Ah…the “escort” mission; bane of MMO and RTS players alike. Fear no more…Detour is here! It’s a ¾-view strategy game from Sandswept Studios. The goal: Teach us not only to love, but also to crave the escort experience.
In Detour, you begin with a small stipend from which you can purchase road segments, bridges, map-revealing satellites and other equipment to guide your truck convoy from one edge of the map to another. Your opponent, either AI or human, is trying to do the same. The idea is to escort a specified number of trucks along your roads to the opposite side of the board (marked by a black-and-white checker pattern) sooner than your opponent.
Obstructing your path are rocks, trees, rubble and office buildings. You can blow these up with dynamite to clear a new path for your roads. As expected, you can also lay down such impediments to block your adversary.
Among the most useful gadgets are scanners and satellite dishes, which can reveal blind spots on the map and temporarily disrupt power to your opponent’s resources. Be on the lookout for randomly placed gold mines and service garages. These give you bonus cash and extra trucks, respectively when you connect a road segment to them.
The single-player campaign begins with an easy-to-follow tutorial, featuring a likeable construction foreman who helps you learn the controls. The first few AI opponents are easy, and they banter in a somewhat obsequious tone. Soon enough they start acting and playing tougher!
Multiplayer mode is indeed the better way to experience Detour. Seeing your trucks cross the finish line first is satisfying, but the real fun is in [rooster]-blocking your friends. A well-timed explosion or forced power-outage is simply hilarious.
My only issue speaks to the controls themselves. Key mapping is limited and a bit confusing. The Options menu doesn’t refresh properly; at times I had to reset to defaults and start over. Once mapped, you need to remember your settings. You can’t hang your hard-hat on tooltips and screen prompts in a game requiring quick maneuvers. Touch-typists have a clear advantage here.
Overall, Detour is a fast, fun, enhanced “beer-and-pretzels” RTS. Any lover of the genre will enjoy the game, provided they’ve consumed enough carbs and caffeine beforehand. So mount that crane, build those roads and keep the convoy moving!