Super Senso Preview: A New War
Greg Johnson / Sep 30th, 2016 No Comments
The Japanese term “senso” translates to war in English. That means “Super Senso” roughly translates to “Super War.”
Super Senso is an homage to the Advance Wars series, with similar turn-based strategy and unit production. The cutesy art-style of the units is also reminiscent of those in Advance Wars. Like the game it draws inspiration from, Super Senso will be a mobile game, but it will release for iOS and Android devices.
We got the opportunity to check out a preview build of Super Senso at PAX West 2016.
Stacking the Deck
In Super Senso, players are pitted against one another with the ultimate objective of destroying the other player’s base.
Along with a number of units, from snipers to tanks, each team also has at their disposal a “super senso,” which is a giant mech that is stronger than any other unit.
I was able to play a full round of Super Senso with a pre-built team. Normally, players must earn units, which consist of various soldiers and military vehicles, to build their own “decks.” More units for each deck are then purchased with in-game currency or real-world money.
Despite this, developers made sure to note that Super Senso will not be a pay-to-win game. It will feature in-app purchases, but these transactions will simply help you acquire high-powered units faster.
Players can save the decks they build to use them again later, and different combinations are encouraged as some units have advantages over others. Heavy infantry can take on tanks with rocket launchers, while machine gun choppers can quickly mow down snipers.
Part of the strategy is guessing what sort of team composition the enemy will bring to a match, and then building a suitable counter. In this way, Super Senso has roots in card games like Magic: The Gathering.
My deck build was one of stronger units that had fairly limited movement. The AI had a team comprised of fast units with limited health. My longer-range powerhouse units made short work of the enemy, but only once I learned to wait out my opponent until units were within range.
There are several different maps where battles take place, and each caters to a different play style. It is up to the player to figure out which type of deck is best suited for each map.
A more open, city-like map I played during the demo featured some terrain to use as cover, but ultimately favored units that could quickly cross the map. This could be countered by slower units with longer range, but if the faster units got in quickly enough, the counter would ultimately be for nought. The best counter to any unit lies in super senso.
Each super senso has specific abilities. For example, the mech I played with had an ability that allowed it to pick a new target if it succeeded in killing its previous target. Without this ability, a super senso can only attack one enemy per turn.
I was able to use this ability to chain together multiple kills, making my mech a powerhouse against groups of enemies I’d already weakened with other units.
My matchup was against an AI opponent, but the focus of Super Senso is player-versus-player interactions. I was even told that the single-player experience will serve as training for PvP matchups.
Turn the Tide
In the game, players take turns making moves. On one turn, I was able to move all of my units once and, if within range of the enemy, attack.
Units are created through bases on the map, which can be built using resources gained through the destruction of enemies.
Every turn ends with an orbital strike, where an orbiting laser cannon fires on the main base, against whoever’s turn is ending. How strong the orbital strike is depends upon how many units you’re able to destroy during your turn.
I played it safe, but was still getting knocked around viciously by the AI. I would attempt to gang up on individual units, but ended up getting myself into positions where the enemy would flank me.
Meanwhile, my AI opponent was able to systematically pick at my base by destroying weaker units and building up its orbital strike power.
Despite spending most of the match struggling to keep my base defended, I was able to build up enough of an army to crush multiple units on my final turn, thus powering up my orbital strike enough to win the match in one swift blow.
If players find themselves down in a match, the orbital strike can be the great equalizer.
Go Army Go
I was able to pick up Super Senso with relative ease, even with my lack of experience in turn-based strategy games. This was due to the simple nature of the controls. Units are responsive to button taps, and that is all that is needed for Super Senso’s mechanics, from troop production to attacking.
A tap on a unit selects them, then varying move options and attack choices are highlighted for your reference. Once you make a choice, another tap initiates the move.
This simple one-finger method of control was my favorite aspect of Super Senso. It made a strategy game based on critical thinking easy to learn.
Cutesy Lil Missile Barrage
Every single unit of Super Senso is incredibly cute. From tiny snipers to the super senso, the game is filled with chibi-mechs.
This is bizarre considering how visceral some of the attacks are, especially the missile barrages. Every time I would order a tank to scuttle into firing range, it would rain down missiles in fiery detail.
When units died, they didn’t just slump over, but would react to each hit and finally convulse to the ground. If the unit was a vehicle, it would create a pretty, yet guttural explosion.
Super Senso drew me in with cute retro-looking visuals, but kept me engaged with its incredibly brutal animations.
War on the Go
Super Senso features incredibly fast matches that also warrant replay value through varying deck compositions. The cutesy art style was jarring at first, but Super Senso is not as family friendly as it appears. It is not a gory game by any stretch, but the animations leave an impact.
Strategy is key, and the possible deck combinations were impressive during my experience of the preview build. If the final build keeps the spirit of the preview, Super Senso will be a very addictive and smart mobile strategy game.
Super Senso is expected to release at the end of 2016 on Android and iOS.
tags: android , GungHo Online Entertainment , ios , mobile , PAX , PAX West 2016 , preview , Strategy , Super Senso , Turbo Studios , Turn-Based