Indie turn-based tactical combat game Tactical Combat Department (from here on referred to as TCD) has arrived on early access on Steam, offering players a game to lead a “Special Intervention Squad”, very much akin to your classic SWAT team.
Test your tactical skills
In TCD you’ll lead a team of five operators in turn-based missions where a blend of armed suspects and unarmed civilians will test your tactical skills, requiring you to decide on how to enter, whether to use stealth, speed, aggression, or a hail of bullets. But you can’t just shoot every target in TCD and you’ll be penalized if you kill the innocent or members of your team are taken out.
TCD allows you to customize the name and gear of your team, though not to amend their appearance, though you’d be hard-pressed to see them under all their gear. There’s a small variety of weapons and equipment at the moment but enough of a range to make the choices feel meaningful.
Once you go into the game, you’ll see familiar things like action points, facing, and a strong fog of war. However, overwatch is now attached to “Defensive Points” which means you needn’t leave any action points over to allow your characters to take an action when it’s the other sides time to move.
Interesting changes to the usual formula
Most scenarios will see you enter an area, figure out what the best entry point is, and then search for suspects and civilians, arresting all of them and potentially shooting the bad guys. In an interesting change to the usual formula, you can use non-lethal force too, including shouts to lower morale or pepper spray to make a suspect more pliant before you get them into cuffs. Gunfire, whether it hits them or not, also reduces morale and the game uses procedural generation to move suspects around, keeping things fresh.
TCD offers a different approach to many other tactical games and harks back to the classic SWAT games where the best missions may mean you do not fire a single shot at all. At the present, the “campaign” is quite barebones and the game has pretty much no story at all, with no strategic layer at all. However, this may be implemented at a later date.
Graphic & Sound Effects
Graphically TCD is nothing to write home about but is quite nicely optimized. The camera controls can be a bit awkward at times but again, this should get smoothed out as the game approaches its full release. There are also some minor issues with the context-specific triggers (such as opening doors or issuing warnings to suspects).
The sound effects are fine if a bit bland and the games music is nothing to write home about. However, TCD is currently available for a very enticing price-point of £9.29, making it a fairly low-risk venture for players who like the idea of a bit of a change to their normal tactical turn-based gameplay.
The developer appears to be quite open to feedback and making improvements, this is a promising release and may well be worth your time. The game’s free-to-play demo was made available a while back and the game has improved a huge amount since then, suggesting that there is a will to continue to polish and refine TCD’s experience.
Tactical Combat Department is certainly worth a look, just mind out for the flash bangs and always watch those doors and corners.