REDCON – Strike Commander is a wonderfully animated combat game that has you commanding a battle fortress packed with artillery pieces. REDCON is available for both Windows Phone and PC with a simple task to tackle – destroy your enemy.
While the task sounds simple, finding success may be a different story. While you can bombard enemy strongholds with an assortment of artillery rounds, your enemy can return the favor. Victory hinges on how well you can manage your cannons and how well your aim is.
Graphics have a slightly dark, steampunk mood, fitting for the futuristic battle front, and animations are full of detail. While it may take a while to get a handle of gameplay, with a little patience, REDCON-Strike Commander turns out to be an entertaining game to spend a little time with.
There are four versions of REDCON-Strike Commander available in the Windows Store. There is the free version that has 18 missions to tackle and some reduced features (mainly with artillery types). The free version can be upgraded via in-app purchases that range from $2.99 to $5.99. The costlier the upgrade, the more features become available such as fortress layouts and artillery types.
The layout of the game, regardless of your version, has a main menu with options to play the game, view the online leaderboard, access your gaming options, choose your upgrade option and view the about screen. Options for REDCON-Strike Commander includes sound and music levels, an option to restore purchases and an option to reset the gaming progress.
Gameplay with REDCON begins with a series of storyboards that highlight the game's backstory. The First World War never ended and the world knows only war and bombardment. You take on the role of a Strike Commander for the Empire State, tasked with leading an artillery offense against an enemy General.
Once the backstory concludes, REDCON-Strike Commander transitions to a series of tutorials that are extremely brief. The tutorial screens feature gaming story characters who highlight key gaming mechanics such as how to initiate a battle, repair damaged cannons and launch Zeppelin attacks. The tutorials aren't the best and need a little more meat on the bone. Gameplay can be sorted out through trial and error, but a more robust tutorial might avoid losing a few battles as you get a handle on things.
The primary battle game involves destroying enemy strongholds with your artillery. There is an additional battle game where you transport your engineers to enemy strongholds, via Zeppelin, to dismantle enemy weapons. Prior to any battle, you have a chance to read up on any weapons or support items in place. There is the option to spend gaming cash, earned during gameplay, to upgrade and customize your fortresses after you progress in gaming experience. However, during the early stages of the game, this option is not available. When you are ready to enter combat, tap the Battle Button that is in the bottom right corner of this information screen.
Generally speaking, there is a mortar and cannon in place along with a defensive system, munitions bunker and targeting system. As you progress through the game, additional weapons and support structures become available. There is also a collection of troops or engineers that staff your installations and repair them when damaged.
The gaming screen looks sharp with your military assets filling the left half of the screen and your enemy's military assets filling the right side of the display. A dividing line slices the middle of the display to illustrate the distance between the two sides. In the upper left corner, there are several command buttons that allow you to change your munitions type, pause fire and power down units.
Along with the run of the mill explosive type munitions, REDCON-Strike Commander has specialized munitions available. Just tap on the mortar or cannon and then on the munitions button at the top of the gaming screen to switch loads. Munitions types include double-shots for the cannon that increases your rate of fire, but decreases accuracy, shredder bombs from mortars that target personnel and flash bombs from mortars that stun enemy personnel for 12 seconds.
The course of gameplay has your weapons fire and targeting done automatically. The staff of engineers present can be shuffled around between armaments to effect repairs or improve performance. Just keep in mind that your engineers are not bulletproof and can be taken out by enemy fire.
Moving the engineers around can be a little tedious. Double tapping on a unit that has an engineer inside it prompts the engineer for movement. All that is needed is tapping the engineer's new destination. You can also tap on a unit with an engineer, then tap on the engineer button that appears at the top of the screen and then tap on the destination where you need that engineer.
One strategy I found successful is to keep the engineers moving around and staffing your targeting system as constantly as possible. Moving targets seemed to survive longer and if you run out of engineers, your weapons are easy targets for destruction.
Once you reach level two in experience, REDCON unlocks the ability to customize your fortress. Mortars, cannons, defensive units, munitions bays, medical units and more are available to adorn your stronghold with.
While the brunt of gameplay involves artillery bombardments, there is also a gaming mode where you transport engineers to enemy installations to dismantle them. Zeppelins appear periodically and dock at your base where you can move engineers inside them for a brief flight to the enemy installation. Once docked at the enemy installation, they disembark and battle any enemy troops present. Repeat the process until you've overtaken the enemy installation or the enemy defeats all your troops.
REDCON-Strike Commander also includes a few gaming levels that combine the Zeppelin raids with the artillery battles. In the missions that combine these two elements, a balance is needed to send enough engineers to invade the enemy fortress while keeping enough engineers at home to conduct repairs.
While the goal of REDCON-Strike Commander is straightforward, destroy your enemy before they destroy you, the game is full of features that can make the game a little overwhelming at first. The game isn't overly complicated and after a few battles you begin to get the hang of things, but at first you may feel a little lost.
The game nails the basics really good with sharp looking graphics, detailed animations, and challenging gameplay. The background artwork is exceptionally well done and adds an omnibus feel fitting for the battlefield. I think what would help REDCON the most is a more detailed tutorial and the ability to target specific enemy targets with your artillery.
Gameplay has a bit of a management feel in that while your guns are firing automatically, you need to concentrate on keeping them firing. That is, manage your engineers where they minimize the impact any damage your guns and support structures take from enemy fire. As you advance in gaming experience, the management aspect extends to how you customize your fortress.
Overall, REDCON-Strike Commander is a Windows 10 game that starts out slow, but after spending a little time learning your way around gameplay it is a gaming title that grows on you. Available for both Windows 10 Mobile and PC, the 18 missions in the free version is enough to help you make the call to invest in the premium versions. I do think the game needs a little polishing, but as is, I can see the popularity REDCON-Strike Commander is already mustering with Windows gamers.