Band of Bugs Review

So Far Band of Bugs has been slammed by critics and has an average review score of 69/100. DO NOT be swayed by this without trying the game. The basic problem in a lot of these reviews is that they view Band of Bugs as too easy for tactic/strategy game fans and too hard for casual players. My problem with so many of the reviews is that they seem to be reviewing and critiquing the concept of Band of Bugs (create a simplistic and more casual tactics experience) than the actual game itself. Why such glowing reviews when Ninjabee simplified RTS genre in Outpost Kaloki? Aren’t RTS fans as hardcore and particular as Tactics/Strategy fans? Apparently not.

In the end, a review is just a person’s opinion. Typically, I think that all the critics reviews average out correctly, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Band of Bugs. At least, that’s not the direction the reviews are heading. I can only hope that I fairly review the game and voice some opinion or perspective that is worthwhile.

Graphics: 9/10
Pros: Phenomenal 2D art..Gigantic HD handdrawn depictions of all the bugs look great! 3D engine looks good for a Live release and all the different types of units and teams are easily discerned. The animation of all the critters is stellar.
Cons: The different color line shading does detract from the graphics somewhat…taking this option off is usually not worth doing in multiplayer, but it does improve the 3D graphics.

Gameplay: 8/10
Pros: Fully Featured game with an enjoyable campaign, a multitute of online modes, and a level editor. This is where Band of Bugs has really been critiqued and while I found the campaign somewhat easy, I was very entertained and it was all over too quickly. I was actually left with questions about Maal’s origin and hope that DLC will fill in these holes. The campaign dialogue is absolutely brilliant and quite witty and funny. While strategy/tactics fans may find the game easy or simplistic, the point of the game was to make this genre of games more approachable and casual. Outpost Kaloki certainly simplified RTS games, and I loved that it did (not being the biggest RTS fan) even though I struggle to beat certain levels. While I agree that Band of Bugs is no Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem, etc. is it fair to compare it to these full retail games? I don’t think so…it would be like comparing Outpost Kaloki to Command & Conquer 3.
Cons: I did miss the rock-paper-scissors weapon element that is present in the fire emblems, but this game is supposed to be simplistic. I do agree with some of the other reviews about the RPG elements and stat-tracking. Adding in some character customization would have been great…from naming them, to picking 2-3 skills/abilities/spells. I think it could have been added while still staying simplistic and casual.

Sound/Music: 9/10
Pros: The bug voices/gibberish is absolutely great and works perfectly with the game’s sense of humor and tone. The sound FX as a whole are well thought out and distinctive to certain units, actions, etc. The Music is good and fits with the theme…
Cons: ..but some of the music misses and feels a little repetetive…ok only 1 particular song, but still a con.

Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Pros: I find it hard for anyone to argue over the feature set in this game. It offers a variety of multiplayer modes: Spider Hunter, Elimination, Capture, etc. both online and locally. There is also the great addition of a Level Editor plus a full 20 mission campaign story mode with additional stand alone missions. It’s a game chock-full-to the brim with features for $10.
Cons: My complaint is squarely on the online multiplayer… I have found it very hard to find ranked games and virtually all the games I have played have been Spider Hunter. I really love elimination and find a human opponent very fun to compete with online…so Band of Bug players stop playing Spider Hunter.

Average: 90.00%
Tilt: +2.00%

Don’t get me wrong, Band of Bugs has it’s issue and may not be a homerun for Strategy Fans, but it delivers on a ton of features. While RPG elements and custom Bug armies would have been great, this game’s purpose was to offer a simplified and more casual Tactics gameplay experience. Ninjabee certainly delivered on this goal and exceeded their previous titles in the story mode and dialogue category if you ask me. My biggest issue with the game is that I wanted more of the campaign, more Maal, and that I find it incredibly hard and time consuming to find online ranked elimination/capture matches. Everyone plays Spider Hunter! I don’t think I’ve mentioned that the turn system works FANTASTIC for online matches and keeps them action packed. Great design decision! All in all Band of Bugs offers a lot of game for $10. Perhaps the reason for all the low reviews is that people are comparing it to $50-60 titles, since the quality of the game and features resemble those full priced titles over the typical offerings of Xbox Live. Give Band of Bugs a chance, you probably will find yourself smiling and chuckling along with Maal and his gang.

Verdict: 92%

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