Well, here we are again.
Two months back I looked at Meridian: Squad 22 back in its early access stages. In all honesty, my opinion of the game really has not changed since then. As an individual project (or near enough to it) this is an impressive personal achievement. As an RTS game, it still holds good merit, a beautifully designed game with a relatively compelling story to boot even if the whole game feels horrendously familiar.
Squad 22 follows on from the previous game, New World, with a food shortage on Earth and search teams being sent out to find new planets suitable for human life. Squad 22 is sent out to find a search team who have gone off the radar and typically get trapped on the planet by a mysterious force shooting down the ship. While the story is not incredibly engaging it is engaging enough to keep you locked in with the mystery for the duration of the game.
Which is good as the replay-ability of the game is short for those who are not the most hardcore RTS gamers. There is no multiplayer due to the small studio size and as such, most people will openly dismiss this game outright. I would have; I play RTS games sparingly, and when I do they are far more casual experiences with friends rather than hardcore solo ventures. Those who are serious Starcraft or Command & Conquer will probably invest the most time in.
That’s because what this game does well is stick within the lines of other RTS games, breaking out in few instances but to great effect. Where it breaks out heavily is the map design. Each map is designed to be beautiful: deserts, sea, and grasslands all add to the sensation that you are traversing across this planet.
But the issue with sticking within these lines makes you feel like you have done this all before and considering the first four missions basically involve killing everything. This feeling of similarity continues for most of the game. The crescent shapes of the Shardium fields remind me of Starcraft, and the ‘hold out for 20 minutes’ mission brings back more memories of Starcraft again, as well as Command & Conquer.
Along with the uncanny valley of RTS games you also have other niggles which drag the game down. You cannot produce not nearly enough units and their movement is far too clunky. Most painfully the interface does not give you enough information to work with missing rather crucial information such as idle worker.
Squad 22 is a nice RTS to fill you. Not the most polished; not the most invigorating and far from the most ground-breaking. It’s fun enough. No more, no less. Earning a respectable 6.