Genre: Indie, RPG, Strategy
Developer: Crasleen Games
Publisher: Crasleen Games
Release Date: Oct 18, 2017
Edited by KnightAvenger
Warbanners is an interesting attempt to make a game with sensibilities of older games and still make it good for the modern gamers. How successful Warbanners is at doing so, though, can be difficult to answer. The amount of enjoyment depends on the person playing it.
Warbanners is an indie, turn-based, tactical game with some lite RPG bits, both developed and published by Crasleen Games as their first title.
It’s not a very good-looking game. The graphics are very pragmatic in that they mostly serve to make everything look different enough to be recognizable right away, which includes different unit types. That is fine by me since I do value gameplay more than the look, but it could turn off some people. Also, truth be told, the game could have looked much better and still had everything be distinguishable. The music is nothing special, just pretty generic fantasy music.
The story is also not that special. It is pretty unoriginal and uninspired. The basic plot is that there was some ancient evil that was defeated but is now reawakened for some reason and is destroying the world, which means that different fantasy races are attacking poor humans. You play as Roderick, a leader of a mercenary company that wants to turn his company into a legend and is thus willing to help out humans in their fight against evil. Aside from the overall plot being pretty generic, the writing itself is also pretty bland at times. The whole campaign plays out on an old-looking map from which you choose the mission. When you pick a certain mission, there is a pretty short flavor text-like pop-up which details your journey. It is where you are able to make some decisions that don’t much affect the story at large but do affect your company to some extent.
The campaign is, for the most part, linear with some side missions being available at some times. That sounds good, but it comes with a caveat. The side missions that you do often have some negative consequences for your company down the line and are thusly, mostly, fake choices. For example, in one instance, if you move to the next story mission right away, the person you wanted to find is alive and you are able to catch up with them, but if you dawdle and do side missions, when you do finally progress, the person is already dead. That’s one example from very early on in the game, but it provides the modus operandi for the rest of the game.
So far, it seems that there isn’t a lot of good about this game, but here is where things change slightly. The gameplay itself is very well done. It is mostly the same as many other games of this kind with your side having a certain number of combatants placed on a hex-based field, having to fight against the opponent in a turn-based fashion. The combat is very tactical since there are height advantages/disadvantages, flanking by hitting a unit from the sides or from the back, light and darkness which affect how well units can see, setting fire to the battlefield which can burn down trees or act as a blockade for some units, etc. All of that contributes to the actual combat being pretty involved. Unfortunately, it can take too long to either win or lose due to how little damage units do and how often they miss as opposed to how much HP all units have. Thankfully, there is an option to make all units have 30% HP to quicken the combat a bit, but larger battles can still take a while and eventually turn into battles of attrition and luck rather than tactics.
All units, aside from HP, also have other stats such as Strength, Accuracy, etc. After each battle, you are given an amount of gold and sometimes certain artifacts as well as EXP for your units that did something during the battle. After gaining enough EXP, they can level up and increase a certain stat out of a choice of three randomly generated ones. Aside from that, you can equip those artifacts to a unit to give it additional bonuses. That is all there is to the RPG aspect of the game, which is why I said it was RPG-lite. Other than leveling up and equipping your units, between each battle, you can also revive fallen units, buy new units or potions as well as get new assistants which help out in some way, such as killing a random enemy unit at the start of battle or poisoning all of the enemies for two starting turns and other such bonuses.
Even though there are a lot of unoriginal and boring bits of the game, it is still a good game. Literally. The gameplay is its saving grace and I do recommend it for anyone that wants this kind of gameplay but just don’t bother for the story or expect great graphics or music.
- Good tactical combat
- Assistants that help you out
Mileage may vary:
- Graphics look older but are good for distinguishing different units and other things
- Story is pretty uninspired
Faris gives Warbanners a Drastik Measure 7.3 out of 10 (73)
Warbanners is available on Steam for $19.99 (USD).