Title: Tooth and Tail
Developer: Pocketwatch Games
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Lead the revolution with an army of flamethrowing Boars, mustard gas-lobbing Skunks, and paratrooper-puking Owls. Tooth and Tail is a Real-Time-Strategy game featuring Single Player, Online Competitive Play, Split Screen, Replays, and more.
Build a base, lead your army, eat your enemies!
The War for Meat
The Longcoats, the Commonfolk, the KSR, and the Civilized are in the midst of a Civil War over who gets to eat, and who has to be the meat. A darkly humorous tale of riots and revolution is told through an extensive Single Player campaign.
When I first saw the images for Tooth and Tail, the first thought that came to my mind was Redwall. However, the more I played it the more I realized it shared more similarities with Animal Farm than it did with Redwall. Whereas Redwall was run by mostly innocent animals living in peace, Tooth and Tail chronicles several different animal factions as they war over the dwindling food supply. The twist here is that animals have recently taken to eating meat, and consider eating vegetables to be beneath them. The losers of this war will be eaten by the victors, and the animals are fighting to not starve to death. Adding to the Animal Farm similarities are the appearances of a Tsarina, secret police, and the constant references to a revolution. These dark plot points are balanced out by moments of levity which ensure that the game is never too morbid. Having said that, this game is most certainly not for animal lovers.
In the game, you take control of the four different factions: the Longcoats, the Civilized, the KSR, and the Commonfolk. Each faction has unique missions, and their stories all intertwine. The Civilized are the ruling class who deemed the Commonfolk lowly enough to consume. Then there’s the Longcoats, another faction, which revolts under the Civilized rule, and the KSR, also known as the secret police. Unlike other strategy games, you only control one character- the commander. As the commander, you’re able to rally troops and direct them to attack specific enemies. By only allowing you control over one character, Tooth and Tail simplifies the strategy experience so that you don’t have to worry about micromanaging your entire army. Moreover, Tooth and Tail only has one objective: destroy the opposition’s farms to win. Through streamlining the experience, Tooth and Tail is incredibly easy to pickup and learn, yet difficult to master. Matches tend to only be around 10 minutes each, making the game perfect for quick sessions. Further, between mission, you have the opportunity to return to home base and interact with your army and start new missions. Through these interactions, you’ll gain a sense of the larger picture and the different opinions within each faction.
The graphics in Tooth and Tail are simple but very informative. Each faction has a distinct colour to make them easily distinguishable from the others. Specific types of units are matched up to specific animals: ferrets are infantry, birds are air units, snakes are artillery, etc. This is a clever use of the animal motif that also helps the player easily identify the different units in a crowded battle. Another positive side effect of the simple art style is that the game runs smoothly on most computers, even older laptops. The settings are limited, but only in the sense that you should be able to hop into the game without adjusting anything. There weren’t any noticeable bugs, and the game ran without any issues.
Tooth and Tail’s dedication to simplicity means that the amount of tactical options in engagements are limited, with strategy mostly restricted to what type of units to use. Because you control the leader, all you can really do is order units to charge in and fight. Another issue I had was the length of the campaign. I was hoping that Tooth and Tail would have a longer campaign to explore all the different factions and flesh out (no pun intended) the setting and the story. I was a huge fan of Pocketwatch Games’ last title Monaco, a cooperative heist game, and that contained a massive campaign filled with memorable twists and turns that this game doesn’t quite reach. Lastly, there is no option to play the campaign cooperatively, which was a slight disappointment given Monaco’s large emphasis on cooperative gameplay. However, this is understandable given that the games are completely different genres.
All in all, I would recommend Tooth and Tail to anyone who is interested in strategy games but is not a fan of complex controls or micromanagement. The streamlined approach and intriguing story kept me hooked, while the multiplayer gives the game replayability. Here’s hoping this game leads to an actual Redwall game in the future!
Steam Code obtained via Pocketwatch Games in exchange for an honest review.