If you were to ask the casual gamer if he/she has played Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children, chances are that person would stare at you blankly. It is a turn-based tactics game developed by a Korean company named Dandylion. If you put in a Google search for “Troubleshooter Abandoned Children Reviews,” you will find that virtually none of the major gaming publications gave this game any press. Yet among the gamers that have played it, the strategy role-playing title is beloved. Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children has a 94 percent “Very Positive” rating on Steam from more than 4,000 reviewers and a 8.7 user score on Metacritic from 46 users. So why isn’t this game more known?
I asked myself that question as I’ve spent time with the game here and there. Because I’m a big fan of anime, when I first saw the artwork for Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children a year ago, I immediately desired to know more about it. The premise itself was something out of an anime. Due to the rising crime rate in Valhalla (the game world), citizens granted the authority to investigate and arrest criminals. The Troubleshooter initiative was born and this is the world that players are introduced to. You begin the game as a 20-year-old named Aldus and experience his rise from being a Troubleshooter rookie to eventually forming his own squad. I’m still really early in the game so there is much that I haven’t seen story wise. But the game definitely has my interest.
Tactics games with an engaging battle system sounds fun, but the characters play a huge role in what keeps the player hooked. Nearly nine hours into the game, I am digging the character lineup. Albus, as the leader of his Troubleshooter squad, reminds me a lot of Rean Schwarzer from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel in how he is able to relate to the other characters with differing personalities. Sion is Albus’ first recruit and his more erratic personality goes well with Albus’ more reserved demeanor. The contrast works great and I eagerly await to see how the characters develop over the course of the game.
As you can see from the picture above, the cutscene artwork is very well done. According to Dandylion, there are than 200 cutscenes in the game. If what I’ve seen so far is any indication, part of my motivation in advancing through the game will be to see as many of them as I can. It is certainly one of my favorite components of Sakura Wars.
Strategy RPGs will either sink or swim based on the battle system. Troubleshooter offers a very immersive experience that includes face-to-face combat, ranged weaponry, and an assortment of special attacks. I really enjoy the variety. For instance, I will use Albus’ sword, Sion’s lightning, and the guns of my backup officers to keep things balanced and interesting. I found the battle system very easy to get into and also a treat to play. There are also tons of mastery customization options for the characters as well that actually overwhelmed me when I first saw them. If you enjoy games such as XCOM, then the battle mechanics of Troubleshooter will feel familiar.
While this is a game I would recommend very quickly, there are some aspects of the game that could have been improved upon. First, as great as the artwork is for the game, the character models don’t do it justice. From close up, they look almost like Playstation 2 characters. Because the game is fantastic in its other areas, it’s something I can overlook. But I wouldn’t blame someone who would be turned off a bit by the graphics. Also, you can not save the game manually. After a battle, it is recommended that you let the game run at least two minutes as the game saves automatically in two-minute intervals. Lastly, if you’re looking for English voice acting, you will not get it with this game. Only English text translation is available.
Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children is a hidden gem. It’s a shame this game isn’t more known and hasn’t received the attention it should. What an outstanding indie game this is and I will be playing more of it. So far, Troubleshooter is only available on Steam for $24.99. If you are into strategy RPGs, give this one a shot.