Entering into the fold of kickstarter backed games, Legends of Callasia is a turn based strategy game sporting engaging medieval style visuals and tactical map control. Though an early build, it shows promise. It’s currently still chugging it to the finish line to meet the $25,000 budget goal, but if successful, should host an interesting multiplayer strategy experience.
|Universal App:||Yes (also available on PC) – Free demo available in link below|
|Kickstarter campaign:||Legends of Callasia – show them some well-deserved love!|
So the first thing to note when I booted up the game was a message stating the game is still a rough draft, in a pre-alpha state according to the developers. Despite this, I jumped into the tutorial and immediately noticed a good amount of polish.
Basically the central idea to a game is to control all territories shown on a map. Visually, the map looks like something you’d study on a table, which is a nice visual touch, and the art style is quite engaging. Accenting this is a carnival of player information, ranging from their hero, army strength, territories controlled, gold gain per season, enemy position, and so on. If you’ve ever played a real time strategy that hosts a top down view whereby you move a standing army to different positions, this should seem quite familiar.
Now, while I did catch on quickly, the tutorial does need some extras to help give a player a better sense of what means what. While each turn you’re told what to do, there’s a series of numbers and values that aren’t explained, leaving you with a little guess work. It’s a minor complaint at best, but definitely a pre-alpha mark.
Gameplay, as mentioned, is centered on controlling map territories. You do this by dragging your hero (a bordered circle portrait) to an uncontrolled part of land sections and then select a respective action. So for example, if I want to take over an unoccupied space of land, I’d drag my hero to it an end the turn. This is an action, and a hero gets one action per turn. This also changes the season, although I didn’t notice any effect on gameplay for it.
Once the turn ends your hero completes the action. In the tutorial, when inside the territory, I’d have other options, such as occupy, destroy, or defend. Any of those would also cost a turn (sometimes 2 or more depending on the space). Once controlled, the land can offer space to build extra resources, such as a town to generate gold per season, or a tower to hire more soldiers. Since I played the tutorial the game basically recommended my actions, but in the future against other players, it’s something to certainly deliberate over more. Skilled players will no doubt play the long con.
Not all territories fall so easy though. If an enemy hosts the area, you’ve got to give them a taste of your military might. In the case of fighting, dragging your hero to occupied lands would initiate combat next turn. During combat, missile based soldiers fought first, and then melee based. As it stands, visually, there isn’t much to see. Portraits of your army will appear on one side of the screen and the enemy opposite, with some additional visual cues. Victory was decided by who had more soldiers, I think, though that too wasn’t completely clear. I’d hope in the future more gets added to the combat section in a visual sense.
Once I learned the basics it was time to try a skirmish, match where the player faces enemy NPCs (non-player computers). This is where the game really shined. The art range was great and you had 3 diverse races to choose from: humans, beasts, and undead. All the heroes and creature designs were fantastically done (and I was a sucker for the ghoulish skeletons). If I had only one problem, it’s that camps, castles, fortifications, and so on, all looked the same. I’m hoping in the future each race will have their own unique structural look too.
Playstyle wise there isn’t too much different between races. You drag heroes in the same way, much like in the tutorial, and perform actions based on such. Strategically you need to decide whether or not you want to fortify your arm, build up economy, aggressively go after land, and so on. However, the key difference were card drops. Every other turn you’re given a card which has a special ability. For example, the race I used had a card that could summon skeletons on enemies. For a bit of gold investment, I can see how each class can use their own card drops to their advantage.
I’ll say the one lacking feature, though it’s hard to really be hard on the game for it, was audio. There are a lot of stock sound effects and it only has one short song, which loops during play. Given more development time I’m sure they’d create a great field of audio, but it’s quite simple at the moment.
Despite being in an extremely juvenile state I’m incredibly impressed with how functional the game is. Having multiplayer as an option this early is cool, but if you just want a casual round with AI opponents, that’s there too. There’s enough artistic diversity and strategy to draw you in and, hopefully, the folks behind the game can get properly funded to finish it up. For a demo, it’s got plenty to offer.
- Engaging visual art style with enough class diversity
- Plenty of strategy and planning for tactical gameplay lovers
- Multiplayer available, functional and polished
- Easy to jump into a skirmish game for quick play
- Limited audio, stock sounds, and only one song that repeats
- Limited diversity between races regarding structures
- Only 4 unit types currently