When most people think of tactical shooters, they think of titles like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and even SOCOM, assuming anyone remembers that game. Until now, when GFX47 has thrown their hat into the ring with No Plan B, an isometric, real-time strategic, tactical shooter that focuses on the planning and execution of how you will storm a building rather than running about by yourself. No Plan B is a lot of fun to play and has a lot of depth, which is more than I expected. The game itself is enjoyable simple to learn, but it is difficult to master. The goal is to lead a group into a building and eliminate all of the adversaries before they eliminate you, and the manner you do so is very creative and a unique spin on the genre. Take each character in turn and plan out their motions, including how they move, what weapon they’ll use, and whether or not they’ll hurl anything like flash bangs or smoke.
The mechanics of planning your attack for each level are quite well done, and you have a lot of breathing room with it, as long as you don’t hold your breath when you hit execute. When preparing your attack, drag each member of your team into the position and direction you want them to face, making sure you cover all the bases. When you can sync all of the motions together so they don’t move one by one, the game becomes incredibly sophisticated. You can, for example, opt to throw a flashback through a door, then play the scene out in the planning stage and determine when the flash bang goes off. Then you press and hold the ctrl key while moving each member in turn, and your actions will all be synced up to this point. When you come to the bigger and more sophisticated sieges, you can have multiple syncs going on at the same time.
The way you have to approach this game reminds me a lot of Hitman and Tomb Raider Go, in that you have to plan out how you’re going to approach certain missions. The difference is that Hitman and Tomb Raider Go have a style that Super Hot took to the next level, where you move first and then fight the enemies. No Plan B takes a different approach to this because you can’t see where the adversaries are and they don’t move once you’ve moved; everything happens at once when you execute your plan, and you have to wait to see if you’ve targeted all of the proper spots.
As you continue through the game, you can level up your squad, improving their abilities to move faster, aim, and perform a variety of other jobs, as long as they stay alive. Mistakes happen, and adversaries lurk around corners waiting to catch you off guard. You can also equip each of your characters with a variety of weaponry, allowing you to have members of your team who specialise in breach, close quarters, and ranged combat. The FBI, Gangsters, SWAT, and Robbers are the four different sides in the game. They all look different and have somewhat different weapons, but the idea is the same.
It’s wonderful to stand back from the actual shooting every now and again and look at the planning of how you’re going to handle various scenarios and see how it all works out, and if it doesn’t, you can try again and improve. It’s a significant departure from the first-person perspective, which has dominated the genre, and definitely a breath of flashbang tinged air away from that crowded space.
A copy of the game via Steam has been proved for review purposes from GFX47. At the time of this review No Plan B is only available via Steam in Early Access for around £12.