by Ed Gray
Welcome to Gnomania. During your stay, you will be journeying through the once peaceful gnome villages defeating the evil that is taking over.
Published and developed by ProjectorGames, Gnomancer is still in Early Access but available on Steam for £9.29.
When you begin Gnomancer, you are met with a story that gives you a brief introduction for what you are going to be doing and the journey you are about to embark on.
You and up to 3 friends can fight against Voldarr with your army of gnomes. Voldarr took over the land of the gnomes in a battle before you came along. You can play as one of the following, a wizard, an assassin, a necromancer or a paladin and it is your job to try to defeat him and bring him down to reinstate peace amongst gnomes.
You get a basic tutorial explaining to you what you have to do to defeat the evil forces. You are able to play with either console controller or mouse and keyboard. In character selection, you have a starter of four colours as well as a fifth that you can unlock once you have reached level 50.
There are extra skins available for owning certain games such as FortressCraft along with a few other games. There are upgrades that you can purchase with in-game currency to help you strengthen your character with different ability areas.
As strategic, shooting games aren’t my kind of games, (I am more of a first-person, bloodied, violence shooter gamer,) I was sceptical as what to think at first? It took me a while to get into Gnomancer and to get used to the controls.
In each level you have to defeat Voldarrs little minions, this is how you collect dust, get coins and strengthen yourself and your gnomes using XP. Obviously the enemies become harder to defeat the further you play into the game as well as having to face mini bosses within the levels.
You go around picking up more gnomes as part of your gnome army, which you can get by walking over them and picking them up, where they turn from a grey statue to their red animated selves. Some gnomes are free and others require you to have a certain amount of dust to be able to get more gnomes. The more gnomes you have with you, the stronger and better your army is.
You can buy dust in-game or you can collect it as you play. You can also get speed boosts and damage boosts by picking random things up. There are also shops where you can purchase mana, heal yourself or purchase dust to gain more gnomes as well as finding these things scattered on the ground and within gnomes.
Oh, and cheese is health!! Mmmmm cheese! Collect plenty of cheese and eat it! You also get armour drops so don’t forget to equip it as you will need it as you go further into the more difficult levels.
Talking about the graphics, I get a World of Warcraft type of feel from Gnomancer, as though this is the type of game that the developers are aiming for, but a top-down version rather than first-person. However, it has been described as a cross between Gauntlet and Pikmin style gameplay.
Game sounds are basic magical adventure music and sound effects that you would expect from a magical type game. The gameplay is a little basic, in my opinion, by this I mean that I don’t feel like that there is much of a story line to it.
It is very level driven, all about levelling up your main character and building an army. Gameplay is easy to follow, you don’t need to have directions on where to go you just run around like a headless chicken, although that is just me, what I do, I run around trying to defeat as many enemies as I can.
When the gnomes are scarpering, it can get a little bit chaotic and there is a lot going on. It can take your concentration away from the main objective as you are trying to see everything that is going on at the same time. It can get very busy all at once.
Once I got to a more difficult level, I started to enjoy the game more as I was having to think about what I was having to do rather than just run around aimlessly killing people and collecting gnomes for my collection.
Considering Gnomancer is in early access, I can see what the developer is trying to achieve and aim for at the end goal, as the game goes on. You are gearing yourself up for the ultimate enemy fight of the lifetime and you are trying to bring back peace on gnome land. Slowly area by area.
I would recommend Gnomancer, if you enjoy Gauntlet cross Pikmin games. However, they need to work on the bugs within the game, for example, gnomes can get stuck in weird areas of the maps, such as a wall, granted it is still in early access but the early levels are finished, I even found gnomes appearing out of my butt!!
Fighting the fire golem, he glitched or transported into another room, I don’t know if this was actually a glitch or if it meant to happen, my gnomes have been glitching through walls which has made it more difficult to attack with full force. However, since playing originally, I have noticed that a few of the bugs have been worked on so the developers are listening to the bug reports and fixing the lower levels whilst still working on releasing the higher levels.
I feel that the story and the gameplay don’t really match because you are running around trying to find things to help you, but you don’t get much guidance or dialogue to tie it into the actual story.
You do get some hints, but they’re very sparse and sometimes you forget you are actually playing a game with a storyline and it feels more open world. I can see Gnomancer being successful and popular, amongst the younger generation as I feel it is aimed more for the younger audience rather than the older, due to its connection to Keemstar (who is the main storytelling gnome called DJ Gnomestar.)