Recon Control is a new tactical turn-based shooter where you control a group of up to four square-jawed heroes in missions where you will be outnumbered and forced to find a way to gain a tactical advantage. So far, so familiar? But Recon Control takes an unusual twist on the genre as the game is viewed as a side-on game, almost as if it was a platformer but the game is played out turn-based!
Recon Control, from Dmitry Kozlov, presents the player with twenty-five missions, spread out across three campaigns. You’ll pick your squad of up to four guys from a roster of eight, with the survivors gaining valuable experience and leveling up on multiple skills trees, with over fifty abilities to unlock, allowing you to spec out your team.
The campaign plays out with a small map, giving you an idea of how much opposition you’re likely to face and even giving you branching paths to the final mission, Into The Breach style. You can also make a mission harder but get bigger rewards by going in with a smaller squad, another nice wrinkle on the straight-ahead campaign.
For example, you can level up a character’s body stats to make them tougher and turn them into a tank or you could spec them out as an expert with hand-to-hand weapons. It’s also possible to spread the character’s skill points around and to make them a jack of all trades.
At the moment, it’s not possible to amend the character’s appearance or name, which affects your ability to connect with the members of your squad. However, given the attrition rate, you’ll suffer in the game, which may make the loss rate easier to cope with!
You can also equip them with a broad array of weapons and equipment, using the money earned from carrying out missions to purchase better equipment. Your squad of four will take part in many different mission types, ranging from killing the enemy commanders to defending outposts to missions where you are required to escape the map.
In terms of gunplay, with the exception of headshots, gunfire, and melee combat tends to take a few hits to put a guy down so be prepared for ferocious, somewhat wild, and unrealistic fire-fights, often at very close range and often with very little cover. The game is quite unforgiving and you’ll find yourself losing men regularly during missions.
The game also offers two distinct play styles, with Iron Man for those looking for a deep challenge and some may well feel this is the best way to play the game, though at the moment the game is still in early access so there are some rough edges here and there.
Recon Control has the look of a 16-bit side-scrolling platform or shoot-em-up and reminded me a bit of the art-work from BroForce, though not quite as bombastic and over the top as that title. When plotting a character’s move, a grid of colored squares is overlayed over the map, giving you an idea of where you can move and how much AP it will spend, giving you the ability to plan things.
The side-on platformer view means that maps often have a very impressive verticality and that can be exploited during the mission. The graphics aren’t going to stress any half-decent PC’s graphics card and will allow some very large maps to be seen without any noticeable lag, which is a nice trade-off for the view.
The sound effects and music are fine if not especially memorable and the game has a solid UI, though at present there’s no inbuilt tutorial so be prepared to learn the hard way.
There’s no real story at the moment, beyond go to the location and kill all the bad guys but, again, the game is still in early access so there may be a wish to add a layer of story and narrative over the top of the game to allow things to hang together a bit more.
Recon Control is still in early access and has an expected release date of Q3 2021 so it should be available in full soon. If you fancy giving it a try, you can give the demo a go free of charge right now on Steam.