Updated review because of game leaving Early Access:
Everything in the review is still relevant. Only change is increased thread locking and post deleting in the forums. Here's a post I made about the Early Access price supposed to be lower than the release price before my reply was deleted and the thread locked:http://imgur.com/FNe0Pdy
MAIN REVIEW FOLLOWS:
I have been holding off writing this review because the game could be so good and I was hoping it would change.
This is a hex-based wargame in the SotS universe and that's exciting stuff. (I just realized that will sound like a joke to non-wargame fans, but it's true).
Based on the screenshots you would think was a cool, deep, fun game. The information in the encyclopedia in game is a nice touch.
Try to play the game though and you'll find a confusing, fiddly mess. There are far too many phases and lots of fiddly things you have to keep doing. The user interface is really bad both in usability and in showing you what's going on. A lot of this is because of the developers making the bad decision to have a "unified user interface" on mobile and PC, which means no tooltips, only one button used and no scrolling when you get your mouse to the edge of the screen. This cripples the PC UI and the developers flat-out refuse to change it to make the PC version easier to use.
The tutorial has been through a few changes but still remains awful at teaching you the game. This is both due to the content of the tutorial and the way it is presented, which makes it hard to tie together the UI with what the flash-card like windows are telling you.
I bought the game at the start of the Early Access on Steam and I was disappointed to find out that the game was not as finished as I thought it would be. From the store page it seemed like the only thing missing were some campaign missions, and the ironing out of the last few bugs:
"With this Early Access release, Ground Pounders is feature complete, and the main differences between now and final release - besides a few last minute cards and units - is there is only 1 campaign (instead of 2) and 5 scenarios (instead of ten)."
It turned out that early adopters really were unpaid beta testers and only by assiduously playing when it wasn't fun and giving feedback could we turn the game into the good game it had the potential to be. I mean, it wasn't just bug fixing, there were actually changes to how the game worked, and there was really the feeling that the game hadn't been tested at all before putting it on steam.
I did this for a short while but then I just couldn't be bothered any more- it was just not fun. I decided to put the game down until they finished it and see how it was. As of today the game is still in Early Access but is 66% off on a certain online game store. Because the Steam store page went out of its way to point out that we were saving money by buying into the Early Access game at the start vs. buying when it launched I felt a bit betrayed by this; I also took it as a sign that the studio may be in some sort of trouble. The game was planned to be released in March according to the Steam store page and it's almost June now with no release so maybe that's why.
Anyway, I suppose if you do get a deep discount on this or even get it in a bundle (there have been a lot of Early Access games in bundles recently) then it may turn out to be the game you expect, but at the moment it's unlikely that it is.
edited to say something positive: The music is good. That's the only thing to like about it though really.