First Strike is an RTS game released on Steam that offers up a gameplay style evoking similar traits to DefCon, in that your objective is to nuke the other world leaders into surrender, or extinction. Gameplay is simple and easy to get into, although you will need to refer to the written tips on the main menu to understand some options. While you lack any moveable units for the most part, it is your call what actions each state under your grasp takes, and making the right decision is crucial as anytime a state is doing something, it is indefensible and can be attacked. Even though this does not make it completely vulnerable (you can order neighbouring states to defend it in its stead) decisions must be made carefully; busying your entire country with things to do is like painting big red target in your land for the others to hit. It’s a simple formula, and when it works, it’s pure fun to play around with.

You won’t feel lie you’re just repeating the same scenario over and over either, as many unlockable nations are available in this game, which also simultaneously increase how many opponents you can face at once. This steady increase in challenge can serve as enough of a push to encourage you to go for just a little more each time, and is a good way of encouraging you to play more than just once.

The game is not without some nagging problems, however. Throughout my playthrough of this game, I could not get away from the fact that the primary way of controlling it feels like it was built for a touchscreen. Now while this is fine as an option on PCs, I feel the game could use a better interface for mouse users. It’s very unintuitive, and sometimes when you click on the wrong thing you end up frantically trying to figure out how to unselect it. Keyboard shortcuts do exist, but for those who don’t use them, they serve little benefit. There are also a couple of serious bugs in this game at the moment.

The main one that I’ve had is the Continue button not working on the main menu, but there are also times where I’ve gone through an entire game and crushed every opponent… and then nothing happens. The game fails to recognize that I’ve won, and my time spent on that win goes to waste. Considering that this game relies on winning for a few of the unlocks, this is a distressing bug that needs fixing urgently.

Despite that though, this game is a treat when it works, and at such a low price I’m hesitant to blast them so heavily for the UI. At the very least, it looks like the potential for continued work on the game exists. First iron out the bugs, of course, and then maybe we can talk about that kind of thing. For now though, First Strike is a decent recommendation at under £10… when it works.

++ Simple, fun gameplay
+Unlockable nations add replayability
- UI is optimized for touchscreen, bad for PCs
-- Glitches and bugs