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[PSP Review] Susume Tactics!

Save the earth from mystery species who attack and destroy cities in the earth. Beating them up to save the earth! SUSUME TACTICS brings you new experience of Strategic Puzzle Game. It is simple, but still learnable so that you can play it again and again! This game is played with holding PSP® system vertically.

At first, you might be a bit thrown-off by having to hold the PSP in the vertical position since there really aren’t that many games that use this configuration… and that can actually make it work! Luckily, Susume Tactics! knows we can’t be expected to hit any of the buttons on the right side of the PSP, and presents to us a control setup that plans for it.

You have a small pointer (like the one you use on your computer screen) which you control with the Analog nub, and that one is used to select the Mother Ship or any of the vessels you have available. Either pressing the L button or hitting the Right side of the D-Pad (currently pointing up thanks to the vertical position of the PSP), confirms your choice. Pressing left on the D-pad (down when the PSP is in the vertical position) acts as the cancel button, so you can back out of any menu. Simple, right? This is how you’ll be playing the game for many, many hours, and you will only be asked to change the PSP to the horizontal position when saving your game, since you need to access the X button to confirm (this is hardcoded into the PSP firmware itself, so there is no way to change it). Being able to save after you complete a level is a great option since you can easily get a game over from the next level, and all your hard work could be lost.

The game itself is similar to Tower Defense games, but in Susume Tactics! you can control each individual unit, ordering them to move to meet the enemy. They still attack within a specific range (displayed by a circle around them), and they attack over and over until they have destroyed the enemy or they are blown to pieces. Just like in regular Tower Defense games, you need to obtain resources to be able to build new units, and you obtain them from the enemies you defeat. Unlike most TD games, in Susume Tactics! all resources must be picked up by the player or else they are lost forever, which means you can’t just send your units toward the enemy and call it a day.

There are four major unit-types available to you:
Cannons: First unit type available to you. They come in several sizes, and the bigger they are, the more HP they’ll have and their shots will be stronger as well. Just be careful because going from the first to the second Cannon requires a lot of resources, and maybe using several smaller Cannons is a better option.

Missiles: They can target enemies from far away, making them ideal for stages with slow enemies or bosses. More expensive units increase the range of the Missiles while also increasing the power of their shots.

Trucks: Trucks are a unit you must always have at the ready. Their main purpose is making a mad dash towards energy shards before they disappear but, if needed, they can also shoot at enemies. They have low HP and their shots do little to no damage to bigger units, but they sure come in handy when you have run out of resources and need to reach the energy shards of the last enemy you were able to destroy.

Repair Units: Always a must since they restore the HP of any unit within their reach. Because they have a low HP total and move slowly, you should always keep an eye of them in case the enemy breaks past your attack line.

Two modes are available in the game: Arcade and War.

In Arcade mode, you must defeat all the enemies in order to move to the next stage. When you complete the level, all the energy shards that the enemies have left behind, and that have not disappeared yet, will be automatically collected and added to your supply so you can use them at the start of the next level. There are several difficulty tiers you can play (Practice, Easy, Medium, etc.), and each one has it’s own set of levels. The jump in difficulty is instantly felt when going above Easy, and you will need to carefully plan your strategy in order to survive.

War mode is locked when you start the game, and you can only access it until you’ve cleared every level in Arcade mode. In War mode, you have to destroy all of our enemies while, at the same time, worrying about protecting your cities and bases. Should all your cities be destroyed, or if the Mother Ship itself is turned into a pile of junk, it is game over for you. Unlike Arcade mode, in War all battles are turn-based, and you can move the Mother Ship only during your turn. Once you touch an enemy, the battle begins! Should you need to make some repairs, you can enter cities or bases to slowly recover.

Here are several tips I can give you, which you must remember in order to survive:

* Setting the path for your units does not mean you can just forget about them. They might get stuck behind a structure or, even worse, they can try to shoot at an enemy when behind a structure… and your shots CANNOT go through it! You must always micro-manage your units to obtain the best results.
* Energy shards disappear after a few seconds if you do not collect them, so always try to have a Truck close to the fight zone so it can sweep in, grab the shards, and step out of the way before it is destroyed. All of your units can pick the energy shards, but Trucks are faster at doing so AND they actually focus on performing this activity.
* Units that are close to being destroyed will slowly retreat, so be sure to have some Repair units either close by or actively healing them while they are fighting!
* Missiles are great for attacking enemies from far, far away, but you must always remember that each type of missile focuses on either the enemy with the highest HP value or the enemy with the lowest HP value. You might be trying to destroy an enemy, but if new enemies enter the missile’s range, it might will turn its attention to the new threat.
* When your units are destroyed, they also leave behind energy shards. Make the most of this, and try to stage a comeback!
* Even though more expensive units have higher a HP value and they are usually more powerful, they might not always be the right choice. Several smaller, weaker units might be able to overwhelm one powerful unit, and this works both ways.

Susume Tactics! is a very fun release that brings a portable Strategy/TD game to the PSP. The huge amount of content available, the excellent controls, the novelty of using the PSP in the vertical position, and the great price tag are all great incentives for those looking for a new digital game for their collection.

[review score=”85″ pros=”Easy to understand, hard to master.
A lot of content available in the game” cons=”Full concentration is required at all times and, therefore, this game is not for everyone”]

Cost – $4.99


Total amount of time played: 9 hours.

This review is based on a PSP copy of Susume Tactics! provided by Tose Software USA, Inc.