Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics Review (Nintendo Switch)
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is an SRPG similar in style to X-COM or Mutant Year Zero, as opposed to the Disgaea series or Final Fantasy Tactics style of SRPG. Based on the board game Achtung! Cthulhu, Tactics blends world war 2 with Lovecraftian horror.
Set in an alternate version of history just after the D-Day landings, Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics has the Nazi’s experimenting with the occult. The allies send in their own occult specialists ‘Section M’ to investigate but, unfortunately, this turns out to be a trap! Only a few survivors manage to escape and it’s your job to lead your team of 4 through the Forest of Ardennes to stop the Nazi’s evil plan.
The story is mainly told via a briefing before each mission which I do like, in a way but, would have preferred a little more exposition in-mission. Also. the story feels a little bit ‘light’ and I would have liked more of the world and Lovecraftian aspects expanded on. There are not a lot of games that convey this type of horror competently and sadly Tactics is no Bloodborne.
Unlike X-com battles are in small confined maps surrounded by the fog like Shroud similar to the fog of war from the Command & Conquer series. This really helps the atmosphere and makes your characters feel more confined and somewhat isolated, you never know what is up ahead lurking just out of sight. If there was one thing I could change about Tactic’s it would be the number of ways you can approach a situation, a lot of the time you are lead across the map in a very linear way.
The actual skirmishes although, a little linear are quite fun! During missions, there are two factors to be aware of; AP & MP. AP (Action Points) are your traditional points that refill at the end of each turn, they are used for Movement, reloading and firing etc. MP (Momentum Points) could be considered your special attack points, They allow each character to perform specific commands and refilled by killing enemies or landing critical hits. MP allows for some pretty handy options such as being able to increase your field of vision to help identify enemies or to use your side to inflict more damage. The use of both AP & MP sometimes makes your character a little too overpowered as they keep racking up points with each successful attack or kill. This can take away some of the sense of danger as the enemy posses no real threat.
Luckily, later on in the campaign things become a lot more difficult with the true horror turning up and playing havoc with your characters sanity in true Lovecraftian fashion. This can have some dire consequences like characters missing shots and reductions to AP. Thankfully you have items like letters from home and good old fashioned Alcohol to help ease the mind and deal with the madness.
Graphically Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics doesn’t push any boundaries when it comes to its visuals but, they are more than adequate for the type of game it is. Sometimes I was taken aback by just how good some of the models were, however, a lot of the environments are very samey which does detract somewhat from the overall feel. The look and feel of WW2 and Lovecraft are all present and some of the enemy designs are really quite something!
Sound design is quite good overall except for repetitive in-mission dialogue from the characters. (A little more variety wouldn’t have gone amiss!). The level of annoyance is on par with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 ‘I love your attitude’ line. The music, however, is fairly pleasant and very fitting with the games 1940’s setting.
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is a great game for anyone that is looking for a competent SRPG on the Switch. It does a lot of things right and despite its flaws is quite enjoyable. The gameplay also lends well to the Switch’s handheld mode and is an effective time killer. If you are expecting an extremely in-depth game with lots of customisation like X-Com, you will be disappointed. If you are are a fan of the genre the game is worth picking up but, if its the Lovecraftian story your more interested in I would weight up my options before buying.
Review code kindly provided by publisher