Rawket Review: Super Trench Attack
Alternate Title: “Jolly Good”
Entertainment value of a video game is a thing, and immersion is another. I wasn’t expecting to have both in Super Trench Attack(STA) to be honest. STA is an alien. No, not like your average alien but more like ALF; trying to be nice and helpful to people while breaking things up often. It has flaws and might not be for everyone. If you get annoyed by some less than perfect details, STA will annoy you. It’s the laid back fella of the gaming world, and is looking for people with similar mindsets who can overlook some minor issues while having a truckload of fun. If I had to point out a major annoyance of the game, it would be its end because I never wanted it to end.
Overall, the gameplay is enjoyable, no doubt about that. The audio helps you to get into the mood. You have the regular WASD+mouse aim/shoot controls and I assume no one would have any problems with that. You also have a melee attack with your knife by pressing space. Right clicking reloads the weapon that is in use which is quite practical. What I found not so practical is using health kits. To use a kit, you have to press the H key and I think it might have been better to use Q or E keys instead as they are next to the W key. You can not customize the keys so that’s why I see it as something negative.
An exciting sand castle stealth espionage story of patriots…
The two other impractical mechanics are the save system and buying items from the shop. You can actually save anywhere on any map but it requires you to quit the current game -huh? what?-. As you have guessed you click the quit button and it saves your game and takes you to the main menu so no in-game save/load menu to make your life easier. When you fail a multi part mission and die, you have the chance to replay that last part where you died, though. This makes it far less frustrating and you don’t have to start the mission from the very beginning but the ammo and items you used won’t come back so fill up your inventory before a challenging mission. When you load a game normally from the menu, you always start in front of your tent at the base.
As for the shop*, if you plan on buying more than one pack of ammo -machine gun is quite hungry-, you have to buy, leave the shop, enter again, buy, and repeat until you have enough. This is not the case for pistol ammo as one bullet pack is more than enough but you may need to buy loads of machine gun ammo and when you buy one, the system greys out the item and puts a red strikethrough line on it and you can’t select it again. When you leave the shop and re-enter, the redline magically disappears and the item is selectable again. Didn’t bother me much but still not the best way to handle things at the shop.
It all began on a rainy night.
Now that we are done with the potentially frustrating stuff, we can move onto what makes STA a good video game. Like I said, STA is not perfect but the more you play it, the more you become a part of the green army. The environment you play in, the people you interact with and the enemies you fight against all have something in common. They don’t make too much sense. They are not even remotely funny sometimes but the game sucks you in and you become one of them. Your buddy is another story in himself. He wears a gas mask and his talk is nothing but incomprehensible blabber yet he somehow manages to be a partner you can rely on. He has a pretty good AI and when you level him up, he really helps you rather than slowing you down. Leveling? Well, yes you gain points to spend on additional skills when you level up which is also the case for your partner. Its a basic skill system with 9 types of skills per character -except the hit points category, your buddy’s skills are different- grouped under 3 main categories.
The missions are quite varied but don’t expect too much “deep story” in this game. STA is the antithesis of the Metal Gear Solid series. Apparently, STA is more of an isometric Metal Slug that takes place in World War I. It is the gameplay that makes up for its shortcomings. STA won’t make you go “OMG so deep, alternative and innovative!” but it can cause -in a British accent- “Bloody Hell! Dinner can wait for five more minutes.” moments. I expected the singleplayer campaign to last much longer but STA is pretty much a one man project and I realized no matter how long it was, I would want more of it anyway. There is also a hard mode but hard mode means perma death so it’s actually “unnecessarily hard” mode.
A dog is a war veteran’s best friend.
If you like mini games, you can try to earn more money with your gambling skills instead of shooting people. There is a tent at the base in which you can play poker. I can’t play any type of card game even decently so I didn’t spend much time there but you can get -or lose- some quick money. Achievements are also present in the game, some of which are pretty demanding -and as you might expect, absurd-. I also have to point out that the open world system is not abused by cheap tricks like making you walk for long distances to extend gameplay time. There are tunnels that you can use to reach important locations instantly. I didn’t have the chance to try the LAN multiplayer so I can’t comment on that but single player is very satisfactory in terms of entertainment value.
Aaaaand, the price… You can get a DRM-free copy of STA for $12.99**. It’s a PC only game for now. Ignoring the market, STA deserves its price tag, to be honest. However considering consumer behavior, I can’t help but think if a single digit number -like 9.99- or starting sales with a discount could be better. Also the PC market has become “One does not simply sell their game in Mordor” style with bundles popping up everywhere with ridiculously low starting prices for a pack of games. In these conditions, it seems that STA has to jump into the bundle bandwagon.
*Paul S. Davis ,the developer, said he would address this -along with others- in later updates. The most recent version 1.2 already fixed a number of performance related issues.
**The current price is also lowered to $9.99.