Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command brings pint sized squad combat to the Nintendo DS. In this fresh move the Warhammer franchise takes on turned based gameplay in their own unique way. Give the command to move out, here is our review of Warhammer 40K: Squad Command.
Labeled Fantasy Violence, Warhammer 40K: Squad Command turns the Nintendo DS into a miniature playground blood soaked space marines fighting for their own beliefs. As the Imperium of Man, warriors of the Emperor you will save the empire turn-by-turn. If you haven’t guessed Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command is a strategy game with turn-based gameplay. This slows down the action slightly; however the pacing of Warhammer 40K isn’t a slow as other turned-based strategy games. This is mainly because of the intuitive DS interface. Using the touch screen along with the D-Pad to control your soldiers quickens the pace with fast precision.
As the commander you will outfit and send six soldiers fearlessly into combat. Each character on screen has a number of points they can spend on movement, or shooting. Points can be adjusted before you leave the compound by simple tweaking each warrior’s equipment. If you have them carrying a lot of weapons and a few buckets of ammo, don’t expect them to hop around the battlefield with the agility of a ninja. Once you use up your point on either or both actions, your turn is over and you move on to the next solider, and so on.
In theory “moving” and “shooting” is all Warhammer 40K is about. Breaking it down to one two punch doesn’t sound too appealing, but you basically move you soldiers and then fire on enemies. The "X" factor in Warhammer 40K is the element of strategy in when and how far to move you troops, when to attack, or when to take the defensive stance. To attack you’ll need to visually have a clear line of sight on the enemy indicated by a laser sight styled line on the screen. This line also acts as an accuracy meter, get closer to the enemy with the sight and you can guarantee a few hits, or try from a far and gamble on your few points that you likely have left. When to fire, and when to hide, is another aspect that you’ll have to determine in the battlefield. It’s not always valiant to run, but who cares... you get them in the next round.
Graphically Warhammer 40K runs with in a fixed top-down 3D view with access to a 2D view of the battle zone. Using a 3D top down perspective comes with a few problems of blocked views and lost cursors, caused because you can’t rotate the camera to free up your perspective. Without this control you will encounter a few problems during battles that feel a little out of touch hindering you from making the best possible move. All in all, it’s not a huge problem that stutters the gameplay, more like a forgettable annoyance.
Another quark in Warhammer 40K is that it doesn’t have an option to turn on a grid system so you know exactly where you are moving. In Warhammer the movement radical is a circle, so you have a good idea where you moving, but if you want to be spot on you might miss you move by a few steps. Hardcore turned based fans love grids, and how can grids ever be bad? If you want a grid, or could care less it would have been a nice option for THQ to include. Hey, and while they add this function, lets talk about swiveling the camera a pinch.
Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command has a few other minor issues that could have been easily resolved. One is that you can’t totally de-select you team causing moments of wrongful movement when using the touch screen to select characters. I found the side selection panel is the best alternative instead of tapping the character you want to select on the touch screen. When using the touch screen you can have moments when you’re going to select a new team member and you miss the character by a millimeter which activates your controlled character to the spot you just tapped, wasting valuable action points. Sure, this is human error, but it’s far too touchy when selecting characters that this happens frequently.
Once live life as an elite space marine in the single player campaign that spans 15 missions you can go online. The online mode lets you hook up with other Games Workshop fans going head-to-head in versus play or teaming up through unique multiplayer missions. Small and medium map variants are available supporting up to eight players in total. If you can find some friends who want to blast away in the Warhammer universe, Squad Command is a good portable means to do so.
Looking past all the problematic gameplay twitches in Squad Command you’ll find a fun, turned-based strategy game on the Nintendo DS. Warhammer 40K isn’t perfect and you’ll gather that in the first few missions, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look. I found Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command to be an alternative to all the other DS games I’ve been playing lately making it a fresh alternative choice in my library of games. Warhammer nuts, well, you probably will pick this up regardless, everyone else I’d go ahead and recommend Warhammer 40,000 Squad Commander if you have a DS and enjoy turn-based games.
Gameplay:7, Graphics:6, Sound:6, Innovation:6, Mojo:7. Final: 6.4 / 10