Enlarge / Two commanders.

Two armies. One bloody, rodent-filled battle. Welcome to Tooth and Tail. (credit: Pocketwatch Games)

StarCraft II thought it had the secret to delivering a truly accessible version of its predecessor. The original game’s troop-management battles are unmatched in terms of balance, so the sequel directed more attention to QoL tweaks like resource management, unit assignments, and movement pathing.
In short, you could click a little less, and otherwise, you were still tied largely to the same gameplay systems and faction differences (aside from some significant rhythm-shifting changes).
But what if a StarCraft sequel, spin-off, or shameless homage took the entire game formula apart, then put its LEGO pieces back together to make a new, more approachable shape? No RTS game in the past two decades has reimagined the genre quite like the incredible Tooth and Tail, a years-in-the-making project from IGF Award winner Andy Schatz.
It’s as if three-man studio Pocketwatch Games looked at the mouse cursor in RTS games, made a joke about turning it into an actual mouse, and then called their own bluff.
The resulting game sees players face off in asymmetric explore-and-exploit battles that add speed, accessibility, and surprises (along with cute and, uh, cannibalistic critters) to the RTS world. Yet the depth’s still here.
Say “goodbye!” to zillions of hotkeys and skill trees.
Say “hello!” to the first RTS game that legitimately works with a standard gamepad (and even shines as a split-screen versus battler).
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