Games Workshop is well-known for doling out licenses like candy, regardless of the final product’s quality. Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus is no exception; it’s a free-to-play gacha game that’s only a somewhat entertaining diversion from other, better Android games. Set in the titular Warhammer 40,000 setting, you’ll lead groups of characters from several factions in fast turn-based combat across multiple game types. While the tactical gameplay impressed me, the excessive commercialization makes it bloated and difficult to recommend.
While other gacha games’ attempts to convert franchise interest into revenue are blatant, Warhammer 40,000 Tacticus‘ technique borders on the weird. Purchases that are cheap and unneeded are matched with expansions that cost as much as whole PC games. Unless you’re eager to play six campaigns at once, there’s little incentive to buy anything in this game. Tacticus, on the other hand, has surprisingly decent gameplay. While the narrative objectives are easy to complete, the different game types provide fascinating tasks that frequently take significant thought to complete.
After a few hours of playtime, I filmed the video above. The tutorial seamlessly transitions into the primary campaign, and a brief explanation of the various options quickly gets you into the game. The gameplay was fluid, and I encountered no issues.
The abundance of choices and tabs is quite inconvenient. The brief introduction got me started quickly, but it left me scratching my head later when I tried to redeem awards, unlock chests, or improve characters.
Of course, all these tricks are intended to trick you into spending money, but Tacticus’s monetization plan is absurd. You may buy loot boxes with random gifts and campaign extensions with guaranteed characters for an exorbitant fee. The reasoning may be the standard “people are eager to pay money for their favorite characters,” but this is where Tacticus takes an unusual option.
Games like Disney Mirrorverse allow you to play as your favorite character, which many people are willing to pay additional money for. However, most of Tacticus’ playable characters are generic nobody with no defined narrative or past.
Tacticus’ other revenue strategy is to persuade you to buy character enhancements. This appears to be a fantastic opportunity to dig into the narrative and equip your heroes with legendary weapons and wargear from throughout the globe. Once you’ve enhanced your character with your favorite tools, the game encourages you to discard them all to level up your character’s stats, returning it to its original blank slate with somewhat higher numbers. There is little feeling of actual character development. Allowing Tacticus to modify the appearance and weaponry of generic characters may have given them more personality, but he squanders this chance. Upgrading your characters improves their performance on the battlefield, but this also makes little sense.
Tacticus has various game types, each with its in-game cash. When you run out of that cash, you must wait until your allowance is replenished before you can play again (or purchase more, of course). You’ll spend most of your time in the first three modes: Campaign, Arena (where a computer controls another player’s squad), and Survival. To win, all players must beat all of their opponents on the battlefield.
After completing the tutorial, I discovered that the gameplay was significantly more gratifying than I had anticipated. Each game mode presents a challenge that forces you to change your strategy or risk failure. While the campaign missions are relatively simple, the survivor mode had me carefully thinking about my actions, and the Arena mode dealt me some nasty defeats. It’s a simple turn-based game, but with such small terrain, there’s little room for error. Each character has a specific purpose, and ensuring your squad works well together is critical to success. It is simple to learn but challenging to master.
Your skill directly affects your performance in Warhammer 40,000 Tacticus, so once you’ve mastered it, you won’t see the need to spend for improvements. This is another reason I’m perplexed by microtransactions: there’s no need to pay to enhance your characters. Each game option provides enough rewards to keep you going, and if you get stuck in one, you can move to another to level up before returning. I’m sure there’s a brick wall down the road that can only be broken down with money, but it’s much further away than I thought.
Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus is a contradictory game. Greedy commercialization is rendered obsolete because it is unneeded; the only incentive to spend money is to obtain additional material, which, while costly, isn’t an unreasonable offer. The gameplay is challenging in places; however, simple ways exist to overcome the difficulties. Overall, it was a satisfactory experience. It’s better than other gacha games, but it will not make our list of the top Android strategy games.