A first look at Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Have you ever read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and wanted to implement your very own tactical masterclass in a bid to outwit and humiliate your opponents by your sheer military prowess? Well, you can’t do that here.

What you can do is plop down two wooly mammoths and have them fight to the death across an ancient medieval battleground versus 500 farmers. If that sounds intriguing, Landfall’s Totally Accurate Battle Simulator might be for you.

Landfall, the development studio behind the chaotic physics platformer Clustertruck, Stick Fight: The Game and the skill based party game Square Brawl have released arguably their most sought-after title yet. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator has been in a playable and testing state from 2016 and has only recently released on Steam under the Early Access banner where it has taken the top-selling charts by storm.

In a game that prides itself on silly physics fun there is a surprising amount of depth and interesting mechanics to keep Totally Accurate Battle Simulator fun and engaging for several hours.

tabsFeaturing a single player campaign that spans several historical era’s including Medieval and Viking, you will be launched head first in to an array of interesting and funny battle scenarios.  Picture the scene: 75 halflings stand angrily on the opposite side of a miniscule brick bridge and it is your job to conquer the land for your own.  Using your limited resources, as each level imposes a monetary spending limit to provide a challenge, how will you overcome this fearsome foe?  Maybe you will create a halfling army of your own, perhaps you will take advantage of the king who is shadowed by a militarised set of priests with the sole purpose of healing him or maybe you will opt for the scarecrow that launches birds in a fit of rage at the unsuspecting enemies.  Whatever you chose; overcome, divide and conquer!

Fear not, this package wouldn’t be complete without a sandbox mode – I took advantage of the currently limited campaign, which will feature new maps, units and levels in the future, to learn the ropes and grasp the extreme nuances of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. I have never been one for silly physics-based games like Goat Simulator, but as someone who enjoys strategy titles and watching a cavalcade of spaghetti-legged NPC’s mindlessly beat the life out of each other while screaming incoherent, but admittedly hilarious noises from every orifice – I had a unaldulterated amount of fun setting up impossible scenarios and witnessing how they played out.

Using the limited amount of units currently available, although Landfall has stated more are in the works and will be released for free in future updates, as well as introducing a unit creator – which I am way to excited for, I played around in the sandbox mode for more time than I would have liked to admit. Placing 400 clubbers on either side of the battlefield and hitting the start button to watch my CPU chug in a glorious physics mesh of googly-eyed combatants is unlike anything I have witnessed in gaming. Pitting Zeus and his ranged lightning bolts against a mammoth or snake archers and just sitting back and witnessing the utter mess I had created emitted a childlike sense of fun that I have not had the joy of feeling for years. As a kid did you ever have wrestling figures or toys and make up scenarios or use your incredible imagination to design a over-the-top battle in your mind, using real world objects around you like otherworldly objects?  This is my experience in Totally Accurate Battle Simulator.

The camera controls are a little wonky at the moment and can be hard to control but this is something that will more than likely be refined during the Early Access period. However, there is a slow motion mode out of the gate and it is nothing short of stupendous – watching a wheelbarrow unit rush around the battlefield attempting to crush the heinous blue team or bodies flying, legs akimbo after being graciously smacked in the face by a catapult in slow motion had me in real fits of laughter like no other game has evoked in me.

I had one instance where the battle appeared to be over but I could hear muffled screeches to the tune of HURRDADURR and after further investigation discovered one of wheelbarrow units was buried under a pile of one hunrderd plus corpses, writhing around attempting to brainlessly escape being buried alive like some sort of over-the-top wrestling match in a bid to throw tomatoes at his enemies.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my time with Totally Accurate Battle Simulator and it’s stupidly chaotic physics based fun and nonsensical battle cries kept me entertained for hours.  I am extremely excited to dive in to the unit creator when it launches, which I hope comes complete with Steam Workshop integration to allow for a supermarket of unlimited units to subscribe to. It would also be great to see more detailed maps rather than the many open battlefields that are in the current build; lets see some indoor, close quarters combat or huge, sprawling Total War like maps.

If you would like to see 40 minutes of raw gameplay footage, check out the video below and prepare to laugh uncontrollably.

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