Every now and again a game comes across my radar that I really wish I’d gotten an email about. Like Thunder Tier One‘s brand of tactical co-op.
If you liked the original Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six — not the more modern iterations of Tom Clancy games — or even tactical strategy games like Frozen Synapse and Door Kickers, Thunder Tier One might be up your alley. It’s basically a top-down real-time shooter, complete with a full co-op campaign and multiplayer modes like domination.
The appeal here is very much in the methodical approach, using smoke grenades, angles, co-ordination and teamwork to clear out areas. There’s also a PvP mode which has an element of The Division meets Counter-Strike: one team has to take a package to an extraction point, where they wait for exfil. The other team has to search for their opponents, and take them out before the exfil is complete.
Thunder Tier One has a higher time to kill than something like CSGO, however. And it has this great recon drone-esque observation before each round, letting teams plan their defence or approach.
What I really like is the UI here. Because it’s a top-down shooter, it can be hard to determine how exposed you are at any given time. Here, Thunder Tier One has some clever visual aids to show whether you’ll be able to shoot over an object. There’s a neat radial menu for controlling AI characters, too. And there’s a system to convince enemy combatants to surrender, helping avoid unnecessary gunfights and noise.
What’s wild is this is a game from the makers of PUBG of all things. And while a top-down tac shooter isn’t in the same league as a first/third-person battle royale, it’s clear there’s a lot of love for some of the games that have inspired the genre.
A few videos have popped up on YouTube from the recent playtest, and they all look … well, pretty damn good. The game doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can follow the Steam page for more info. Hopefully whenever the studio does another beta round, they’ll make a bit more noise, because this looks great.