By Chris Picone, 25 September 2021
In case you haven’t seen it yet, Five Nations is pretty damn sexy! And a promising RTS. The profiles of different aliens (the titular “five nations”) gives off strong StarCraft vibes from the get-go, which is neat. What RTS fan doesn’t love StarCraft? And ten hours in I can happily tell you this game’s definitely a love letter to that franchise – but with plenty of difference and original ideas so it still feels fresh if reminiscent. For example, unlike StarCraft, the gameplay for each of the races in Five Nations are subtly rather than drastically different.
The other major influence noted by the developer was Red Alert 2, and the impact of that inspiration is just as clearly seen in the structure, flow, and variety of the missions. Twelve levels in I’ve had minor skirmishes, hold the fort, escort, small fleet, and major battle missions, not to mention two different enemies and two playable races. At no point has it felt repetitive. Which is good because the game’s huge; twelve missions in and I’m still on the first chapter – and there are five chapters all told, not including skirmish mode. An important note: The developers say multiplayer is still in the works but definitely coming.
The real surprising feature is the two-dimensional nature of the game. For example, except for small craft, you can’t shoot past or move through (read: above or below) objects, and there are walls, which don’t make a whole lot of sense for a game set in space. It doesn’t detract from the game, it’s just odd. One thing the game does well is make use of the environment; asteroids block paths (except for small craft), “fog” slows movement, storms may provide a tactically important shortcut but at the cost of damage to your craft.
The verdict? So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. The graphics are polished, the gameplay smooth, and there’s been loads of variety to keep me entertained along with what appears to be a decent story to keep it all moving.