It’s not a logical game.
May 21, 2019 9:23 AM   Subscribe

'Totally Accurate Battle Simulator' Captures the Goofy Mayhem of Mass Violence [Vice Games] “Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is a silly game. It’s purposefully whimsical, everything about it is built to support its farcical premise of AI fighters stumbling toward each other on various battlefields, swinging weaponry around with the physical comedy that accompanies physics-based animations. Knights wobble and fall over under the weight of their swords, mammoths trample crowds then clumsily topple to their sides as axe-throwers throw axes in hopefully the direction of their targets. It’s mayhem, and it’s undeniably goofy.” [YouTube][Game Trailer]

• For parents, TABS is an outstanding game [Polygon]
“My youngest son, a boisterous 8-year-old, will often ask me about the games I’m playing for work. And I’ll tell him. “I’m previewing a new game about aliens,” or “I’m reviewing a strategy game about samurai.” It’s a nice way for us to connect, although he views my game tastes as pretty dreary. He’s not mad into sweeping historical death sagas or heartfelt indie love stories. When it came to telling him about my current interest, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, I couldn’t recall the game’s name, so I had to describe the general concept to him. “It’s like an overhead view thing where you take a dozen archers and a knight and then you take a Viking berserker and five shieldmen,” I said. “And they are two opposing teams, and you let them loose against each other, and then you see who wins. The strange thing is, they’re like silly ragdoll soldiers, but their goofy physics don’t matter because as the battle progresses, you really get into who’s gonna come out on top.” Long before I’d reached the end of my précis, he was bouncing off the walls yelling “TABS, TABS, TABS”.”
• Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is a ray of silly sunshine [Eurogamer]
“Who would win in a fight out of Zeus and a mammoth? Minotaurs against halflings? Snake archers against potion sellers? They're the showdowns society yearns for but history denies... no longer! Now we have Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. It's not accurate, of course - no one describes anything as "totally" with a straight face. And TABS, as everyone calls it, doesn't have a straight face. It has a googly-eyes and lollops like a drunken marionette. It is a raspberry in the face of serious army-commanding games and I love it for it. TABS is so simple to play. You spend points to build an army, place it, then sit back and watch the fight - you don't control anything in real-time other than the camera. What's in your army depends on how many points you have to spend. You might spend 2230 points on a mammoth, for instance, or use the same amount to buy four flying Valkyrie - they're a bloody nuisance. Or you might spend 4000 points on two Zeus-es, or 4200 on three scarecrow, which are better than they sound.”
• Totally Accurate Battle Simulator Is Finally On Steam, And It's Great [Kotaku]
“TABS’ AI, in case you were wondering, is not very good, but I think that’s on purpose. Units flail in circles and scream, something that never fails to make me laugh. They slam face-first into each other like Looney Tunes characters. They fall off cliffs like different Looney Tunes characters. However, other elements of the game are unintentionally busted. On a couple occasions, it just stopped letting me place units for no apparent reason, and I had to jump back to the main menu and reload the level I was on. The game’s also just straight up crashed on me a few times. Thus, we find ourselves at an impasse: On one hand, it’s hard not to wish TABS was in better shape—or at least a little less early—after the amount of time it’s spent in development. On the other, it’s wicked fun, a series of slow-motion train wrecks you can’t look away from because you engineered them. Despite my reservations, I can’t help but recommend it. There are plenty of video games that I’d call “dumb fun,” but few are this dumb or this fun. TABS is, in so many senses of the phrase, a no-brainer.”
posted by Fizz (14 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a huge fan of TABS.
And without doing a self link thing, I pushed for and got my company to add replay support for it. First non-vr game to boot.

Either way it's a genuinely funny game and well worth picking up, even in early access.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

For anyone else who enjoys hilarious ragdoll like physics, Human Fall Flat is also a game worth checking out. Lots of fun.
posted by Fizz at 10:11 AM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love TABS. It is amazing how the goofiness fades away after playing around with it for a while. Figuring out how many hobbits it takes to kill Aragorn becomes a strangely involved effort. And when they finally do it (at 50+, forget the exact number), you're so thrilled at the plucky & rabid little things that you kinda ignore that the king was essentially killed by a horde of hobbits head-butting and nibbling him.

I hope the game will one day have leagues, where you can enter your team to flail against other user-created teams. Two leagues. One with teams sorted by the salary caps (build strength points), and one that's just a free-for-all. That, plus an RTS mode, would be perfect.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:31 AM on May 21, 2019

Oh my god they all have googly eyes...
posted by gc at 11:41 AM on May 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

I wish Polygon still had weekly LP video series, because they would have a ball with something like this. (We Fought a Zoo used a similar, albeit less fun-looking, sort of battle sim.)
posted by ardgedee at 12:15 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I made the mistake of showing my son a couple of gameplay videos of TABS and now he asks me to buy it every day.

Maybe on the steam summer sale.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:21 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another sim in the same vein is Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator.
posted by zabuni at 1:59 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

They need to teach this at game design school. They knew exactly what they wanted to make, put every resource into making that, and now people are delighted with it with it. Hell, teach this at all art schools.
posted by East14thTaco at 2:00 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Needs more goats.
posted by ...possums at 4:28 PM on May 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is sort of how I played Carmageddon II, except it was a one-sided battle.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:53 PM on May 21, 2019

I just picked up TABS before this post!

My self imposed "challenge" has been to solve all things with either fireworks archers or halflings when they are options. I highly recommend the fireworks archers in general, as they really make the wonky physics shine.
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:36 AM on May 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've been following the lead designer on Twitter and 1) he looked like he was having way too much fun with the engine to ever finish the game, so congrats on that, and 2) the little GIF videos he posts reliably have some of the best comic timing I've ever seen in a video game.
posted by straight at 4:41 PM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I bought this yesterday after reading about it here... had a blast playing through some of the campaign after work last night. Thanks for posting!

Also, valkyries are way OP.
posted by Grither at 4:47 AM on May 23, 2019

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