So, Honey’s has gotten its hand on a brand-new PC/Steam game, and we are going to give you the down low on what to expect. First Strike: Final Hour is a fast-paced real-time strategy game that will keep you glued to the screen until the world is destroyed. Having first come out last year as simply First Strike, this game was a smash hit for mobile devices. It received numerous awards, including the Indie Prize’s ‘Best Mobile Game and Best of Swiss Apps 2014’s ‘Best Game Award’. This is nothing new for Blindflug Studio as they have produced several award-winning mobile games over the years, such as the impressive Cloud Chasers.
What to Expect
As mentioned above, First Strike: Final Hour is a RTS video game that demands your constant attention. To put it simply, the moment the game starts, you won’t be able to stop scrolling around the map, producing missiles, and figuring out your next step. Admittedly, this new version that is coming out on Steam and PC does have a save button, which is a godsend, for when you actually need to take a break or have some urgent matter pop up.
Along with the inclusion of a save button, Blindflug Studios decided it would be nice to add a few more compelling features. First off, we got a total of 12 super weapons, which is double the amount of the original mobile game. Then there is the Diplomacy Mode, which forces a more tactical style of gameplay. With graphics and controls updated in general, you will find quite a lot to love about First Strike: Final Hour if you do not mind zipping across the screen to make sure each of your territories is producing exactly what you want them to.
First Strike: Final Hour Trailer
First Strike: Final Hour does not have much of a story to speak of. To be honest, if you are looking for a strong story, especially on a mobile game, take a look at Blindflug’s Cloud Chasers. That game details the adventure of a father-daughter duo, who must traverse a vast desert in a dystopian future. It is actually quite a nice little ride. In First Strike: Final Hour, your story is simply how you play the game. The story is one of victory or defeat with the plot points being the nations and cities that have been destroyed.
Not that starting out as a mobile game excuses a lack of story, but it is clear that the game wanted to hold itself to the particular niche of RTS. Also, truth be told, it does not need anything else outside of its gameplay. It is a fun game that can be played relentlessly due to its lack of story. The more story in this type of game, then the more drawn out it becomes and the harder it would be to consistently come back to it. Though the comparison is a bit exaggerated, it does have a similar vibe to Civilization.
The heart of this game is dependent on strategy and being able to zip quickly through your map of territories. From the get-go, you have a few options with your territory/territories. You can build missiles to attack, cruisers to defend, expand, create a diplomatic relationship, or research new technology to help you improve your missiles/technology and bring you within reach of a super weapon.
An important note is that each super weapon has its own set of research related features. The Stealth Bomber focuses on cooldown times and detection while the Trident (three-pronged nuke) gives you more missiles per territory and extended reach. A good deal of fun in this game is unlocking all of the super weapons and discovering what technical abilities they give you.
If you decide to start out as the United States (the Easy Mode for the game) you can exploit the numerous territories you already have to gain quite an advantage over your enemies. This is a good choice for beginners to the game, as the amount of missiles flying, progression of your enemies, and overall tactical options can be overwhelming.
Once you get the hang of it though, which involves realizing a good expansion distance and figuring out the areas of your entire nation that will be dedicated to a type of service. For example, once expanding a bit, one might find themselves using the inner states as research facilitators, while the outermost states will be focused on offense. What’s nice, is that the game lets you decide exactly how you want to set up your nation, which gives you a lot of maneuverability.
The sense of freedom is definitely challenged once you enter Hard Mode, which is playing as North Korea. You have to follow a much narrower path if you wish to achieve victory in this mode. This is not necessarily a problem, because having such a difficulty definitely can make people want to replay the game until they figure out the best strategy. However, if you were thinking that the increase from easy to normal would be similar to normal to hard, then you are quite mistaken. It is tough and it feels more like you were thrown into the mode that is usually titled ‘insanity’.
The sense of freedom in play also brings out one of the more mixed aspects of the game. The creators decided to forego a multiplayer option. Considering the type of game, one would think that a multiplayer mode would do phenomenally well. However, as we were discussing the joy of the game’s freedom, having a multiplayer mode on such a tiny map could easily steal a lot of that freedom. The competitive level would probably be high and force players to take a specific path. In the end though, a player could just choose not to play in such a mode and so why not throw in such a style of play for those who want it? Just a suggestion for future patches.
Ensuring that you enjoy each moment of missile launching and blowing up nations is a mixture of nice arcade-like graphics and easy controls. Being able to navigate the entire world with a quick pull of the mouse is nice, and the graphics keep things light despite the obvious world destruction that is occurring on the screen. Watching your missiles blast off and curve their way towards the enemy territory (if you actually have time to watch the spectacle) is rewarding. This goes double for launch any special type of attack, whether it’s an all-out missile launch or sending in a particular special weapon. Each type of super weapon does have its own little animation run, and it’s quite a show of fireworks.
The only other aspect to truly speak of is the soundtrack. It fits the style of gameplay and successfully makes you feel like you are in some techno-advanced war setting. The game would definitely be less appealing without the music, but at the same time, people can easily substitute the game’s music for their own favorite video game/dub mixes. This is not a Final Fantasy soundtrack where you actually feel that the music is its own story and necessary to develop moments.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
First Strike: Final Hour hits its mark as a fun and accessible RTS game. It does require a bit of strategy and gives you enough options to keep you coming back for more. The game definitely runs smoothly, with only a few hiccups here and there, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you are a first-timer, then just wait until you see two nations send out all-out missile launches at each other. You will most likely find yourself distracted by the firework show and then thankful that none of those rockets were directed your way.
Can be slightly glitchy
Learning gap from normal to hard
Honey's Final Verdict:
First Strike: Final Hour is definitely a fun game that can provide a great amount of entertainment. This is especially true if you only have a limited amount of time to play each day. It is quite easy to go in as the United States and dominate the world within the span of 20 minutes. For those wanting more of a challenge, then start as North Korea and be doubly thankful for the inclusion of a save button. Altogether, it is perfect for both casual gamers as well as more studious players.
Author: Yoko Dev
Hello, my anime peers. I’m from the states, but have taken an indefinite leave to travel while freelancing. Outside of a deep admiration for anime that started long ago, I love to read, write, and play video games. The main issue of traveling so far has been not having a console.