When asked if I wanted to review a new game that had just released by the name of No Plan B, I immediately had horror flash back to my teenage years…… playing Airsoft. I hadn’t heard of this title before so had a quick google and my hand shot up wanting to do it! No Plan B is a top-down tactical strategy shooter by GFX47 where you plan the mission from start to finish and see how good you are at doing what the guys in the movies do! Taken from the games steam page: “In No Plan B, every choice you make, however small, may decide the fate of your team. Assemble your squad. Work out the perfect plan. Watch it play out in real time.”
Organising your squad of how ever many members the mission requires can be a very tricky but rewarding experience. Nailing the run on the first go is very rare but the opportunity to restart and go again is there, however the run won’t be the same as the last one. This means you will need to focus on the quickest and most efficient route from point A to point B while keeping your head on a swivel. There are four “factions” of sorts to play with each with their own stats and abilities.
Each group has access to different weapons. Gangsters and Robbers have access to AK47 style weaponry where Swat and FBI have access to higher tech weapons that you would expect any government-funded agency to have. You also have the option to buy additional weapons for use on the mission planning weapon board. If you have a mission that is close-quarters and you feel your team would do best with shotguns, but you have four team members and three shotguns, you can buy an extra one!
Once you have prepped your team’s loadout, it is now time to run the course so you must plan accordingly. Take note of how many doors and windows are available, how many open internal doors there are versus closed internal doors, think of where a good flashbang entry point may be, consider dropping smoke in front of open internal doors to get past the potentially full room of grumpy robbers that don’t want you there. The opportunities are infinite and challenging for even the most experienced of planner. The planning controls for the game do take a little bit of getting used to and in some cases are very much indicative of an early access game, but nothing that will break your round and cause you to have to start over. Just a little bit of refinement and patience from the player.
No Plan B has a timing and scoring system for not only how fast you successfully carried out the mission but also covering how much damage your characters have taken versus how efficiently they did their job. At the time of writing this, I have two world records for two maps which I’m sure like many of the speed runners out there, this won’t be for too much longer.
You can re-run the mission until you have claimed a good time, however there is an element of RNG involved. This means the enemies you just saw and lost to are most likely now somewhere else in the room. This requires forward thinking on the players part to order your characters to scan and clear as they move and not just run to the goal. They will die… a lot.
The graphics are charming and cartoony with a bright colour palette. The effects and lighting are very good when it comes to using utility in the game (flash bangs, smokes or just muzzle flares from the weapons). The AI can be a bit clumsy at times, both with how they carry out the run you have planned and also how the CPU players react to the situation but again, nothing game breaking and still very much playable!
The creator of the game GFX47 is a former lead programmer at Ubisoft and Amplitude Studios. GFX47’s previous work also includes Gladiabots in 2019 which shares a lot of the pre planning elements that are present in No Plan B. Overall, No Plan B gives the player a rush of excitement when completing a mission with pinpoint accuracy and swiss efficiency. Knocking the top time holder off the leaderboard gives a sense of being better than Colin Farrell in 2003’s S.W.A.T.
This review utilised a key provided by Future Friends Games and No Plan B is available on Steam in Early Access.
Written by: @_Rephl3x_