Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Developer: Triumph Studios
Publisher: CodeMasters
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Systems: PC (reviewed), Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Pikmin meets Oblivion.

0:01 The loading screen features a goblin riding a ram. Bonus points right at the start.
0:02 This entire minute spent loading. I'm willing to blame my un-optimized computer, but still... annoying. At least the dancing goblin is interesting to watch during the loading.
0:03 Fiddle with options, choose new game and... another half minute or so of loading. Boy, I'm glad they took a minute to load that options screen!
0:04 A cryptic intro. It first looks like I'm a victim, but it turns out I'm their new overlord. O...K.
0:06 "Look at those keen little faces... ready to pillage and loot at your command." Nice.
0:07 The frame rate is very stutery, but that's my crappy computer's fault.. The camera, however, is the game's fault. It never seems to look where I want, and I have to constantly lock it behind me. Annoying.
0:10 The jester I'm training with flies about 15 feet in the air when I hit him. Very satisfying.
0:13 Ah, the right stick is used to direct goblins. No wonder it did nothing to the camera.
0:15 A lot of exposition about a tower and the "tower heart" energy source. The dialogue is trying too hard to be clever. We get it. He's evil. What a twist!
0:17 Brown minions will "happily die so you don't have to." That got a smile.
0:18 Slaughtering sheep is as easy as... well, slaughtering sheep. As fun too. Um, I assume.
0:19 Bob the scrarcrow wants me to get his farm back from halflings. That sounds more like "good" than "evil" to me. We'll see what happens, I suppose.
0:22 The tower heart is guarded by pumpkins. Not amublatory, vicious pumpkins... no, just regular old pumpkins. Come on. Give me something interesting to do.
0:24 Clicking in the right stick gets a nice overheard view. Where was this in the tutorial?
0:27 The tower heart I recovered lets me control ten minions. It also gave me a fireball spell, but I can only learn that when I need it. If this game unfolds any slower I'm going to fall asleep.
0:29 Sending eight goblins to slaughter a helpless sheep is pretty fun.
0:31 So some guys ask me to rescue their friend to "prove we ain't halfings." Again, this seems supsiciously like good, not evil. Or maybe that's the point?
0:33 Nice of the halflings to conveniently walk into a field of wheat where my fire spell can roast them. Too easy.
0:35 So apparently killing innocents is good for my corruption level, but bad as a long term plan. Am I evil or am I some sort of middle manager here?
0:38 Now we're talking. A real halfling battle at a work camp. Guiding minions around with right stick is very intuitive, thought their response time could use some work. Not quite as tight as Pikmin.
0:42 I help some slaves out by lifting their gate. Again, this seems too much like good.
0:43 Hmm, OK. The peasants I rescued are now willing to die for me. Maybe it was worth it.
0:44 Nice of those halflings to sit back and watch while we slaughter their troll king. Really, it made things much easier for us. Thanks.
0:46 My henchmen tend to get stuck in walls pretty easily when I direct them. Don't they learn basic pathfinding in henchman school?
0:47 So we got a crane and now we're rebuilding the tower. Maybe I should have added SimCity to my "In a nuthsell" description.
0:50 Why do I have to walk through empty, barren lands I've already defeated to get to my new quest area? Seriously, why?
0:58 After beating a few more halflings and freeing a few more slaves, I wander around looking for something to do. Nothing presents itself, so I give up for now.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? No
Why? Intriguing concept, but it seems a little straightforward and dull. And my computer sucks.

This review based on a retail copy downloaded from GameTap.


Christie said...

This game is a disappointment. My son bought it and beat it within no time and it isn't even worth playing again. Not worth the money at all!

zann said...

I really enjoy the basic concept of this game, but i may have already given up, too. I'm only another half hour past where you ended and i have no idea where to go/do. Wandering around gets old, because yeah, it's pretty barren. Sheep-killing and gremlins wearing pumpkins will only amuse me for so long.