No matter what way I look at it, First Strike: Final Hour reminds me of the 1983 classic Wargames. For those too young for the film or don’t have time to appreciate a classic film, Wargames focused on a young Matthew Broderick who unwitting hacked into a government supercomputer that was originally designed to predict the outcome of nuclear war. Unable to tell what is simulation or reality, the computer attempts to start World War 3.
As ridiculous as the premise is, back in 1983 the film had movie-goers afraid, after all this was in the middle of a cold war between the US and Russia. First Strike has that same effect, given the tension between multiple superpowers who each have their own stockpile of nuclear weapons, the question on everyone’s mind is “who is going to strike first?”
In First Strike: Final Hour, we’re given very little narrative, just enough to set us up to take control of a nation with their own stockpile of weapons and sent out to unleash hell. This is a great thing for the game as it takes a very Risk style approach, featuring a minimalist globe design to give you more focus on the managing your part of the world and preparing for attack.
While looking like a board game, First Strike is a RTS with a heavy focus on Time Management. Players will have to focus on managing their world superpower between research, missile creation (for both defensive and offensive use), and expanding their territory. While not much happens early in the game, it doesn’t take long before the missiles start flying.
Timing is extremely important to First Strike as you have to really focus on what part of your land is working on expanding, building missiles or providing helpful research that will help you get the advantage on your opponents as while they are doing these task, they are open to attacks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my country get blown to pieces because of a lapse in judgement caused by building missiles instead of firing off some defensive strikes.
Stockpiling weapons to successfully defend yourself and ultimately launch a counter attack makes things easier, but almost nobody can survive an all-out strike which has every missile stockpiled launched at the same time on one country. It’s a bit overkill but sends a point.
Where First Strike falls short is in its progression system. Some Nations are locked behind a progression system that asks you to complete some tasks. These range from easy to extremely difficult but with my time with the game, it didn’t feel like it made much difference.
Another feature that the game was lacking that I felt it could greatly benefit from is a Multiplayer mode, while the RTS-Board Game inspiration was fun with a challenging computer nation, I could see Multiplayer working extremely well for the title, it’s a shame that at the time of this review that it was lacking this particular feature.
First Strike: Final Hour is a blast to play, it’s simple to pick up and learn, yet it still delivers some fast and frantic matches that will bring you back for more.