Real Time Strategy (RTS) games have been around for like, forever haven’t they? Well, according to the RTS wiki, the origins started well back in 1981 with turn-based strategy, and the actual base building mechanic didn’t start until Dune ll, a game all base building RTS fans know all too well. You can read about the origins of RTS games here and it’s quite an interesting read.
Lets move into the present with Meridian: Squad 22 which like the original (Meridian: New World) was made by just a one man Hungarian developer, Ede Tarsoly or better known as Dark Master on Steam. Much like the original this is single player too.
There are now 3 game modes to play, which are;
Campaign: an excellent way of learning the basic’s as you go through the story of
“Humanity is in peril. The first colonisation attempt of mankind has failed and the colonist crew is missing. The leaders of the United Earth decide to send a highly trained specialist squad to planet Meridian to find the crew and bring them home safely”,
In what has been described as a 10+ hours story campaign I was personally getting quite sunk in by story and the twists and turns it was giving out, like the man made mechs that attacked the ship which were trying to locate the colony. (although I may have said too much already)
Squad Missions: 5 different missions which can be completed in any order you like with 3 difficulty settings on each. They are all tricky, so it would be best going through the story in the campaign first, and all missions vary for the end result, like capturing a drone, assassinating a key figure and also defending a base in which was my favourite named “Firewall”.
Conquest: where you need to vanquish your foes on planet Meridian in over 100 procedurally generated missions in which you get to choose the difficulty and the terrain type whilst ever closing in on the enemy’s headquarters on a hexadecimal based map select screen.
Sound effects and music were a joy to listen to and composed by Hexany Audio. Whilst wearing my headset through some really heated battles, the weapon fire sounded very life like, and what you would expect from a sci-fi (rail guns and the like) weaponry to sound like.
Unlocking of the newer tech in the game is very well done and unique to the base building franchise as you need to find different coloured canisters. Each of these go into your research page, and its always best to pick up as many as you can see as they are all needed for each category. As i’m more of defensive player I tried to get research into turrets as fast as possible and the first turret (gatling turret) costs 3 yellow, 2 green and 5 blue canisters; while the next turret requires an extra blue canister which 3 yellow, 2 green and 6 blue just to research one type of new building, army member or upgrade, each research category has 20 choices in each and the research category’s are;
Yellow- combat: mainly used to make new combat soldiers, tanks, air units and naval units.
Green- economy: mainly used to make money faster so concentrates more so on drones which makes the money.
Blue- defense: mainly used for the 2 turrets, upgrades such as added hit points on units.
The UI is very clean and spacious as what is needed in all these type of games so there’s more room to check on the battlefield. The minimap is there to help and doesn’t hinder as it isn’t so big that it obscures some of the battlefield, but it’s big enough that you know its always there.
The graphics are spectacular, even on my old 750ti. I didn’t have any need to turn down any settings, even when I was watching the grass sway in the wind, partly drooling at the graphics. I drooled especially when I found myself in a massive firefight with the pretty light shows of the rail guns, lasers, and so forth; with all this going on there wasn’t a glimmer of any slow down.
The controls are easily described as RTS controls, for example, arrow keys move the camera, LMB selects a unit or, hold to make a box and select multiple units, RMB moves or attacks, but if you don’t like the original configuration you can change it all to your hearts desire in the key config part of the options screen.
I personally love base building RTS games, especially when I get to make some great defences and then build up a big army to have big battles using naval, air and ground units. This great game ticks all the right boxes for me as there’s no super weapons, which always feels like cheating in my eyes, and if you agree take a closer look at this great title and made only from an individual developer? damn nice one.
All images belong to Elder Games