Gamer on a Budget #14 – Lil’ Sherman
Reviewed by William LJ Galaini
Developer: Dabster Entertainment
Price: $2.99-$3.99 on PC
Where: Steam and itch.io
Lil’ Sherman is the freshman outing for Dabster Entertainment. Clearly intended to be a small scale hybrid of tower defense and third-person vehicle combat, this game takes familiar gameplay elements and drops them into a playful WWII setting.
First off, the genre itself is well-tread so we have a lot to compare Lil’ Sherman to. This does not do the game any favors. The defense towers you place give no feedback for the damage they cause and indicate nothing of their range or abilities prior to you directly observing them. Placement of these defenses is done through trial and error in mundane match after mundane match and in the end, it is almost just better to upgrade your tank and ignore the useless defense turret mechanics outright. After all, the developer kinda did since you can’t rotate your towers prior to putting them down.
The enemies are essentially two types of tanks: small tanks and large ones. That is IT. No troop transports, no enemy artillery, and no airplanes. How much more interesting this game would have been with a rock/paper/scissors approach of defending against infantry, airplanes, and armor requiring you to deploy and upgrade pillboxes, AA guns, and anti-tank cannons. But such engaging elements would have required Dabster to balance their game… which they clearly did not. Because everything hits the same.
The presentation is dogshit. Honestly, it is. While some screenshots online show shadows, the actual game has none. Overall, the muddy textures and samey levels make it appear, on par, with games twenty years older. There are no impacts to any explosions and the sound design is… bad. The static in the voice acting is alarming, the weapon sound effects are below acceptable quality, and the engine noise woefully redundant. While the music sets the mood well, there is but the one song and you will be finished with it fast.
There is an endless mode along with the four nearly-identical maps for the single player, but that would require a higher level of self-hatred than most have. Overall, it plays like an artless N64 game with comparable sound effects. There is no tutorial, not even one to read, because that would have taken effort.
I’m actually getting angrier as I write this.
Why you would buy it:
Want to support a new game studio
Costs less than a cup of coffee in some towns
Why you would pass on it:
The morbidly curious who need a break from Defense Grid or Kingdom Rush