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Our overall verdict "silver"

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is a teeny-weeny bite-sized twin-stick shooter. Command a miniature squadron of mini marines and do battle through a multitude of micro missions. Shoot the enemy, blow up their vehicles and abodes and try not to harm the locals or their chickens. Along the way you will earn command points for your deeds which you can spend on various military upgrades. Earn extra command points by searching for and retrieving intel, dog tags, and destroying suspicious-looking snowmen. It’s all in a day’s soldiering for Wired Productions’ itty bitty troopers.

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This is a gorgeous little game. The graphics are bright and clear and the environments colourful and well-designed. Each mission has a primary objective that you will need to complete before the evac helicopter becomes available. You might need to destroy all the enemy’s buildings, assassinate a commander, destroy missile launchers or simple survive wave after wave of attacks. You’ll be presented with a map and some on-screen indicators of the general direction you’ll need to head, but the maps are worth exploring further. The extra goodies are sometimes tricky to find, but you’ll need all the command points you can get.

Also look out for medals, which will revive your KIA marines. As your men complete missions, they earn their stripes, and a promoted marine is much tougher than a rookie, so it’s worth the extra effort to keep these little heroes alive. If they do fall in battle, use your medal stash to bring them back from the dead. Go easy on that stash though, because you can also use them to unlock extra upgraded men. The mission briefing might warn you that you’ll need more firepower than usual so wouldn’t it be nice to drag a Machine Gunner or Delta Force Specialist along with you? Or how about a Medic to automatically heal boo-boos throughout the mission? Once unlocked with medals, these upgraded recruits have to be paid with command points every time you want to use them in a mission. It’s expensive, but some men come with grenades, rockets or airstrikes which would otherwise cost a lot to buy in-mission, so way up the situation carefully, especially if you’ve run out of medals to revive any fallen men. It’s worth cracking out the elite guys for the sake of keeping a high-ranking squad alive.

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Also use command points to make life easier for your permanent team. The speed upgrade means all your men will move faster and therefore be harder to hit. Upgrade their vests so they can take more damage. Start with higher ranking marines rather than rookies. Also improve their weapons with an increased rate of fire, increased range and greater damage per shot. Each of these upgrades has five levels and the cost soars as you go through them. Fully upgrade to pop a juicy trophy.

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Collectables do occasionally bore me, but in Tiny Troopers the command points you’ll earn have such a massive benefit it’s worth going after as many as you can. For those of you who like their micro marines to look funky, command points will also buy a selection of swanky uniforms. I went with the bright pink camouflage because it’s an awesome colour and I think more men should wear it. I nicknamed my guys The Pink Squad and got ridiculously attached to them. My favourite was Boomer. He was a good man. Twelve successful missions. He really showed the enemy who was boss and, although he did accidentally slaughter a few innocent locals, he left the chickens alone. Not a single feather was shed. What a guy. Pity I didn’t have enough medals left to revive him when I blew him up with his own grenade. I’ll carve ‘Whoops’ on his gravestone later.

This is an addictive little game so it’s a good job there is plenty of content to keep your men out of mischief. Missions are split into two separate campaigns, with a trophy available for completing each one and another trophy for completing both. Also available are a string of trophies for completing the awesome zombie missions. Yes, you did read that right. Shoot tiny zombies and tiny undead chickens before they eat your tiny brain. What could be more fun? There’s ample here to keep you going for a good long while. This is a quality game, a must-have and a fun way to calm down after a crappy day. Buy it, love it and try not to lose too many men.

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Conclusion

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is a super cute bundle of fun. It’s the bouncing puppy of all war games. Stuff Call of Duty and its lack of zombie chickens. Shove Elite Sniper III up Hitler’s backside and put Battlefield 4 in the bin. Playful, charming and comedic, Tiny Troopers is a merry little game with a bite-sized price and big-sized personality.

S J Hollis Rating – 8/10

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S J Hollis has been a keen gamer since the Atari 2600. She freely admits she thought E.T. was a good game but would like to stress her tastes have since dramatically improved. She is also an author, a morning person and thinks Elf ears are sexy. Follow her on twitter @SJHollis_