For a one-man indie studio, ACORN Tactics is impressive. The amount of polish that went in and the lack of bugs that can often plague titles developed by small teams truly demands applause. The issue though is that a single person development team isn’t capable of matching the same quality of similar titles like Mario + Rabbids that are developed by a large team. Had ACORN come out prior to Ubisoft’s release, I think it would have been a nice preview to the tactical RPG genre on Switch, but trying to play it now just reminds me of how good Kingdom Battle was and that you would be better suited to investing your money into a big budget game that will provide better gameplay and much more replayability.
ACORN Tactics has its heart in the right place, but it plays it very safe. It’s a very solid strategy RPG, taking elements of games such as Fire Emblem and Advance Wars and wrapping it in its own aesthetic. However, for as liberally as it borrows from its inspirations, it never goes above and beyond and does anything that might be construed as unique. Without many peers at the outset of the Switch’s life, ACORN Tactics might be the kind of game to sate your SRPG cravings until something meatier comes along.
Confusing movement patterns could be overlooked during most battles, but the same can’t be said about the pace of ACORN Tactics. Taking time to plan out the attacks of six different machines can understandably be a little time consuming. However, waiting for the enemy to complete its turn should not take the same amount of time. By the end of the campaign, missions were taking around thirty minutes to complete. Unfortunately, ten to fifteen of those minutes was just me staring at the screen as the AI took its sweet, sweet time to attack. An option to allow the AI to move faster would have greatly improved the flow of the game. As is, the battles are just too slow. ACORN Tactics is an interesting case – it may be the first time I’ve ever enjoyed the later stages of the game and at the same time wished it would hurry up and be over.
Being too slow during the combats and lacking any depth in its mechanics, ACORN Tactics is lacking on elements that players take for granted in tactical and strategic games and overall, this game does not amount to a fun experience.