PSP Fanboy hands-on: R-Type Command

We recently sat down with Irem's upcoming R-Type Command. Atlus is publishing the game in the States, and we have to admit that we were surprised by the new direction for this classic franchise. While we do wish it were a traditional shooter, we think Command's strong production values and accessible gameplay make it a nice addition to the PSP library so far.

Anyone who has played Advance Wars on GBA/DS will find themselves in very familiar territory. This turn-based strategy game has players taking command of various units in an attempt to wipe out the invading Bydo army. Players are given an assortment of vehicles to choose and place, each with their own abilities and weaknesses. As is traditional, units can only move a certain number of spaces, and can only attack within a certain firing range. Tiles within the environment can affect the evasion of certain units, so movement is crucial to every battle.

Each unit has multiple types of ammo, each with their own accuracy and damage. When defending, players can sometimes opt to evade altogether, or attempt a counter-attack. Every step of the battle will require some crucial decision making skills from the player.

While this may sound overly complicated, it only takes one or two battles to understand the basics of the gameplay. It may not hold your hand, as in Jeanne d'Arc, but this is nowhere as complicated of a game as, say, Disgaea.

To win, players must simply destroy the opponent flagship. Of course, this is easier said than done. We can think of a number of strategies: weakening down the opponent troops until an assault on the flagship is feasible. Or, destroy the refueling ships, and watch as their resources dwindle. But watch out! The enemy can use the same tactics on you, of course. They will be quick to destroy your troops, and you too will have to keep a careful eye on your own resources. As each turn passes, your ships lose fuel and will need to be resupplied by your supply ships.

We love the aspects of the game that feel distinctly R-Type. The Force (attachable orb from the shooters) is an incredible ship to be reckoned with. It can attach to fighter ships, just like in the traditional shooters, and it can also act by itself. It is an incredibly devastating ship that can crash into other ships and cause massive damage. It has its own HP, and when used effectively can help one side gain some serious momentum in a battle. Of course, your enemies can also use a Force, so be careful.

All in all, we're rather impressed by the short time we've had with R-Type Command. Expect far more as we get closer to the game's release next month. Feel free to download a demo of the game from the PLAYSTATION Store by clicking here.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.