I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Fuga: Melodies of Steel. You play as a group of children piloting a tank after their village is attacked. It seems like a war has been going on for some time, but the enemy army has advanced further than anyone had expected.
It is a Tactical RPG with a terrific story. The relationship between the characters is great, making you want to keep all of them happy. I liked how things were set up in the game and how your tank’s ultimate weapon was used.
This sounds like the plot of an anime like Robotech or Gundam. The big difference here is that the characters in Fuga are anthropomorphic dogs. For some reason, I like it quite a bit. It is like a Redwall novel was made into a video game.
TLDR: Wonderful Story and Excellent Gameplay. It is a great Tactical RPG.
Fuga’s story is about a group of children fighting against the Berman Empire. From the damage we’re shown, it appears to be a brutal war. We aren’t given much information about the start of the war, but we do know that the Empire seems to be winning.
The group of kids escape the attack on their village and are led to a cave by a voice on the radio. This voice is a tutorial for the game and a guide for the children. It explains how to use the tank and about the Soul Cannon that the tank is equipped with.
The children are trying to find their families who were taken away by the Empire. As the game goes on, you get clues to their location. Enemy soldiers and generals are afraid of the tank and are spreading rumors about it. It isn’t clear what effect your actions are having on the war, but it does seem that you’re having a big impact on the Empire’s morale.
This plays a little like FTL but with a story and RPG elements. You progress your tank on a path where you must fight enemies, pick up items, find ruins, or get a chance to talk with your crew. As you move down the paths, more of the story is told.
The battles are turn-based. While you only have one tank, your crew is divided between three weapons. These can be changed during battle. Your weapons are:
- Machine Gun
- Grenade Launcher
Each of these three teams has two party members. They all have special abilities that they can perform, like armor-piercing shots and incendiary grenades. As your characters gain experience, they’ll learn more special attacks.
At different stages, you’ll be able to wander around the tank. This is where you can increase your character’s bond. You pick one of the characters and talk with the rest of the party. This is where you can get to know more about them and learn about their relationships. As you get new party members, you learn about what has been happening outside the tank.
The tank is divided into several rooms.
- Control Room
- Mess Hall
- Scrap Fishing
- Laundry Room
There are a few things to do while walking around the tank.
- Farm – Grow food
- Workshop – Upgrade weapons and armor
- Fishing – Gather scrap needed for upgrades
- Dormitory – Rest your characters
- Strengthen the relationships between party members
Keeping the characters happy is a big part of this. They’re still children and will get scared if things are going badly in battle. The constant fighting will also make them depressed.
Missions will be given to you at the start of these Intermissions. They’re simple ones like talking to a specific person, harvesting the crops, or expanding one of the rooms. During the Intermissions, you can move around the tank and talk with the characters.
The Soul Cannon is an interesting part of the game. I’m unsure what impact it has on the story, as I’ve tried to avoid using it. Using the cannon comes with a price. You have to give up one of your party members, and the only time you’re forced to use it in the tutorial, it causes the rest of your party to lose the will to fight.
The Soul Cannon isn’t always available to you. It only becomes an option when your tank’s health is low. I’ve been able to avoid using it so far.
Fuga is a 2D Tactical RPG that has beautiful graphics. The best way I can describe the art style is charming. It reminds me of some children’s books in how things are drawn.
The parallax scrolling looks excellent, and the animations added to the wind and tank are outstanding. Sparks fly off the treads and other parts of the tank when the tank moves. You can also see the wind sometimes hitting the top of the tank.
Everything in the game is pleasant to look at, even if it is meant to be scary. The backgrounds are beautiful. Even looking at the ruins of some villages is wonderfully drawn.
The character portraits are also beautiful. They’re all different breeds of anthropomorphic dogs, and they stand out from each other when it is an important character.
Overall, the game looks beautiful. It looks a lot of love and effort was put into how the game looks. It reminds me of a moving watercolor painting.
8.5/10. The game has a great story and wonderful gameplay. The only negative I can see is the villages. I wish there was more to them and the market was easier to use. The barter system isn’t that useful, and I think a more traditional shop would have been better.
FUGA: Melodies of Steel is a spectacular game with a great story, beautiful graphics, and terrific gameplay. The characters are engaging and relatable, even though they are dogs. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but the story hooked me, and the gameplay kept me playing.
Tactical RPGs are some of my favorite games and often have great stories. This one is very good and reminded me of other movies, TV shows, and video games I liked.
There is something about stories like this that I find incredibly fascinating. I’ve played other games where children take up arms to defend their country, but with FUGA, it is simpler than that. They want to find their families and don’t seem concerned with the war. I’m looking forward to playing through this one again to see if there is anything that I missed.