1971 Project Helios, developed by the Spanish team Reco Technology, is a strategy turn-based game with RPG elements. You are in 1971, in a planet Earth affected by a permanent winter after an important cataclysm, where the population is low and it’s clung to the Fulgor, a new energetic resource, to survive. The last hope resides in the scientific Margaret Blythe, who has developed the Project Helios, a project which makes possible the Earth’s recovery. However, she was kidnapped by people with different plans, which will lead her to being rescued by an alliance of 2 groups, each one with different motives, but united by the need of rescue Dr. Blythe.
Each level consists in achieve certain objectives, they are usually the kind of take this item or go to this location. You can explore all the level before complete the targets, which usually gives you some collectibles, upgrades and fulgor for your characters. The Fulgor is the main energetic resource of the story, which you can use on the fights to heal your characters, give them an extra movement or resurrect a unit. During the exploration, you will have to fight in determinate areas, in order to advance or to obtain useful materials. After finish the level, you will be at the campsite, where you can read conversations between the characters, modify their skills, save the game (during the levels you can’t do it manually, the game is saved in some checkpoints) or check your collectibles. Plus, the game has 3 endings, depending on some story decisions you will obtain one or another.
Exploring will be an important part of the gameplay
Gameplay: The Combat System
The combat is developed using the classical grid of the strategy games. It’s turn-based, where the characters have action points (AP) to move and use their commands. If a character attacks first then he can’t move on the same turn. Also, if they consume the entire AP in the first action with the special commands.
If the fight is on an external space, the cold will strike some enemies and your units. To regain your health you can use Fulgor. If the fight is inside a building, this problem does not exist. As mentioned above, you can use this resource to resurrect a teammate or give him/her an additional move.
There are some objects usable as cover in the combat zones, reducing the possibility of taking an enemy shot. Naturally, enemies also use them. If one of your units is killed, and you can’t revive it, you’ll get a game over, and the chance to fight again. Probably, this will happen to you, because 1971 Project Hellios is not too difficult, but it is definitely not a piece of cake.
Fighting in the eternal winter
Gameplay: The Characters
There are 8 available characters:
- The melee fighters (Willheim & Renzo): They deal big damage, in the melee range. They have armors to reduce the incoming damage, and they can support their partners with special skills and gain extra armor when they are covered too.
- The shotgun users (Emile & Alina): They deal damage in the short and medium distances. They have armor, less than the melee fighters, and offensive special abilities.
- The snipers (Hanna & Alexei): They deal a lot of damage from long distances, but they are weaker than her/his companions. They can shoot enemies even if they are not in their range, but they are in a teammate’s range.
- The grenadier, Domi: can drop bombs with area effects. Even weaker than snipers, he has special abilities that deal a lot of damage, which consume the entire AP of his turn.
- The sensitive, Amy, which attacks with her dog, Ricotta. She can deal damage in the short range and can recover health from attacks. She is as weak as Domi.
All the characters have a Skills tree, unlocked after level 5, where the player chooses which commands can use every one in combat. Also, the player can upgrade these commands with the items found.
Alexei skills tree
Graphics, Sound & Others
The graphics are fine, they aren’t the ones of an AAA title, but they have enough quality to enjoy the game. The levels are a bit empty, but they transmit the post-apocalypse idea. The soundtrack is great, it is not related to the game atmosphere, they are techno themes, but they fit well in the battles. The steam version has achievements (PS4/Xbox1 version too) but not cards. The estimated duration is about 8 h per run, with 3 different endings. It’s supposed that you will complete it 100% in 24 h. Based on my experience, probably will be even less.
OVERALL: 7.5. 1971 Project Helios is an interesting turn-based strategy game with some nice RPG elements based in the eternal winter scenario. The combat system is based in the classical strategy grid, with some fresh tweaks, like the Fulgor use. However, other game points, like the flat characters, the graphics, or the absence of some options in the camera, make other games better options. If you like the genre, you can give it a try, you will probably enjoy it.