If you have an appetite for RTS games, then the past few years would definitely have been disappointing for you. Big titles like Halo Wars took too long to come to the PC, and the next iteration of Age of Empires is still quite some time off. If the daily grind of StarCraft 2 with the kids screaming “APM is everything” is becoming a chore, then the Early Access archives of Steam have a refreshing new surprise for you. Taste of Power marks a new take on the RTS franchise.
Taste of Power is an RTS, with the base mechanics being similar to other strategy games. You collect resources, you build an army, you crush your opponent. Yup, how hard is that? If you’ve played enough strategy games, you’ll definitely be asking “What’s new then?” Taste of Power features a number of added mechanics to make gameplay feel less boring, and make players focus on getting the strategic edge in every battle using every means possible.
A distinctive feature of the game is the dynamics – The game encourages the player to build new cities. But with the advent of each new settlement you have a new front for the battle. As a consequence, you need to participate in a variety of local battles, maneuver the units in different parts of the map. In Taste of Power each type of unit has a special purpose (strong in one situation and weak in another) – just like StarCraft. In addition to the mission, the troops have special abilities to help thwart your enemies when they have the upper hand in combat. The game map has a corridor system where several paths lead to each of the cities, where wide platforms and narrow passages alternate. Due to this, the importance of monitoring strategic passes increases. A choice of position for the battle is one of the key factors that determine victory or defeat in the game.
If you want a taste of what the game is like, head over to Steam and download the free demo. The demo offers a Skirmish map, and two tutorials. One tutorial is for gamers new to the RTS franchise, covering basic camera movement, how to control units, and other basic stuff you should know before playing an RTS. The second tutorial explains the advanced mechanics, and it is well recommended for all players to play this atleast once before you head out into the game.
The demo is a pretty well packed one. The UI seems a little bit off, for some reason, perhaps due to the jaggy writing. There is an index of sorts in game, which shows all the factions along with all their units. This is a pretty cool feature, as it does help you understand the units and even the factions a bit more (the demo only has two factions). The in-game UI needs some work too, as it resembles the games that inspired Taste of Power a bit too much for comfort. Other than that, the squad based mechanics, as well as the auto training of units from buildings, as well as the aspect of collection of resources depending on territorial (or rather, the control of settlements) expansion are a bumper addition to the game, which streamlines every game you have against the AI (or in the future, against human opponents). The abilities every unit has might spot a bit more usage, even for casual players, since training units and throwing them at the enemy isn’t what this game is about – rather it’s about intelligently countering your opponent with the right unit types and strategies. Unit abilities as well as scientific progress go a long way in helping you win seemingly impossible battles.
If you want something different from mashing hotkeys and defending choke points in StarCraft 2, then the Taste of Power demo will certainly entertain you, atleast for a few hours, till you start craving for the actual game itself. The Steam page says that that the game is scheduled for a release of Feb 21, 2019. You can actively follow the development of the game on Facebook, and wishlist it on Steam if you wish to purchase it when it releases!