Cannon fodder

I love Taur. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s described on Steam as an “action-strategy sci-fi game”, but its lineage is that of the well-stocked tower-defence genre where the emphasis is very much on the action.

You control the mighty Prime Cannon, which you must constantly upgrade and supplement from the tech tree, using the spoils of your victories over the machines of the despicable Imperion Empire. These guys are a relentless, faceless bunch of presumably evil robots, who line up against you in waves for a series of brief, intense battles.

All in a day’s work for the Prime Cannon…

There are probably a billion other similar games that are better, but the reason Taur does it for me is twofold. One – you can stick it on and be immersed in it for a quick five minutes, even if you’ve left it alone for a month, or have a longer session; and two – its attention to retro-game detail.

Gamers of a certain vintage will surely appreciate how superbly it blends that Amiga-esque graphic-design aesthetic with up-to-date zoom-in sighting, slick explosions and weapons and satisfyingly visceral sound. Enemy aircraft don’t just explode, they corkscrew as they tumble from the skies; ground units make their way towards you with a seemingly furious sense of purpose and the developers have managed to instil that sense of fear in you when the enemy’s boss units move in.

For retro-game lovers like me, Taur feels like the ghost of gaming’s past in a modern shell – satisfying in the same way as a Hollywood remake of a classic movie that retains the spirit of the original.

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