This week, a series of gifs enticed me to take a look at Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, a game that looks like what might happen if the cast of Morph decided to start doing medieval reenactments. Amusing as it looked with its googly eyes and shonky physics, I’ll admit I came to it with a hefty dose of scepticism – the term simulator often being synonymous with ‘a bit rubbish’.
I mean no disrespect to the Farming Simulators or hardcore flight sims of this world, of course – I’m talking about the stripe of games like Goat Simulator that rely on being just the right side of broken and hoping the one gag remains funny for longer than ten minutes (many of them struggle).
By contrast, there’s just about enough of a game to Totally Accurate Battle Simulator’s absurd campaign to lift it clear of the competition. While it’s hardly going to replace Total War any time soon, there’s something compelling about its mission structure; one which presents you with the enemy ranks and grants you a set number of points with which to purchase and field an opposing force. As with any strategy game, picking your units carefully is the key to success, only in this instance you find yourself asking how many mammoths you want to field, or whether a large unit of halflings is preferable to a smaller force of farmers.
It’s daft in the extreme and, being in early access, it’s also pretty rough and ready right now. Nonetheless, there is a vein of strategy to be found and enjoyed here, even if it isn’t the richest experience you’ll have this year.