Back when I used to write for Critical Indie Gamer, I reviewed a strangely charming game called Squids Odyssey. The big selling point being its unique pull and shoot, almost snooker style combat. What kept me though was its charming art style, weirdly epic story that was so unexpected for what looked like a phone game, and the fact that it had genuine strategy. With that in mind, I greeted Ragtag with open arms.

Not to say that was a mistake but that there are a lot of elements to Ragtag that I know can be done better. The isometric map and pieces makes fine aiming difficult and more often than not my gold clad punks bounced off walls into the abyss. Abilities for some units are inconsistent like the warstrich’s rockets following different paths each time making them more scattershot than tactical. Worst of all though is that the art is still and lifeless. Squids Odyssey looks great because even while idling, the squids are animated and the world is moving. Even while being pinged around, Ragtag feels static.

The goal of the game is to knock all of the opponent’s pieces off the edge of the map before they knock off yours. This type of gameplay can be fun but it needs polish, it needs attention to the amount of give and take between the pieces. At one point in the early levels I was stuck in an inch-for-inch battle with my last piece against the AI’s last piece. A headbutting tug-of-war that somehow wasn’t tense.

Ragtag plays like that moment where you and a stranger both try to get past each other.

Ragtag doesn’t put its best foot forward. The first three pieces are just a cheap medium punk, slightly more expensive but fast and light punk, and an even more expensive heavy bear. It isn’t until the shifter is introduced that any real tactics get involved. By the time the warstrich was introduced my tactic was to just load up as many of them as I could and bombard the enemy from a distance. Usually winning through lucky shots or bad AI.

Waiting for every piece to come to a complete stop before the AI makes its next move is hellish.

I think the part of Ragtag that let me down most though was the general roughness of it. The story feels rushed, told through text-to-speech voice-overs as images are slowly panned over in the background. There are only 4 worlds with a handful of levels in each which I was able to get through 2 hours. The only real goal is to get all of the medals in order to play through the arcade mode that unlocks at the end of the game but after the sudden and lackluster end, I just couldn’t bring myself to try.

The art in the cutscenes is alright. I’ll give it that.

Ragtag feels like a flash game with an ego. There are better games out there for free and while I can understand and sympathise with wanting to make a living off of making games, there needs to be more effort than this.