My love of Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is well documented but have no fear, that isn’t going to impact my score of Age of Resistance Tactics, which I’ve now played for two hours on the Nintendo Switch. First impressions were good, as I’ve said previously I haven’t played a tactics game before so was completely open to the experience on offer here.
Firstly let me make this abundantly clear, do not play this game if you’ve not watched the Netflix show. As a tie-in game it covers the main story beats adequately, but it fails horribly in conveying the level of emotion that the puppets in the show do. Of course I accept they weren’t trying to here, but the in-game interpretation of the climax of the first episode had me audibly groaning at how slapdash it was.
Now we’ve got the Netflix aspect out of the way, the game play is quick to learn and a great example of a pick up and play game. The issue with this is that not long after you pick it up, you’ll put it straight back down again for the irritating character sound effects and repetitive game play loop. You may have thought after completing a couple of games that there would be new features introduced later to keep things interesting. That is not the case unfortunately and what you see in the first five minutes of game play is all you get aside from a gradual increase in difficulty and a steady decline in fun.
The visuals and environments on the menu screen are very nice, but in the moment to moment game play not so much. Whenever a character takes damage they give a slight grunt of acknowledgement to address it; sounding more like the dawning realisation you’ve left home without your wallet than the actual case of being stabbed by a giant poisonous insect.
The iconic Skeksis don’t have much to do in Tactics, appearing briefly in a handful of levels more out of fan service than any real reason to be there, as they aren’t much more difficult to take down than normal enemies. The Chamberlain even makes his usually sinister ‘hmmm’ whimpering sound, but it must have been recorded by whoever happened to be in the office that day, as it doesn’t come close to sounding anything like Simon Pegg’s stellar version.
I don’t dislike Age of Resistance Tactics, but I’m under no illusion as to why it has to exist. It’s just an attempted cash grab playing off the success of the Netflix show nearly six months after its debut. It definitely feels like there was no plan to make this game even on the show’s release day, but following the acclaim it received, another project was pushed to the side so this game could be rushed through production.
Age of Resistance Tactics is available now digitally for £15 and I can’t help but feel a lower price point would have gone some way to attracting better critical scores. Don’t feel that just because you liked it on Netflix, that you should in any way be compelled to give this the time of day.
For dull gameplay and poor sound effects, saved by sometimes pretty visuals and capable gameplay mechanics, I give The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics