Monday, November 11, 2013

Timelines: Assault on America Gameplay Review

I'm playing Timelines: Assault on America, a real-time strategy game by 4Flash Interactive and Strategy First.

NOTE: Due to an inadequate tutorial, a lack of documentation, and odd controls, I was unaware of how to perform some in-game actions. You can set rally points by double-clicking on a factory (instead of the more conventional right-click), select nearby units of the same type by double-clicking, and more quickly construct units by (you guessed it) a double-click. So there you go.

The game centers around a Nazi invasion of the United States during World War II, and the twelve-mission American fight to reclaim the homeland. The bland, poorly-balanced mission design with scripted enemy encounters is uninspired. Multiplayer is available both cooperatively against the AI and competitively against other humans. The interface is a mixed bag: for example, I like the army panel that lists all units, but you can’t select all units of one type or easily select a sub-group of units in the list. The game lacks a “select all” button and there are no building rally points: newly constructed units are sent in seemingly random directions until you corral them. The interface requires one too many clicks to construct units or conduct research, the you cannot scroll the map by pacing the mouse cursor along the edge. Money, earned by capturing radio towers, is used to place buildings (only one per type, reducing strategic depth) and construct units; units come in the usual varieties, such as light tanks, artillery, machine gunners, and medics. Tokens can be spent to upgrade units. While units will automatically attack any enemy units that come within weapon range, the terrible pathfinding commonly splits up groups of units and leads to tons of unorganization. The AI seems to benefit from heavily favored scripting, as its tactics are mostly absent. Overall, the inefficient interface, monotonous missions, typical unit roster, substandard AI, and lack of strategic depth make Timelines: Assault on America a totally forgettable real-time strategy game.