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Game Info:

Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution
Developed by: High Tale Studios
Published by: Black Shell Media
Released: March 2, 2016
Available on: Windows, Mac
Genre: Turn-based strategy
ESRB rating: E10 (Mild cartoon violence, tobacco reference) 
Number of players: 1 to 2
Price: $9.99

Thank you, Black Shell Media, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

The French Revolution started in 1789. Those that felt oppressed and overtaxed by the French government had had enough, and wanted freedom. So they loaded their guns, gathered their nuts, and built their defenses.

Hang on... gather their nuts?

Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is a very abbreviated look at the French Revolution, as depicted by squirrels and a healthy dose of artistic embellishment. The game should not be construed as a historically accurate depiction of that famous war, but like many other turn-based combat games that reenact historical events, it may indeed plant the seeds for further investigation into this time period.

In the game, you play Charles de Montesquirrel, who has had enough of the taxation of the French monarchy, and decides to take a stand. He faces off against several opponents, each of which has different "powers" to oppose him. For example, the Tax Man, the first opponent you face, has the ability to take acorns from your bank at the start of every turn. 

Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution
Highlights:

Strong Points: Simple gameplay; challenging AI; nice animation
Weak Points: Mediocre music; gameplay gets repetitive; hard to find other players online to play against; sometimes AI is too smart!
Moral Warnings: Tobacco use; squirrels shoot each other

Each turn consists of placing units on the player's side of the board. Having three identical units adjacent to each other will cause them to merge into a single, stronger unit. Once all the units are placed, you can spend acorns for power-ups, like additional defense, or healing your base. Then the squirrels will fire, causing damage to the opposing team, and hopefully the base behind the units. Once the base loses all of its hit points, that side loses, even if it still had units remaining. The gameplay is simple, but troop and defensive placement becomes a critical point to success.

Despite its silly premise, this game is not a pushover. The AI is wicked smart, and there is a steep learning curve just in the first few scenarios. Fortunately, you can replay any of the scenarios you have completed, or are presently on, as many times as you'd like with no penalty. However, your past victories do not reward you with advantages in the next challenges. Like most board games, you and your opponent start on equal footing. The scenarios always play out the same, for the most part; the boards are not randomly generated, and the opposing units will always appear in the same positions. This makes it a bit easier to decide what to do whenever you have to replay a level, but with the computer being as smart as it is, not by much. Some difficulty options might be nice. 

Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 90%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

The graphics in the game are cute and smooth, with the squirrels leveling their firearms or dying by falling backwards and fading into the ground. There is no blood as they take injuries or are killed. The music is nice and holds the action well, but gets repetitive after a while. There is no voice acting in the game – instead, the story is presented through still images and text boxes at the beginning of each scenario. The cutscenes consist of the camera panning around 3D figures while pop-up text at the bottom explains the story. Although there is some humor, a good portion consists of Monty Python references. Amusing at first, but predictable, and grows stale before too long.

There are two multiplayer options available. One is a local "hotseat" format, where two players can use whatever characters have been unlocked in the campaign. The second is an "online" format, but when I tried it, the game never found any other players to play against. I presume that the player is still limited to characters they have unlocked, but I was unable to test this portion out.

Aside from squirrels shooting each other, the only moral concern may be in the use of tobacco. One of the units you can unlock, the grenadier, lights his bomb with a cigar before rolling it across the battlefield. The game also features civil disobedience against an oppressive government, but given that this is the French Revolution, that's to be expected.

All in all, this is a cute turn-based strategy game that proves deceptively difficult. The game may be too hard for children, unless they're determined to outsmart the computer. Still, it is worth a look, especially for those that enjoy squirrels, French history, or French squirrels shooting each other. Viva la revolution!

About the Author

J. Todd Cumming

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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