Tiny Troopers: Joint Ops is a top down army-’em up where you control a little squad of troopers on missions to kill the enemy and then get to the chopper. It’s a port of the popular mobile game and has found a new home on the Vita. Tiny Troopers is fairly simple in execution. You control your troopers with both analogue sticks, walking with the left stick and shooting with the right. You can opt to use the touch screen, but you’d be a fool to choose to do so as the sticks offer far more accuracy. You’ll come across various enemies including tanks, grenadiers and general infantry while some maps have innocents you should avoid killing and buildings which can be destroyed.
Points are scored for the kills you rack up, and for getting the collectable dog tags or medals. At the end of each level you can use these points to buy new equipment or troops and these vary from more accurate guns or perks to allow faster movement. You can also buy new outfits for your squad, with different ones providing various bonuses to help you progress through the levels.
Each one of your squad comes with their own name, and the more you play as them the more they rank up (à la Cannon Fodder). This adds a nice element to the game and you can find yourself getting oddly connected to your little guys. Should you die during a mission you can revive them for a cost, but miss this opportunity and you’ll receive a low ranking grunt to take their place. I’ll never forget about Jiang. He was killed by a tank which was hiding on a hill hidden behind some scrub. He’d been an integral part of the mission and was cruelly taken from me. Suffice to say I avenged his death with maximum prejudice.
To mix things up a little some missions are on-rails vehicle affairs where you just have to lay waste to everything that moves. There is also the odd zombie mission where you are faced with a horde-mode style game with added undead. They are okay for a change of pace and do serve to break the game up somewhat. The game is spread across several campaigns, each with around ten missions each. The missions are fairly short and are perfectly sized to allow you to pick up and play them wherever you are. It’s the very definition of a mobile game never taking too long to get into, and complete, a mission. However whilst each campaign has a different environment to traverse they never truly stand apart and the missions quickly become samey.
There are also certain hangovers from the mobile origins of this game. Some of the text descriptions refer to being the top app, and the graphics do have a certain ‘mobile’ quality to them. These range from the menus which are simplistic through to the characters which are forgettable. Also the relentless drive to unlock more items through the acquisition of funds reminds me of in-app purchases seen on mobile games.
One of the key things missing from this game is any meaningful music. It’s a very quiet affair as although there are sound effects and some decent voice acting in the intro movies, the background music is just not there or very simplistic where it is. It could do with some decent music to add to the feel of the game, without this the missions feel like very lonely affairs and with no multiplayer mode the only online aspect is the leaderboards which is a shame as either a co-op or adversarial mode would have worked a treat. Given the competition out there and the time of year this is being released, I can’t imagine the leaderboards will offer much of reason to come back to the game.
As a top down army-em up this game will inevitably get compared to Cannon Fodder, and this is problematic. For all of us who played Cannon Fodder you’ll know how much we came to care about the troopers, and their little yells and animations. Unfortunately Tiny Troopers never generates this level of emotional involvement and is all the more forgettable for it. STEVEN
+ PS Vita/PS3 cross-buy and cross-save.
- Still feels very much like a mobile game.
- Samey levels.
- Compares very poorly to Cannon Fodder which is an obvious inspiration.