Review: Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL

The Switch is getting quite a few updates of classic indie games and Tiny Troopers arrives to show that there is plenty of life left in this fun RTS war game even in the 5 years since the original game launched.

Back in 2012 the first Tiny Troopers appeared on iPhone.  It came out of nowhere and impressed everyone with the modern take on the old Sensible Software classic Cannon Fodder.  The fact that no-one had ever really created anything similar in all those years since the original 2 Cannon Fodder games may have had something to do with it, but Tiny Troopers was more than able to stand on its own as a great game.

Most missions fell in to the ‘destroy A and B and get to point C’ approach, dodging enemy fire and finding all the hidden collectables in the process.  It was also worth keeping troops alive as each mission would allow them to rank up and provide more firepower, but losing them would mean having to replace them with a brand new Private.  This, along with each soldier being given a name, helps to personalise your team.

Zombie levels acted as replayable bonus stages, giving you a more traditional top down survival shooter on maps that would gradually open out.

Tiny Troopers 2 took the game up a notch with special ops missions and far more of the fan favourite Zombie maps.  It also mixed up the main game maps, giving you different objectives on top of standard ‘destroy everything’ style missions.

In 2014 the PS3, PS4 and Xbox One got a new version which took both the first and second Tiny Troopers games and melded them together, squeezing all the juicy bits into one concentrated carton of fun.  The zombie mode and special ops missions, the named troops and the weapons remained the same.  Now the Switch gets a turn at playing soldier, some 3 years later.

Controls work well on Switch with a twin-stick approach to the game taking the place of the original touch screen controls and working well for the most part, though you’ll occasionally struggle to keep up with your troops when they enter areas where livestock and innocent bystanders need to be carefully avoided.   A nice touch is that the developer have re-added touchscreen controls in handheld mode which feels like a nice throwback to the original.

The isometric third person approach works very well in handheld mode (unsurprisingly for a game originally designed for mobile) but looks good on a TV, too.  That said, the graphics haven’t aged well in places, particularly in the character models during the troop selection, but the way the main game is presented means that there isn’t an issue when playing.

Levels are often short, particularly at first, but also have plenty to do, including finding medals and other items which all add towards boosting your stats.  Funds can be used to give you better troops, as long as you can keep them alive.  The lack of the game’s in-app-payments from the mobile version seems to have balanced this out, though, and after the first few levels you can add extra soldiers, including those with different skills.

The port still suffers a few of the flaws found in the PS4 version, there are a few long loading screens still present and although a few new missions have been added, there are still too few missions in all. An added harder difficulty level has now been added, providing a challenge when replaying, which is a welcome change. Overall, though, it’s an ideal game for Nintendo’s hybrid console, working just as well off-screen as it does on the TV, thanks to the isometric gameplay and 3 minute levels.

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL

Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL


8.0 /10


  • Isometric RTS gameplay a perfect fit for Switch
  • Short, fun levels ideal for handheld mode
  • Loads of content including a great Zombies mode


  • Still mostly the same game as 3 years ago
  • Can be completed fairly quickly

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