Drive on Moscow is a turn based strategy game developed and published by Slitherine Software that takes place during the German invasion of Russia in World War II. It was originally released on iOS in 2013 and now finds its home on console. During the game you play as either the Germans, named the Axis in the game, on offense, or as the Russian Soviets on defense. As with most turn based strategy games, the victory goes to the side with the best strategy, unfortunately for you, the AI in the game is a master strategist, even on easy.
As the game starts there is a gameplay overview that you can read through and can find again later from the main menu under ‘Basics’. This gives you a quick reference guide that doesn’t mean much until you try the game for yourself and come back to after several defeats. From the main menu, is also an option for a ‘Tutorial’ that I highly recommend completing as it may very well be the only level to that can be completed (this is a very hard game.)
The battlefield is a map of southwestern Russia and the unit tiles are reminiscent of Stratego pieces. The board is divided up into sections of Russian land, each space can only have three units at a time. The object of the game is to collect enough Victory Points to win by the end of the set amount of turns or by capturing Moscow. Victory Points (VP) can be earned by holding strategic cities on the map. Some offer a one-time amount of two or three points awarded at the end of the turn if they are held, but the points are lost if the enemy reclaims it, so you have to either keep a unit there or form a blockade to keep enemy units out. The other way to earn VP is by holding certain areas on the map that offer one point per turn that it is held. The other way to win is by encasing or controlling Moscow. You can also lose VP when playing as the Axis by losing a unit on the battlefield.
The Axis units consist of armour, such as tanks, which can move multiple spaces per turn and do the most damage offensively. The caveat is that they can break down and will also run out of fuel if the supply lines get cut off. The next unit in the Axis arsenal is the infantry, which only move one space per turn. The infantry are strong defensive units used to hold areas and keep supply lines open. The last Russian unit is the motorized infantry. These units can move like armour but have stats lower than infantry, they are primarily used to push through enemy lines and hold strategic locations. The Soviets have the same units as the Axis but additionally have Cavalry, which have slightly higher stats than infantry and can move two spaces per turn, and Airborne, which can move 5 or more spaces per turn and can deploy an infantry unit once per turn.
There are four levels for each campaign, as Axis and Soviets, each with two difficulties. The difficulty is selected by which general you choose to play against. Axis is always on offense and goes first, whereas the Soviets are always on defense and go second. The campaigns are exact mirrors of each other and can be very helpful in developing a strategy by playing against the AI on hard and adopting their technique when you switch sides. Although, the AI seems to be far luckier with the RNG of attacking. This game is not for the casual gamer, it is exceedingly demanding and does little in the way of preparing you in the tutorial. For example, I have yet to beat the first level on easy, as either side, and I have tried over 12 times, utilizing a different strategy each time.
Graphics: The graphics are good for a strategy game that has no cut-scenes and only really shows pieces on a map. The documentation is very easy to read which is good because that is where you will spend most of your time… reading documentation. The home screen is an image that is blurry with poor resolution.
The game play is surprisingly fun considering how incredibly hard it is to beat a single level. The only frustrating thing is the RNG involved in attacking and defending. You can however, abuse the save function but this is tedious and leaves you feeling unfulfilled.
Replayability: This really depends how much you want to beat that first level. The gameplay is solid, the mechanics work, and it is genuinely fun. I personally would have preferred more levels at an easier pace.
Overall Score 6/10
Release Date: 4th May 2018
File Size: 544MB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.