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Rob Zacny

Episode 408: Tooth and Tail

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Three Moves Ahead 408:

Three Moves Ahead 408


Tooth and Tail
Tooth and Tail has turned out to be a game of note for several reasons. First, it deftly executes the short-form RTS genre while providing luscious artwork and pleasing visuals. Next, it provides a challenging and thought-provoking story that explores narratives in socioeconomics and societal structures. Finally, it appears to be a game that everyone on the show appears to enjoy. Rob, Rowan, Fraser, and game developer / Waypoint contribute Bruno Dias talk about animals eating each other because in the end, we're all just meat.

Tooth and Tail

 

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I know I just thanked y'all for waiting to discuss Shadow Tactics, but thanks for discussing this one soon after release. :) I have been looking forward to the next game from the Monaco team, but I didn't realize that it was out already!

 

Do aspects of the game remind anyone else of Pikmin or Darwinia?

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37 minutes ago, cornchip said:

Do aspects of the game remind anyone else of Pikmin or Darwinia?

 

We mention the similarities to Pikmin and Little King's Story when it comes to controlling your army of critters in the episode. I can honestly barely remember what Darwinia's like however, since it's been so many years since I played. 

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I've seen a lot of comparisons to Sacrifice too because of the commander unit, although I never played Sacrifice so I'll defer to others on the validity of those comparisons.

 

I think it is a real shame that most of the panel didn't really engage with the multiplayer component of the game. Whatever happened to the 3MA attitude of "who are all these weirdos that play the single player campaign of RTS's?"? Because I think the multiplayer is where T&T really shines. Meanwhile the single player campaign felt like an awful slog to me.

 

I didn't really pay much attention to the storyline, but in Tom Chick's interview with Andy he said the dark nature of the story was just because nature is cruel and violent. He used the aesthetics of the Russian Revolution as an obvious comparison, but I don't think he necessarily had some concrete political or historical argument he was advancing. That's probably why it came across as "muddled" to the panel.

 

I think the multiplayer matches feel just as thrilling and exciting as watching a pro Starcraft 2 match, but obviously it doesn't demand nearly as much from the player to reach that level. The quickness of the matches means you learn similarly quickly. It also has an excellent replay system to facilitate learning. Got stomped by someone, and don't quite understand what happened? You can watch the replay and copy some stuff they did the next match.

 

I'd also add that ranked matchmaking so far has felt pretty balanced to me, and most people I've spoken to. I gather that it gets weird once you get towards the top of the leaderboard, but when you're starting out everything is fine. T&T might have a smaller playerbase than some other games with bigger budgets behind them, but because of the brevity of the matches you can get into a match quickly, and the odds are you'll be playing against someone at a similar skill level to your own. The difficulty people have starting out is that new players don't really know how to defend their bases properly, so that's always going to be an issue. When I started playing ranked matches I was able to win the majority of games by just rushing lizards. As you rank up you start playing against people that know what they're doing, and that stops being effective, but you can go far when starting out while playing against people that don't scout properly, do weird things like rush T3 warrens, etc. The effectiveness of T1 rushes also got mitigated by the buff to the HP of warrens, although that doesn't do much good if players make bad choices about where to place their warrens.

 

For people that want to check out the strategic depth of the game I recommend following chipfromouterspace and Zeno_Akoop on twitch. They are top tier players, and you can learn a lot from watching them play to understand how you should think about your approach to the game because they are really good at narrating their thought processes. They also play whatever compositions they feel like. So contra what someone on the panel was suggesting, the game actually has a ton of flexibility in terms of viable strats you can run.

 

Anyway, I think anyone that ever thought pro SC matches were cool, but it's never something they thought they could get into should check out T&T. For years I thought the RTS genre was just not something I really could play anymore. It turns out I just needed to play one where being able to learn the strategy wasn't a complex task, and didn't have some crazy demands on the APM it expected out of the player.

 

 

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Yeah I have to admit I bounced off the narrative for this pretty quickly when I was playing this. They hit you with the cannabilism sub text from the off and I felt alot of the revolution stuff just passed over my head so struggled to muster the enthusiasm for it.

 

As far as multiplayer goes, I only played a couple of matches. First one I we got zerg rushed and another they bottled us in our starting area and starved us out. I feel the meta will definitely coalesce with the chesper units though. Quantity over quality usually wins out.

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There are a couple of units that are designed to deal with Tier 1 spam. Skunk, Boar, and Fox can all annihilate an opponent's army that has overcommitted to T1 spam. Most defensive structures help mitigate T1 spam as well. It's really hard for Tier 1 units to push efficiently into the enemy base with a well placed turret.

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5 hours ago, Fraser said:

 

We mention the similarities to Pikmin and Little King's Story when it comes to controlling your army of critters in the episode. I can honestly barely remember what Darwinia's like however, since it's been so many years since I played. 

 

Oops, sorry for not picking that up! I swear I listened before commenting. 

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6 hours ago, sclpls said:

I think it is a real shame that most of the panel didn't really engage with the multiplayer component of the game. Whatever happened to the 3MA attitude of "who are all these weirdos that play the single player campaign of RTS's?"? Because I think the multiplayer is where T&T really shines. Meanwhile the single player campaign felt like an awful slog to me.

 

"Most" is a wee bit of a stretch. Rob didn't talk about multiplayer because he's still playing through the campaign, but Bruno and I did. I'm pretty sure I even recommended that Rob play at least one MP match before he's done with it because it's the best part of the game. That said, I don't think we've had any particular attitude towards MP or SP on the show for years. SP campaigns are a big draw for a lot of people, and in many cases it's the only part of the game that they'll play, so we'd be remiss not to spend a big chunk of time talking about it. 

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11 hours ago, sclpls said:

There are a couple of units that are designed to deal with Tier 1 spam. Skunk, Boar, and Fox can all annihilate an opponent's army that has overcommitted to T1 spam. Most defensive structures help mitigate T1 spam as well. It's really hard for Tier 1 units to push efficiently into the enemy base with a well placed turret.

 

Yeah on the second match I placed turrets down to defend against the spam, but then they just bullied us out of the rest of the map and starved us so I lost that way instead :D

 

There's definitely more to learn, although I suspect it can be a quite unforgiving game at it's worst (like you just choose the wrong line-up or make a wrong step), but it's not one I feel particularly inspired to really dive into.

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Liked the music and the story of the game. But I don't really dig this pixel-art. It looks exactly like a budget thing. And there's no nostalgic feel or anything about this game. Don't like it at all.

 

Only played the campaign and it felt like I do not learn anything really. I reroll the map till the script gives me something that is winnable. All the choices are made for me and after I see what each unit does the game plays itself. I can only move my army forward. Sometimes I move artillery alone and spot targets for it. That's it. I don't get it.

 

Maybe I don't get tactical RTS in general. I love Rise of Nations but it's all about economy. I love XCOM and it's all about war but it's tactical and turn-based. Oh well. Can't see this game really becoming a hearthstone: even though mechanics are simple it all seems... uncontrollable. Too much mechanical skill.

 

EDIT: Also, Sacrifice is a very different game. There your character has various spells and it doesn't have map control focus.

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14 hours ago, ilitarist said:

But I don't really dig this pixel-art. It looks exactly like a budget thing.

I understand that people don't like pixel art, for some reason, but there's nothing cheap about good pixel art, quite the opposite.

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