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Anyone who grew up with a Gameboy Advance should likely find the Tiny Metal series immediately familiar. Its aching similarity to the beloved classic Advance Wars is no coincidence and it’s clearly a decision that was taken with much love and care in the process. Following its predecessor, Tiny Metal from 2017, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a successor that stays true to its form while taking in some much needed improvements to the overall quality of life. Command your battalions and lead your heavy armor columns across the field, because it’s time for war.

War’s Always Changing

The premise of Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble’s gameplay is fairly simple on the surface. You’re presented with a grand strategy map of tiles that represents the various sections of a warzone. You’ll be provided a selection of starting units, each of them representing an armed force of specialized units, that each take up their own tile. You coordinate your forces across the map, taking objectives and strongholds until you complete that mission. Much like many other strategy games, the quality and depth is beneath the surface of that. Your army will consist of a variety of units, ranging from infantry with rifles and bazookas to a variety of mechs, tanks, and aerial combat units. Each unit has their own strengths and weaknesses in relation to other units with a clear, intended purpose. While you begin the game with only a select amount of units, you’ll need to build reinforcements and adapt your army’s composition as the game progresses. This constant ebb and flow of war is what gives the Tiny Metal series a sense of uniqueness to its design that has rarely been attempted since the Advance Wars series. It creates for a genuine sense of replayability as you consider how you could complete the same missions using different unit compositions and strategies. 


Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is, much like its predecessor, a vibrant and colorful 3D strategy game. The units have a charming aesthetic to them that, once more, calls upon the beloved charm of Advance Wars and it’s lovable, chunky tanks. Every unit is detailed and maintains cohesion with the aesthetic, while the environments present a variety of their own colorful scenes. Yet these scenes never clash with the units or make it difficult to mark out which unit is which and where they are at any given time. While it does nothing to portray any sort of grim atmosphere to war, the bright color palette makes it easier for you to keep a grasp on the field, much like you might in a game of Risk. The only time you’ll see any visual issues is on Winter maps where the white text health points of individual units may seem to blend in with the ground.

The downside, however, is that the 3D models just seem to lack the same level of charm that 2D sprites offer. This wouldn’t be a concern if it weren’t for the fact that every time you click on a specific unit, you are immediately presented with a highly detailed, more appealing sprite version of the unit. While I can understand the intention in trying to add a bit more of that old Advance Wars charm into the game, I believe it does more damage to the game’s visual style than it does to help. 

Quality Combat

Despite the aesthetic setback, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble embraces its place as a 3D strategy game and has improved significantly over its predecessor. With more units and options, you’ll find yourself with far more tactical versatility. It also comes with a much-needed improvement on the game’s quality of life. You can now rotate the camera to get a better angle when unit and building models are overlapping, and the UI provides an easier stream of data for you to keep apace with the tides of battle and how best you might be able to use the units under your command. Possibly my favorite new addition to this title is that added factor of logistics. Unlike its previous title, you’re now required to keep tabs of each unit’s ammunition and fuel. This encourages you to keep units alive and back and forth in battle for resupply and repairs, rather than simply throwing them at the enemy until they’re dead. It provides a much grander sense of scale and depth that I believe was much needed to help Tiny Metal take a step up in its place as a strategy game. 


The Verdict: Great

Keeping true to its soul and improving on its predecessor, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a fantastic addition to the series and shows a great deal of promise for more to come in the turn-based tactical strategy genre. This is an absolute must buy for anyone with a tactical itch that needs scratching. 

See About Us to learn how we score

Alexander Leleux
Written by
Friday, 20 September 2019 04:47
Published in Strategy



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Alexander grew up with a controller in his hand and remains the annoyance of his gaming friends for being ‘that guy’ who continues to use one even when he’s playing on his PC. By day, he is a graduate student in medieval literature and a freelance writer. By night, he is an avid gamer, hobbyist, and victim of an unhealthy Warhammer addiction. With a passion for stories of all kinds, he firmly believes that video games are an excellent means of communicating a narrative and hopes to one day make his own mark on the Gaming Industry.

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