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Faselei!

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Released: 1999

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Neo Geo Pocket Color

Publisher: SNK

Developer: Sacnoth

Faselei!Toy Soldiers don’t sound like the most imposing of things, but these heavily armed mechs are deadly war machines in the world of Faselei! This game follows the titular mercenary group as they go about their business – which in this case is an attempt to bring down the corrupt government of Istar, as they’ve been hired by that nation’s rebel army.

Despite being a turn-based strategy game, Faselei! doesn’t contain any waiting around as unusually, all turns span multiple actions and happen simultaneously. The idea is that you program a series of moves into your Toy Soldier with chips, then watch that sequence of events play out. Of course, things don’t always go as you’d expect as your enemies are also executing their programmed moves – sometimes your path will be blocked, or an enemy will move out of firing range. It’s a novel and engaging way to dealing with battle

As the game progresses you gain a number of upgrade options for new Toy Soldiers, weapons, chips and items, all of which can be purchased between missions. These allow you to both receive and deal more damage, program more actions per turn and turn the tide of battle with a timely repair or reload.

Despite the small, low-resolution screen of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, Faselei! packs a whole lot of information and detail into every scene and delivers a pretty engaging story, making it one of the most essential games for the system. Unfortunately, it’s also highly sought after and even a loose English language copy will set you back £20 or more, with boxed UK copies typically selling for over £100.