Turn-based strategy has always been a more than welcome genre on Nintendo consoles. Proof of this is the not inconsiderable amount of this class of games that we have found since the days of the Super Nintendo, going through the Game Boy Advance until reaching Nintendo 3DS. Honoring that tradition, today we have to talk about 1971 Project Helios, a game with a national flavor that has been developed by Reco Technology, a study that gained considerable experience with strategy after the release of Numantia (of course, only on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC) and whose work has not gone unnoticed by the review.
Before starting this review, I would like to warn you that I will avoid making comparisons to other long-running games in the industry as much as possible. The reason? It does not seem fair or really necessary to compare an independent proposal with games that have a great economic investment or big names behind them.
Welcome to your reality
The world of 1971 Project Helios It is very similar to ours, but with a small difference: everything has gone to hell. The constant storms that hit it have forced its inhabitants to adapt and survive at any cost. Looting resources, forming groups, making raids and killing if necessary are part of the rules that allow you to survive another day. It is in one of these forays, one that seemed to be routine work, that we make a catastrophic mistake that we can only fix based on making great sacrifices and embarking on a long and dangerous journey.
Collaborate with whoever it takes and then you will think about how to dissolve that society, the only thing that matters here is your objective and how effective you are to anticipate all the movements of the enemy. One that always tries to attack your weak points and will force you to repeat and think of strategies over and over again. Do you think you have what it takes? Well, go ahead, the world of 1971 Project Helios Is waiting for you.
How I play, 1971 Project Helios It does not tell you all its history and details at once. The relevant is told through a number of sufficient static dialogues, but there are details reserved for those people who take the time to explore to find the documents that are scattered in the areas in which we move between chapters. This decision helps you focus on strategy and places great importance on camp, a base to which we can go between chapters and that, in addition to serving as a rest and management area, allows us to know a little more about the world and history through interactions between the characters.
Focusing on pure and simple gameplay, we find an AI that likes to punish the player by focusing their attacks on the weakest units and that is quite correct in terms of level of challenge. Losing a team member means having to start from scratch again, but luckily you start again just before the match. And yes, there is a certain probability-based component of chance (as in all strategy games), but at the end of each game session you can’t help but feel that all punishments have been fair and despite everything, you suffer the consequences for your own mistakes. You also suffer from the camera, which is a bit annoying at times and it doesn’t stop missing that it is much more practical.
To add a last layer of complexity, we find a simple but functional skill system whose most important feature is that it is well done. Once unlocked, the skills can be used to your liking as long as you have the necessary item to do so, so you’re encouraged to try various combinations to find your own play style. Could it be more comprehensive and can you get more out of this feature? Yes, but the current system works and any enthusiast of the genre can understand it with just a little intuition. And if this seems like a little, there is also a « Glare » mechanic, a rare component that can turn the battle in your favor, or at least give you time to think about how to try again.
Isn’t everything too white?
Despite standing out a lot at the playable level (after all, this is what is asked of a strategy game), we found that 1971 Project Helios It falters a little as far as the graphic and musical section is concerned. Visually the game is not bad and it offers us some interesting environments, yes, but on many occasions these become somewhat repetitive. To this we must add the fact that the version for Nintendo Switch, in portable mode, yes, seems to be slightly less detailed and blurry in resolution. This is not a problem when playing, but it is a small thorn that gets stuck.
In terms of performance, this title more than meets and in long gaming sessions I have not experienced any relevant problems. This in both portable and desktop mode, of course. Finally there is the soundtrack, and this is where I have mixed feelings. The music in the game is not bad and, in fact, everything regarding sound effects or environmental themes is far above what one might expect, but when we get to the battle themes, things change. The chosen themes do not seem to fit very well with the atmosphere of the game or the situation we are experiencing. With this I do not mean that they are bad (they are not) but I do they feel very out of place on more than one occasion.
1971 Project Helios – Let’s stick (but take turns)
Despite some problems, I have to admit that 1971 Project Helios It has exceeded all expectations that it could have had. It is a game that knows how to be challenging without having to resort to tricks to frustrate the player and take advantage of this to create a false sense of difficulty. Dying in a battle is quite common, yes, but it will always be due to your mistakes, and the fact that you can try again from the moment before that battle makes it possible to take your time to clear yourself and think of better strategies.
The skill system and the presence of the Glare help to make the game accessible to anyone trying to get started in this world of tactical strategy, and are a kind of solution to some somewhat irregular (luckily rare) peaks of difficulty. Finally, and as I have said before, I am not going to compare this game with other projects of greater renown or budget, so I can only recommend it for anyone who wants to take their first steps in this genre and while supporting national development. .
We have analyzed 1971 Project Helios thanks to a digital code provided by Meridiem Games. Version analyzed: 1.0.1
Let’s stick together (but take turns)
1971 Project Helios is an ideal proposal to get started in strategy games thanks to solid and easy-to-learn mechanics that will punish you fairly instead of seeking to create unnecessary frustration. For those with more experience, the game offers a fairly competent challenge with an AI that can cause you more than one problem.
Solid gameplay that’s easy to adapt to
A good AI that puts you in difficult situations, but is not unfair
The music used in the battle phase is anticlimactic
The camera can be very awkward to control