of the map a pile of acorns will spawn and you have to collect them by planting your defenses or soldier squirrels on that square, you also get a bonus of 50 acorns when you combine three pieces. It quickly becomes clear that the Tax Man generates more acorns than you and at a faster pace putting you at a disadvantage right form the start.
The Tax man is the first stage boss, with five chapters in total the thought of ploughing through the game to get the the 5th boss made me want to cry. Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution got frustrating very quickly, the difficulty spike was insane and often unfair. The Tax man would steal your acorns at the start of each turn then upgrade his base for some random reason giving him more hit points, this would happen just when you thought you had the upper hand. It’s a good time to point out, my base didn’t upgrade at any point any there was no option to do so. I would have expected this type of shenanigan as you get to the end game but this was stage three.
Needless to say I started to lose the plot a little as it seemed impossible. In true sportsman fashion I took a break to make a cuppa and calm down a touch so I paused the game and walked away. I could however still hear the game being played so I walked over to my Xbox and noticed that the game was still going even though I had paused it. That for me was it, I was done. For a game to become so frustrating and imbalanced at such an early stage screamed that this game was not for me and not worthy of anymore of my time. I don’t want to be too hard because I know just how much time and effort goes into making games, even the small ones. I sat for hours and hours 30 years ago typing code into a Commodore Vic 20 only to have a shape move across a screen, so I can imagine the painstaking process it takes to get game from start to finish.
I thought I may have been a bit unfair so I did some research into Hightale Studios, the developers behind Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution. They are a small team of just four people with presumably a small budget. They have spent 1095 days and written 5546 lines of code to make the game. 1647 people have download the game and I’d be surprised if 1647 people aren’t completely frustrated with it. I’m pretty sure that Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution’s issues could be fixed with a patch. The game isn’t unpleasant to look at but it quickly become tiresome with not enough to keep you wanting to play. The unfair gameplay and difficulty spike so early on makes the game easy to walk away from. It is such a shame as the multiplayer could be so much fun. I would be glad to play the game once again once the issues have been ironed but until then it’s on my “Ready to Install” list.