The latest game from Zachtronics is out now with Möbius Front '83, a turn-based tactical strategy game that has America face off against America from an alternate universe. Note: key provided by their PR team.
"The year is 1983 and the United States of America must defend itself from an enemy it could have never imagined— an America from an alternate universe that will stop at nothing to seize control of the country’s heartland! In Möbius Front ‘83 you will fight tactical, turn-based battles with the cutting-edge military hardware of the early 1980s. Use every tool available -- powerful tanks, fast-moving attack helicopters, long-ranged artillery, tenacious infantry, and more -- to control the complex and rapidly-changing battlefield of the era."
Even though it's turn-based, with many such games being high up in my list of favourites so I have plenty of experience there, Möbius Front '83 was slow going. Difficult to get into initially due to the really slow pacing of the tutorial. Your movement is so limited that it just felt like a slog to get through it because it's mindless clicking and I think they could have done a lot better on making that intro pull you in.
Thankfully, it's a lot more interesting than the tutorial gives the impression of once you get into the thick of it. As a strategy game, it is thoroughly good (although there's not really any depth to it) and firmly challenging too. The Standard difficulty often completely annihilated me but thankfully there is a Relaxed option too. For you Steam Achievement hunters, keep in mind that you get a dedicated Steam Achievement for finishing it on Standard on top of the one for finishing it on any difficulty.
Möbius Front '83 is all about very careful planning and positioning to maximise what you can do when you're given so little. There's no undo here. So when you screw up (and you will) it has consequences that may need a retry or two here and there.
Each level presents an entirely different tactical issue, one you need to carefully study and solve with explosions and plenty of them. Hide your troops amongst the bush to get them setup and hopefully catch enemy vehicles in the sights of your anti-tank weapons, which is really what it's all about.
The cut-scenes you get where you listen to chatter between members of your squad are great too, with some wonderful convincing voice over that went into it. I absolutely adore the style of everything here in Möbius Front '83 too, like pictured above with the little screen you get it's so full of charm.
It's a long game too, the tutorial plus first mission took me close to an hour, partly due to the slow pace of the battles. It didn't help that I destroyed all enemies, and taking over points on the map can only be done once per turn, meaning the end of some battles might see you just hitting end turn repeatedly until it's over. Something I hope they tweak.
Möbius Front '83 includes some US army manuals, which they said might not improve your strategic thinking in the game but may give you an idea of what they were going for. A nice touch either way, as clicking them opens a full PDF to read through.
Since it's made by Zachtronics and they're known for their puzzle games it does also include another take on solitaire, and there's some traditional Zachtronics-style puzzles. You're getting the full package here. You can expect to keep going through it for above 10 hours easily, especially with the side-activities.
If you love strategy games and appreciate the unique and polished take that Zachtronics always put into their games (along with Linux support too), I think it's easily worth picking up.
You can buy it from Steam. With the GOG and itch.io versions to come once the release has settled down.
Additionally if you're a big Zachtronics fan, they've have a little "pop-up" store available here with their ZACH-LIKE game design book and iron-on patches.
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