Review by Kieran Sutton
Ghost Fish Games have brought forward an offering to the gods of gaming! A beautifully crafted action strategy tower destruction simulator that will have you vowing virtual vengeance on anyone cunning enough to best your tactical tabletop turret defences. That’s enough alliteration for now but if you haven’t guessed this game is all about….
You are a god. Which god? I don’t know (I imagined it as me with a bigger hat) but like all the best gods you are a power-hungry and don’t play well with others. Who are you fighting? The other power-hungry gods who take the form of spooky floating masks beholding above the battlefield. Not wanting to dirty up the heavens the gods decided that a reasonable method of finding out who should fill the god-king power vacuum is to throw thousands of mortal warriors at each other until all this god stuff makes sense. Thus a tabletop battle arena was made and the stage was set!
There are a couple of teams, who each have a variety of units; predominantly the humans and undead. Each team has their unique defences, powers and troops to deploy amidst the chaos; and there will be chaos.
The visual style of a cutesy combination of early warcraft and everyone’s favourite block punching lego-box with a cartoon theme and blocky heads. Smooth animations, helpful hit points and swiftly delivered cannon ball explosions all make simply sitting to a nice evening of warfare an overall pleasant experience until, like Ghandi in a game of Civilisation, someone takes it a little too far.
I loved the map design and found there are enough little details to keep the map looking neat and inviting for many a battle; however, I do wish there was a bit more variety in the arena. The soundtrack is great and switches from a serenely soft menu melody to something that somehow feels both heroic and industrial. If you’re anything like me drop down the commentator volume as he’ll feel the need to tell you that you don’t have enough mana every time you furiously attempt to drop down that shambling hulk that you so very much need on the battlefield.
There’s multiple game modes (if you can call them that) that range from “Destroy that other guys towers” and “destroy that other’s guy towers in order” all the way to “Destroy that other’s guy king (who’s hiding in a tower)”. The actual battles are divided into three rounds, at the beginning of each one both players will have some time to drop some towers or traps for the coming onslaught and then the fun begins! Both maps seem to split almost like a MOBA, you’ve got lanes and towers with your units acting as both minion and hero!
You can place troops in your highlighted territory and neutral (tower destroyed) lands. Overtime your mana will regenerate and allow you to deploy more troops; or more likely replenish the fallen knights who’ve just discovered a hidden spike trap. Mana is also the resource used for your spells and the rate at which both players earn it will increase as the game goes on; if you lose a tower, you’ll also get a bunch of mana to retaliate in kind. The experience is fairly brutal and can range from a thrilling decisive victory to a soul crushing defeat with a tendency to death spiral as you lose control of the map and find the enemy encroaching on every side.
This game is a perfect example of how simple strategy can be tough to master. It would be great to see a little more diversity in the maps and challenges but overall a huge amount of fun when your hordes are pushing down on the last remaining lookouts. The multiplayer will be a highlight here and if you truly want to feel like a deity looming down over the battle, play in virtual reality and lead your lords or liches to victory.