Bite-sized Review:
Byte Lynx

Developer: Artful Games

Release Date: 12 October, 2022 

Platform: Windows

Genre: Strategy

By Chris Picone, 11 September 2023

Byte Lynx promotes itself as an "RTS without units," which is an interesting concept to say the least.  That's probably a fair way to describe the game but it plays out so uniquely that I really think it's deserving of its own strategy sub-genre altogether.  Byte Lynx came out nearly a year ago now but the team have just added a big update which includes a map editor! 


While I'm not in love with the Steam capsule art, the in-game graphics are pretty nice - on the basic side, but flashy and sci fi.  To me, it looks like a weird mix between typical tower defence games and old school RTS games, which feels like a nice fit for this strange creation.  The game's played out from a top-down view; you can't zoom but you can scroll freely.  Interestingly, there's no fog of war, so you can see everything the enemy's doing and plan out your attack right from the start.  The UI could use a bit more polish but it doesn't detract from the experience.  


The core gameplay's really not like anything I've ever played before.  It starts off feeling like a bit of a tower defence game - initially, you have very limited build options and the objective is to build up defences and fight off waves of enemies as you buy time to escape.  It then gets a little strange as you have to go on the attack - but using only the same defensive buildings you had before.  To make this work you have to build wires out from your base to the enemy, then build your defensive towers close enough to attack the enemy, and then keep going.  Even more interestingly, if you're fast and clever you can cut the enemy's defences in key positions, allowing you to connect your own wires on either side and claim all buildings in that network for your own.  Having said that, this can be quite challenging in harder difficulty modes because the game plays in real-time and the enemy's busy attacking and stealing your stuff at the same time.  The game ramps up fairly quickly and before too long you're firing solar rays and putting your defensive buildings on top of movable platforms, creating bizarre war machines that you can launch at your enemy.  There is a story to carry you through the game but it is a little basic, like it's aimed at a younger audience, although I found that a little at odds with the gameplay which is clearly aimed at more experienced players.



It took me a while to get my head around Byte Lynx because the gameplay is so different to any other RTS or TD game I've ever played, and although there's a tutorial built into the story, many of the game's functions aren't explained very well and you need to work them out yourself.  Once I got my head around it, though, it's quite a clever little game and manages to do a lot with remarkably little.  There's 20 levels, so plenty to play with, and the map editor's a great feature.  I would love to see a multiplayer mode added, I think that's where Byte Lynx's unique gameplay would really shine.