High Tale Studios and Black Shell Media invite players to experience the most historically inaccurate retelling of the French Revolution – with squirrels – in this turn based strategy game. The game opens up with a detailed cut scene where a camera pans over freeze framed action sequences that detail the reign of King Louis the Umpteenth and his Queen, Marie Antoinutte, as they live lavishly at the expense of their squirrelly constituents. Players meet their hero, Charles DeMontesquirrel, as he is approached by the Tax Man. Determined to no longer give all of his acorns to the greedy King, Charles decides to stand his ground and battle the Tax Man.
Each battle in Acorn Assault takes place on a ten by twelve grid, half of which is allotted to each player. Behind the grid is a ‘base’ that must be defended by the units the player places on the grid. Units consist of offensive squirrel shooters and defensive barrels. Lining up 3 barrels upgrades the defenses to 1 sandbag stack, and upgrading 3 squirrels with pistols upgrades them to 1 squirrel rifleman. Riflemen can then be boosted to Bombers, and sandbags can be boosted to wooden barricades. Following the placement stage, the player is then given a chance to spend acorns earned from upgrades to buy damage or defense boosts, or base repairs for more HP.
Following the player’s turn, a short animation will take place and any revolutionaries on the board will then take their shots at the enemy base. Any squirrels in the line of fire without proper defense are at risk of being shot down, and bullets do a diminished amount of damage depending on how many obstacles they must go through before hitting the base. As there’s not much in the way of a tutorial, learning how much damage will make it through to the base, if any, is learned on a trial and error basis.
Acorn Assault consists of five chapters with each chapter being broken down into five battles. The main enemy of each chapter comes to battle with tricks up their sleeves to hinder the player’s efforts to advance to the King. The Tax Man from Chapter One, for example, will steal leftover acorns that the player doesn’t spend on upgrades at the end of their turn and double them, allowing him to spend more on damage and defense buffs. Chapter Two’s Gate Keeper has the ability to replace the wooden barricades at the front of his grid. While the rules of the game dictate that the Gate Keeper can only rebuild one, two, or three of these barricades at the beginning of each turn depending on the player’s progress through the battles, it appears that he can in fact restore all of them.
While the player’s base begins with double the HP of the enemy’s bases, these bonus abilities for the AI can, at times, increase the difficulty of the game to a ridiculous degree, especially considering the glitch to the Gate Keeper’s benefit. That said, the game itself is actually pretty enjoyable and the variations in game play from the AI abilities also keeps it from becoming stale. There are only 3 types of assault or defense units available at the highest tier of upgrade, however, and so Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution could’ve greatly benefited from larger battlefields and greater unit variations. The game does feature local versus mode multiplayer and players can take advantage of the AI benefits for themselves against their friends in these games, as the enemy characters become playable in multiplayer upon their defeat.
In short, Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is a surprisingly enjoyable turn based strategy game that can at times be exceptionally difficult if not down right unfair. While it could benefit from some polishing (there are quite a few glaring spelling errors, including King Louis the Umpteenth, himself’s, name during his chapter)-, its still worth giving a chance.