Tactic based games usually tend to be a niche genre and TASTEE: Lethal Tactics for PC is no different. However, if there was an indie game prepared to walk you into the world of turned based strategy, this game by Skybox Labs would be it.
The story of TASTEE is not something I would call a “stand out” and it’s definitely not a game I would play for the “riveting” plot. It’s about as basic as you can get. Now, the introduction video did grab my attention as it showed off some of the characters, but after, there was no real attempt to put together progression.
You are the owner of a not-so-good steak restaurant, Tastee. Low on money, you’re looking to get back into the heist game through your connection, Denton. Together, you hire mercenaries to get your dough.
The so-called “story” then proceeds to move through e-mails and mission statements.
The entire game of TASTEE is from a bird’s eye view, giving you a good look at the scenario before you. The graphics are simple and nothing to write home about, but they get the job done for the type of game this is. Now, the characters on the mission pages are actually wonderfully designed and extremely detailed. I just wish I could have enjoyed those designs a bit more!
TASTEE has a pretty fun soundtrack; it does have that going for it. Sound effects are also realistic and voice acting is convincing enough.
Now, this is where we can really get into the game. TASTEE: Lethal Tactics is all about turned based strategy. The tutorial is comprehensive, giving you a good feel for the game and definitely teaching you the basics. They don’t just throw you to the sharks. It doesn’t teach you everything you need to know, but it definitely shows you the ropes so you know how to get the heists done.
So, going forward, you know the basic controls but there is an invisible wall you need to get past if you want to be good at TASTEE. There’s definitely a lot to learn and a lot to prepare for, but practice makes perfect.
With your team, you are originally in “planning” mode. You can direct your players to specific spots, look in certain directions, and perform actions such as crouching or sprinting. Hitting the preview button shows your team’s actions and some potential consequences. Once you’re happy with them, press confirm to have them carry out your commands. It’s a cool feature that allows you to avoid some death scenarios.
Rather than having the menu at the bottom or the side of the screen, each character has their own menu above their head. I ran into some minor issues with overlapping waypoints, but this made for much easier planning.
There are a few modes to choose from: Practice, Mission, and Multiplayer. Practice speaks for itself: test your skills against the AI and get a real feel for the game. You can also use these scenarios to test your combinations of mercs.
Mission is the “story” mode. It contains 30 missions, each more difficult than the last. We already talked about the lack of story, but the missions are fun and give you time to learn the game.
Multiplayer is also self explanatory but I ran into some issues. The major problem with this mode is the lack of timers. Your opponent can leave for hours at a time, go to the bathroom, go to dinner, who knows, but you’re left there. It can make you lose interest in the match. However, the game actually allows you to go to the menu and start other games while you wait for your absent opponent, so that’s a nice feature.
Tactical games, like TASTEE: Lethal Tactics, take quite a bit of patience, something, as a New Yorker, I don’t have a ton of. There’s a lot of set up, a lot of planning, and it can often be several minutes before you’re able to move your mercenaries. However, this one did peak my interest into the realm of strategy.
Were there things that could have been done better? Yes, of course, there always could be, but especially in the story department. Some aspects of the game felt like it was just scraping by while others were intriguing to the point it interested me, a no-patience gamer.
If you’re a gamer who is into the niche of strategy, I’d definitely at least give TASTEE a look. However, if you’re new to the genre, you might want to wait for a sale before you revisit this one.
Warning: This game resulted in me buying a steak (check out the TASTEE logo if you don’t know why!). It happened before I knew it. One minute I was playing, the next minute I was craving a steak, and then I was in Longhorn Steakhouse. I even brought a notebook to work on this review while waiting for my food. It wasn’t until after my food had been ordered that I realized what had happened. Does this mean TASTEE: Lethal Tactics is just a cheap ploy for steakhouses?? Doesn’t matter; had steak.