|| REVIEW || Halfway (PC)

 Developed By : Robotality                                                 Published By : Chucklefish
Category : Pixelart, Turn-Based Tactics, Strategy, RPG
Release Date : July 22, 2014

By now, I have well established my love for the strategy genre of gaming, more specifically the turn-based games. I can enjoy real-time, but having those precious extra moments to plot out the perfect set up can be incredibly clutch for finishing off a level. I've played a good amount of games in the genre, at least enough so that I have a good idea of what I enjoy and what I don't. So now, the hunt is all about finding those further games to enjoy within the genre. 

I grabbed Halfway on a sale because I had played the other more recent game from Robotality, Pathway. I was instantly hooked and fell in love with that game, and with the sale being a hell of a deal there was no reason to turn it down. 
 The game begins with you in control of one of the characters, Morten. You awaken on a ship drifting through space with now idea where you are exactly. The only thing you do know is that you're not supposed to be awake yet. At first, your only other companion is the ships AI, Amber, but you quickly stumble across some of your other crewmates. However, not all of them are well and are out to try and kill you. You'll need to strap down with the survivors you can find and explore the ship bit by bit to figure out what is going wrong and, hopefully, how to put an end to it and survive. 

Navigation around the ship is the same both in and out of combat. The rooms are laid out in a grid and you'll move around by clicking a space on that grid. For the most part you'll have a squad with you in all levels. When you're out of combat you can choose to move each squad mate individually with a left-click, or right-click to move everyone together. Also while out of combat, certain objects can be interacted with in the levels, whether they're switches and panels to open doorways, or lockers and crates for you to loot some gear. 
Each time you gain a party member, they'll always come with their own gear : a suit of armor and a weapon. Once they are in your party though, you can swap these out at will, so if you'd like you can have a whole squad of snipers or machine gunners. They also have stats based on their health, aiming ability, agility for movement, and these can all be upgraded through the use of Stimpacks that can be found in the levels. Everyone also has two abilities, an active one and a passive one. These come in very handy, such as Linda's ability to self-heal, or that for Josh, reloading doesn't use any of his action points when it costs one for everyone else.

Gameplay is spent between the games levels, or your base of operations that ends up relocating a couple times through the game as your squad grows. At the base is where you can interact with your other party members, purchase some gear, and most importantly pick your missions. You'll have a selection of main missions or side ones to choose from, all varying in objectives such as locating a crew member from the ship or retrieving some specific gear. 

Combat though, combat is where I was really excited to explore this game. Each unit in your squad gets two Action Points to spend, and the same applies for your enemies too. During your turns, you can choose to move the character once or twice (depending on how far you move), attack an enemy if they're visible, use an item, swap out gear or utilize a characters special ability. Enemies all get the same amount of Action Points on their turns as well, so it's fairly balanced. 

I say fairly because...well, that's just how it is. Right off the bat I really enjoyed everything about this game. However, as I progressed through, there was one feature/mechanic that really started to kill the enjoyment for me. And the worst part about it, is that it's not even something you can plan for. 
Part of the problem with your ship story-wise is that it keeps making random jumps through space. When these jumps occur, you typically end up in the same location just with things looking different. The main thing that generally looks different is if you were in an empty space, after the jump it's less empty. And filled with enemies. Who then get their turn to attack you first. It's frustrating, and annoying because, again, you can't plan for these moments and when they happen you can find your entire squad getting wiped out before you even have a chance to plan a single attack. 

Other than this, the game is absolutely great. There's a few things that are different than other turn-based strategy games. Most have a defensive move called Overwatch where you can set up a cone of vision and if/when an enemy moves through it, you'll attack them. Halfway instead gives you an ability called Retaliate that only triggers when you're directly attacked. So if you trigger this ability on one member of your squad, the entire enemy force can focus on a different squad member of yours and...your retaliate person will just sit there and watch death be delivered. 

In the end it's still an enjoyable game. I had a lot of fun picking this title up and absolutely don't regret it. However, because of the issues mentioned above, it's not a title that I would personally sit and play through for hours on end. The one time I tried to do this, I ended up in a situation where the ship went through one of those jumps and my whole squad got wiped out before I could do something about it. The missions individually are pretty quick though, and that makes it easy for this game to be picked up and only do a level or two at a time. Although, as always, what bothered me may not bother you and you could find yourself marathoning handfuls of missions in a single setting. 

Game Rating : 7 / 10

Pick up the game HERE on Steam

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