DETOUR – An Indie Game Review

DETOUR – An Indie Game Review
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Steam

Game Name:

Detour

Developer(s):

Sandswept Studios

Genre(s):

Action, RTS

Release Date:

May 16th, 2011

Developer Summary:

DETOUR is an exciting construction-based war game in which players pit their minds and their might against one another in order to safely guide a hapless delivery truck across a deadly battlefield! With DETOUR, Sandswept Studios puts a colorful twist on the RTS genre, creating a game that is both simple to learn, and complex to master — like a chess game with bombs! DETOUR sports endless amounts of unique strategies, a built-in map editor, AI opponents, 5 distinct modes of play, 27 single-player challenges, unlockables, online play, an epic soundtrack, and much, much more!

detour game screenshot one

What We Think:

Detour had a little something I was looking forward to when I first heard about it. My first PC game I ever had was something called Gearheads. It was a game where you wound up motorized toys and let them loose on the play-field to try and get ten of your own toys to cross over past your opponent’s side of the table. Detour is very similar in concept except it’s with trucks on roads.

You must build a road from your depot to the other side of the map, while your opponent does the same. Sometimes you’ll be criss-crossing over each other’s roads, and sometimes it’s a head-on exchange. The game works best when it’s a criss-cross however, as even though when your trying to cross to opposite sides of the map, you can still totally miss each other. The game then becomes a passive experience where you just try to build faster then your opponent rather then make any kind of effort to disrupt their progress. And this I’m disappointed to say, is where the game falls flat.

detour game screenshot two

There were several rounds where I never even saw my rival. I just built straight across and sent a few truck, ending the round in a win. The only time I had a problem was when there came a few maps where several opponents were lined up trying to cross the map to the top. My neighbor would disrupt me so much, while the AI the farthest from me was not harassed at all, winning quickly.

The problem comes when spending resources to attack is not as effective as making a mad dash for the other side to steal a win. And, making an attempt to disrupt your rival almost ensures he’ll get the upper hand on you later.

There were a couple of other things that bugged me though. The UI is unbearably unintuitive, the hotkeys are a mess, and the menu for selecting structures to build is like a big Rolodex of units and abilities that is a chore to find what you want quickly and when you need it.

I Know You’re Out There…Somewhere…

The other major problem I had was the fog of war. I can understand how they would want players to be able to operate and plot their attacks without being noticed. But, there is a ability that allows you to remove the fog of war for just a few short seconds. By itself this isn’t too much of a problem; the cool-down for the ability is long enough that it can’t be spammed. However, you can’t launch attacks such as missile strikes on a location that you can’t see. Then it becomes a problem since yes, the cool-down for vision is so long that you can’t get the strikes in that you need to properly disrupt your opponent.

Detour game screenshot 3

Bottom Line:

If the UI were cleaned up, Hotkeys reworked, and some gameplay changes made insofar as how the line-of-sight works, Detour could become something clever and unique. But as it stands now, it’s still too much of a mess. Even after several patches it’s a pain to get to what I want in the build menu. I’d like to see what it could become, so I’m disappointed to have to say I just can’t recommend it, at least not yet.

Get DETOUR on Steam

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

HappyWulf

[USA] Gaming since he was 3, most main stream titles have become a 'been there, done that' feel. Indie gaming is where the innovation is at these days, and even in some tired old genres, a developer with a dream can breathe some fresh life into an old formula.

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