Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: AREA 35

Published By: AREA 34

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to Stride PR & AREA 34 for providing a review code.

There’s two types of games in the turn based tactical strategy genre, one of these types of games is one of my all time favorite genres. The other is one that I don’t have much experience with. Tactical RPG’s like Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics are some of my favorite games ever created and I have put countless hours into these. Titles like Advance Wars and Tiny Metal are not titles that I’ve had a lot of experience with. I missed out on the first Tiny Metal when it was released, but now here I am with the chance to review its sequel Tiny Meta: Full Metal Rumble.

Story

Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble follows a few different commanders. The lead protagonist, is Commander Wolfram, who is the leader of the White Fangs. Commander Wolfram is in search of her lost brother, but along the way finding him will not be the only mission. No, you’ll also have to tackle enemy forces that come from the Dinoldans army who are looking to harness the power of ancient technology to put the world in danger. It’s up to you to keep the world safe using your highly versatile crew of units.

The story here isn’t overly intriguing, but there’s a fair amount of depth to it. It’s definitely worth paying attention to the dialogue before every mission, but I wouldn’t say it’s really worth getting invested in.

Gameplay

Advance Wars may be a long fading memory, but Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a spiritual successor if I ever saw one. Every battle takes place on its own map whether it’s a campaign mission or a multiplayer battle.

The campaign is where you’ll most likely spend the bulk of your time. It’s here where you’ll get the chance to play as multiple different leaders across 39 campaign levels.

To access each mission you can fly or drive around a large open map that acts as the hub. To access a mission you just go over its marker and select it, then that chapter will begin. This hub style map also has sparkly patches you can find to unlock new extras. Travel around the hub for a while and you’ll come across new songs, new skirmish maps and some extra funds to buy stuff with. I enjoyed the map style hub, but I wish it was more visually appealing. It’s very bland looking and I felt like it could have looked much better.

Before starting a mission you’re given a rundown of your objectives. There’s always one main objective which can be simply defeating all enemies, capturing the enemy HQ, surviving a certain number of days, or destroying a specific enemy. You can also choose which difficulty you want to play the mission on. There’s 4 difficulty levels, but the last one is locked until you’ve beaten a mission at least once.

Every mission takes place on a map in a tile style layout. Movement is different based on the unit, but every unit moves across tiles similar to other tactical turn based series.

The combat in Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble waste no time at showing you what it has to offer. Your first ten missions are essentially a long tutorial introducing all of the game’s mechanics. Mostly these levels details, building types, how to use terrain, and of course the abundance of different units at your disposal. Attacking enemy units will cause them to unleash a counter attack. It’s best to be the first to attack since units are in squads which means the less health your enemies have the weaker they are.

Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble also introduces a very interesting mechanic called the lock-on mechanic. This allows you to combine the attacks of multiple units to take out an enemy. Should you be unsuccessful defeating them only one of your units will be damaged. It’s an awesome mechanic that adds another layer of strategy onto the gameplay.

Your arsenal of units is huge in Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble. Every unit has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Choosing units that compliment one another will be essential to winning battles.

Units vary from your infantry units to tankers that are armed with heavy weapons to take out armored enemies. Armored units are your vehicles which come in a multitude of forms. The Scout is good for fast movement and taking out soldiers, the Archeleon has high movement and can carry soldiers inside, while the Metal is your tank for taking enemies out with a bang.

There’s plenty other units as well like the Striker which can attack from a distance and the Viper, which is used to destroy aerial units. Oh, did I mention this game’s got planes?

Yes, the game gives you access to aerial units as well as land units. Aerial units also occupy a space on the map similar to land units, but can only be attacked by certain unit types.

While you’re learning about all of these different units, you also learn all the extra mechanics the game has to offer. All your units are bought with funds that are given to you every turn. You get more funds at the end of every day (turn). Cities are placed all around the map and by capturing them you can increase the amount of funds you receive daily.

There’s also other additions like hero characters that are powerful and have to be summoned. You’ll also learn about how units level up, how units require ammo to attack, and other information. Don’t worry should you ever forget anything important the Metalpedia can be accessed from the pause menu. It keeps track of a lot of the game’s details.

Besides the Campaign, Tiny Metal: Full Rumble offers a Skirmish game mode and online multiplayer. Skirmish let’s you choose from a ton of different pre-created maps and battle against the AI. You get tons of selection and all the maps vary quite a bit and are relatively creative.

Online multiplayer is great if you like to pit your tactical skills against others online. I don’t know how populated it will stay so I recommend enjoying it sooner than later while there’s a few people around.

Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a good spiritual successor to the Advance War series. The gameplay has a fair amount of depth and a variety of units to explore and create strategies with. There’s an abundance of maps to play and overall it’s a pretty solid experience. Though I do have to say that the first 10 levels of the Campaign acting as essentially tutorial levels makes for a slow start.

Extras

If you’re looking for stuff to unlock Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble has a ton of it. With the funds that are gained from battles and found on the Hub of the Campaign mode you can buy countless skirmish maps and soundtracks. There’s enough to buy, so that you’ll stay busy for sometime.

Presentation

In all honestly, it’s in the presentation where I found Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble a bit on the boring side. The animated style cut-scenes before battles don’t look the best and offer a relatively mediocre design choice. They’re also voice acted with some less than stellar performances.

While there are many different maps, and plenty of variety many of them could definitely use more character. Something else besides the same old buildings and terrain. They need more if they want to further engage players.

The units look pretty good and the combat sequences were fairly well done as well. I did notice in handheld mode some of the unit textures would look a bit blurry. I found this especially noticeable while moving units around on the map. It’s less than impressive considering how nice they look during combat.

The sound design I do have to say is pretty great. You have a plethora of different tunes to choose from which made me very happy.

Technical Issues

Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble ran pretty well for the most part. My only real concern was the load times, especially when first loading the game. Load times, usually took about 45-50 seconds to load into the game which was definitely too high. Hopefully this is fixed in one of the game’s next patches.

Summary

Overall, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a spiritual successor to the Advance War series that not only replicates the series well, but improves upon it. There’s hours of content to be sunk in here from playing through the Campaign multiple difficulties, to skirmishing with the AI and unlocking all the extras the game has to offer. I do feel the game’s presentation does hinder immersion and be warned the Campaign does get off to a slow start. If you get can past some of its shortcomings than you’ll most likely enjoy your time with Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble. This is worth picking up for most fans of the turn based tactical strategy genre and worth thinking about picking up for a newcomers first foray into the genre.

7/10

Pros

  • Solid Gameplay
  • Tons of Content & Lots to Unlock
  • Plenty of Variety in Units to Create Strategies With
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Fantastic Sound Design

Cons

  • Campaign Starts Off Slow
  • Hub Style World Map is Too Bland
  • Some Blurry Models in Handheld Mode
  • Voice Acting is Mediocre
  • Long Start up Load Times

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