Reviews by stealthycow

80

Fun little strategy game.

stealthycow | May 25, 2013 | Review of Skyward Collapse

As is traditional Arcen fashion (see: A Valley Without Wind), the font is difficult to read, the graphics are a mixture of pretty good, strange, and ugly (though it scales very well), the music is odd and often seems out of place, and this time around they've decided to forgo animations altogether. The UI is full of useful tooltips, but I feel some things - such as the resource system and building counts - could be a lot more clear.

Despite all that, this game is really solid. The concept is fresh and original, and seems really simple in theory: maintain balance between your two factions. In practice, it's anything but. You need your factions to be locked in eternal warfare to earn the points you need to progress, so being passive isn't an option. You don't control what units are made, only what resources. What ends up happening is you build a few too many barracks, a few too many soldiers of one faction get built and begin dominating the other, and you defend the losing faction a bit too well, swinging the game in the opposite direction. You place god-units, who decimate everything their paths, only felled by other god units, who in turn must be slain by other gods. Perfect balance becomes a pipe dream. Rather, you rely on massive swings of power to turn decimator into decimated. After 50-60 turns of this, which fly right by, the once-pristine floating fields are littered with uninhabitable ruins of your towns you've long since abandoned all hope for.

It's not too difficult to learn. I imagine it's terribly difficult to master. "Woes," the game's random events, ensure variety. The pacing is masterful, progression satisfying, with a persistent leveling system that gradually unlocks new buildings, new strategies - things that might overwhelm a new player, but are welcome by the pros who've made it that far.

For the measly $5 this game is asking, it's a no-brainer to anyone who enjoys god games, turn based strategies, or just fresh ideas in general. It's far from polished. It's not made by Firaxis or backed financially by 2K Games. But it's one hell of a game.