Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (hereby refferred to as TABS) is a game about wobbly ragdoll people from different eras of history fighting each other. You have the Tribal faction, the Ancient faction, the Medieval faction for example… Then you have factions that fit somewhere between it all, or that simply seek to exaggerate and explore one culture; The Dynasty and Pirate factions, for instance. Then there are factions containing dumb and experimental units that you can unlock by exploring the battle maps like the Secret faction and the Legacy faction. Finally are the absolutely batshit crazy factions the game clearly just wanted to have fun with like the Spooky, Fantasy Good and Fantasy Evil factions.
Once you’ve experimented with the factions in the game, it seems like TABS would be the sort of thing you’d then throw aside for a while. After all, you don’t really have direct control over any of the battles; You place units in an attempt to make the battles play out in a favourable way and can possess one singular unit at a time if you feel the need to, but this is no Total War game. These wibbly-wobbly units are going to glitch out and goof around with little you can do to amend it. Part of the challenge of the game isn’t just learning the units to counter the enemy’s roster, but also in overcoming the goofiness built into the game itself and using it to your advantage.
But, again, once you learn this there isn’t really anything else to the gameplay. So, surely, you’d just toss it aside and play something else? Which begs the question, why am I reviewing a game that there is so little to beyond the surface level fun? Well, the fact that it’s sitting at 300 hours in my Steam Library as my fourth most played game has something to do with it.
Truthfully, I haven’t even completed all of the game’s campaigns and spend 99.9% of the time in the sandbox mode making absolutely insane battles occur not with the game’s own units, but with those of my own. Yes, the one addition to this game that makes it so insanely addicting to me is the Unit Creator. Within, it is possible to make wobblers with 1HP who are incapable of moving that even the weakest of the base game units will annihilate, and also demi-gods who zip around the map too fast for you to track that one shot everything before you can process what the hell just happened.
I have spent hours upon hours creating finely tuned balanced factions to fight against one and other before making something completely bonkers to wreck their day. I also have fun creating battles and campaigns of my own to upload to the game’s workshop, where the community can share custom content. The Workshop is exactly what you’d expect; an amalgamation of half-baked, broken and untested community content that still somehow manages to be fun mixed in with new campaigns, factions and units that are just as good, if not better, than those in the base game.
Because the developers released a lot of assets they never used themselves for factions they decided to scrap, the community was able to put together WW1 and WW2 factions, Napoleonic factions, Aztecs, Egyptians and pretty much everything else you can think of using the tools provided. And if you prefer something more whacky, why not download DOOM Guy, or the Avengers to fight against? The truth is that the possibilities are endless regarding what you can do or create. With mods – I use UCM – you can unlock new types of wobblers to make units like snakes, horses, minotaurs, tanks, gatling guns, cannons and so on, and so forth.
And that’s honestly what makes this game so great; despite having the most simple premise imaginable, it is just so inherently fun to experiment in that it does become incredibly addicting in the best way possible.
So, would I recommend Totally Accurate Battle Simulator? Why, yes. Yes I would.
And, on a completely unrelated note, happy holidays to everyone reading!