Review: Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike –  Spectacular Vehicular Combat

Review: Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike

Triangle Studios is not new to video games and we have seen some really cool titles coming under their umbrella such as their previous release It came from Space and ate our Brains. Their latest project is Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike which has been developed by Convoy Games. The game has been out on PC for a good time however it is now heading on consoles including PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. This is our review of Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike on PS4 in which we strap on our helmets and get ready for some insane vehicular mayhem across the wastelands.

Convoy is a roguelite which is set in a post-apocalyptic world in the future. You are traveling aboard your ship Mercury which gets damaged while traveling in an asteroid field and you crash land on a hostile planet. The planet is under the control of three distinct factions who are at continuous war and are trying to take over the other factions. You land between these factions and your captain tasks you with finding the components required for fixing the ship and taking off again. This is where you jump in your MCV guarded by its escort vehicles and travel the vast desert dunes of the wasteland in the search of parts.

Review: Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike

The game features retro-style pixel-art visuals which look really good for the game’s setting. The game takes heavy inspiration from the universe of Mad Max and gameplay of FTL where you need to micromanage a lot of things in order to survive. I would say that the level of micromanaging is not the same as that of FTL but Convoy is much more easy and accessible to a large number of players. In addition, based on the overall theme of the game, the amount of micromanagement involved is just perfect.

Before you start a new game, you can choose two escort vehicles along with your MCV. At the start of the game, you only have a single MCV and a single pair of escort vehicles to choose from. However, you can complete different objectives or milestones to unlock better escort vehicles and MCVs. Better MCVs and escort vehicles come with more armor and better weapons so it is worth unlocking them. Most of these locked vehicles are unlocked automatically as you play the game and complete certain objectives along the way. Along with vehicles, you can also choose from one of the three difficulty settings which determine the difficulty of enemies and the quantity of your starting resources.

Gameplay involves two major elements. One is exploration, while the other is combat. Exploration is done pretty much right from the map of the game which shows a single icon of the MCV and you move it around on the map looking for lost signals, key quest items as well as different encounters all around the wasteland. During this phase, you can explore the world, interact with different signals you find on the map or simply find some enemies to engage in different battles. After you’ve found some enemies, you enter the second phase of gameplay which is combat.

Combat is the most fun aspect of Convoy and also one of my favorite. During the combat phase, you come under attack from the armed units of the factions and you have to defend your MCV from the attacks. Your escort vehicles come into play here however your main goal is to defend the MCV and ensure that it survives. If your MCV is blown, it is game over and you have to start from scratch again since it follows the roguelike gameplay mechanics. Your escort vehicles can be equipped with different offense and support weapons and tools. Depending on the vehicle type, some may come with all types of slots while some may only come with a single type of slot. Some vehicles come with both offense and support slots allowing for a more multirole build.

Review: Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike

The escort vehicles are light and disposable but your MCV is really heavy and can take quite a lot beating. MCV is fully capable of surviving on its own as well however as you progress in the game, enemies get tougher and the cooldown time of your MCV’s abilities becomes a major problem and you must have escort vehicles with you to defend it. At the same time, you can have from 1 to 4 different escort vehicles alongside your MCV. You can only control and move around the escort vehicles. You can select an escort vehicle and order them to move to specific locations and attack specific enemy units.

You can also give them advanced commands such as ramming enemy units. Attach a chainsaw to your escort vehicle and it doubles the ramming power. While you cannot directly control the MCV during the combat phase, you can still select and use its different abilities. During my first playthrough of the game, I was still learning the ropes of the game and I managed to lose both of my escort vehicles. However, I managed to survive at least 10 combat scenarios with just the MCV because I had a Leech Bot which allowed me to leech health off my enemies. By building specific builds, you can really unleash the potential of your MCV and it greatly supports your escort vehicles in combat.

No matter which difficulty you choose, the game starts slow but quickly picks up the pack both in terms of random encounters and enemy encounters. Enemies become tougher and tougher and if you continue to explore the wastelands, you can hunt down and defeat three mini-bosses, one from each faction as well. These are not related to the main story but the number of bolts and weapons you get from these fights really prepare you for the final boss battle which is the toughest challenge of the game and you need to be on the top of your scavenging game to defeat it even on lower difficulties.

You can also pause the game during the combat phase and issue different commands to your units which gives you a huge tactical advantage in battles where there is a large number of enemy units and you also have the maximum number of escort vehicles with you. You can issue multiple commands to a single unit such as moving it closer to the enemy unit and then making it attack the enemies since escort vehicles come with a limited range and can only attack enemy units inside this range. On the other hand, your MCV has a large attack radius. All of these elements combine together to deliver an extremely well balanced and challenging combat experience and it really suits the theme of the game where scavenging is at the core of the gameplay.

Review: Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike
Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike_20200406135543

Between the missions, you can also stop and resupply at different camps littered around the map. That is if you make it to them in one piece. These camps are your safehouse however they are not save points because there is no saving in the game. If you die, you die. If you want to survive for longer, you will need to drop by these camps and repair your vehicles and refuel as well. You can also purchase more escort vehicles at these camps along with new weapons and support abilities for your MCV. However, each camp offers different items so if something you need is not located at a camp, you will need to check elsewhere.

There are two main resources in Convoy. These are fuel and bolts. Bolts are the main currency of the game which is used to purchase new weapons, items, and vehicles at stores. You can also repair your vehicles by spending some bolts at camps. Fuel, on the other hand, ensures that your convoy keeps moving. You will need a good supply of both fuel and bolts in order to upgrade your vehicles and making sure that all of them keep running in the wasteland. Apart from the resources, you also have a small storage space for storing all the weapons and ship parts that you collect on your journey.

Gameplay in Convoy is also dependent on your choices. Based on your choices, you can turn a peaceful talk into a fight or turn a fight into a peaceful resolution. You can even avoid conflict completely in certain cases based on your choices. You will get tons of opportunities in the game where you will be required to make a decision and that particular scenario will then be based on your decision. You might get some allies, few resources or even a new vehicle. In worse case scenarios such as ambushes or escape, you might be stuck fighting with the attackers or defenders. Decision-making plays a vital role in Convoy and you must try to make decisions that suit best for you in that particular scenario. Sometimes a peaceful resolution is important for you to ensure your survival in the game. I really like how the game does not enforce combat in your face and you are free to make your own fight or flight decisions.

Although the map may look boring to you as you explore during the exploration phase but it actually quite alive. Random encounters and simple dialogue pop-ups really immerse you into the game. Sometimes you will randomly find a car wreck on the side of the road and get some supplies. Sometimes you will find strange alien artifacts that turn into dust when you touch them. The enemies will also ambush you via various tactics so the exploration does not feel boring at all. Everything combines together and really gives you the impression that you are indeed exploring post-apocalyptic wasteland where everyone is trying to survive at the cost of others. It really feels like a retro top-down Mad Max.

Final Verdict:

If you are a fan of challenging games like FTL where you have to micromanage a lot of things at the same time and want a good combat game based on an equally good theme, then Convoy is right up your alley. It features roguelike mechanics but also wants you to micromanage different aspects during combat and also features badass vehicles that can be equipped with some really cool weapons. It really gives you the feeling that you are actually playing a Mad Max game from the top-down. I did not play FTL much because it was a little too difficult for me however I have spent quite a decent time in Convoy already because it is much more forgiving than FTL and thus it will capture the attention of a larger audience. Also, who does not like driving around Mad Max-style vehicles and causing absolute mayhem on their enemies? Convoy offers cool, retro graphics, solid gameplay and hours and hours of vehicle carnage thanks to its roguelike mechanics. You should definitely give it a try.

Final Score: 9/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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