We’ve recently started exploring how well our usual gaming experience might translate to mobile platforms, and the recent release of Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus seemed like a great opportunity to dive further into that – here are our thoughts.
Of course most premium phones out there can handle gaming pretty well, but our interest has been in the option to play games with more affordable models that are cheaper than a console. Our guide on mobile gaming on a budget discussed this in some detail, and we ended up testing with the affordable OPPO A77 – which we also used for Tacticus.
Tactical seemed like a great test case too, as it takes the complex and lore-rich environment of Warhammer 40,000 and tries to translate it to the content of a mobile game. Developer Snowprint has a strong track record in mobile game design though, so we were eager to see what they’d do with the license. After all, we’ve seen Warhammer 40,000 in nearly every shape and form by now, with Total War: Warhammer III as a recent example of how massive things can get in terms of complexity and detail.
Unsurprisingly, Tacticus takes a much more accessible approach, keeping the lore and look and feel but stripping things back to a focus on the Ultramarines. You start off as a solo marine against the Necrons, but along the way you’ll meet and recruit others as well, slowly building on the tactical options and depth that the game offers. Different units will have different classes, and through the game’s visuals and writing it feels like a genuine Warhammer 40K experience that doesn’t trivialize the large amount of source material.
As a free to play title, it’s not surprising that Tacticus uses gacha/loot box mechanics to help you grow your party (of up to five heroes) and level them up through equipment and upgrades. The actual battles take place on a hexagon grid, and unit placement matters – you can find cover or seek height advantages, and flanking the enemy XCOM-style is generally a good tactic.
Battles are generally fun to engage with, though the free to play element obviously means that you’ll eventually have to be patient, grind, or head towards the in-game store – the latter of which we’re not a fan of as newcomers to the mobile realm, with so many other PC/console games to choose from. We really liked how Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus successfully manages to take the 40K universe and turn it into an accessible/casual experience for mobile platforms though, and it does so with excellent an audiovisual presentation that runs really well on when you don’t have the latest and greatest device.