Ninja Bee’s upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title Band of Bugs (previously known as Bugs of War) is an interesting change from their comic games like Cloning Clyde. It’s a casual strategy game (dare I say strategy RPG?) where you guide an army of bugs on a grid based board similar to Final Fantasy Tactics. You’ve got warriors who have to walk up to attack, mantis archers who have their attack range increased if they’re on high ground and mages that can freeze other bugs. While the gameplay is really similar to a SRPG, it’s been trimmed down to make more accessible for people who aren’t in the genre. You don’t have the detailed hit % stats that Disgaea has or the class changing in Final Fantasy Tactics. Instead attack damage is simplified by randomness and a little meter that shows you if you made a critical hit or not. There are missions to complete and a story to follow, but where Band of Bugs shines is with its level editor.
Players can make 12×12 grid maps, place obstacles and units for up to four players to play on. The interface is simple to use where you stamp terrain from a tile set. If you want to make battles more complicated you can put up rivers as a barrier and raise the height of the ground to make walls. If you want you can get creative about what’s on the battlefield. Band of Bugs comes with three tile sets, but Ninja Bee is planning to release more in the future. Once your level is complete you can share it with your friends by setting up a multiplayer match and everyone who plays will automatically download the map. The map retains the gamertag of the original creator so you can gain internet fame from making a popular Band of Bugs map. Band of Bugs looks like it could be a great multiplayer game for tactics fans and it’s coming out on Xbox Live Arcade soon.