By Jason Quinn / July 15th, 2017
|Release Date||July 10th, 2017|
|Genre||Turn based Strategy|
|Age Rating||ESRB T for Teen|
Antihero is a turn based strategy game from developer Tim Conkling. You play as the head of a thief guild in a sort of Victorian-era Steampunk-ish setting. The goal is to go up against other thief guilds and prove who’s the most sneakiest, rotten thief in town.
The story in this game is pretty by-the-books. You assume the role of Lightfinger, a decent enough guy, but still a thief willing to get his hands dirty. You first start off competing with a rival thief, and as the story goes on, you’ll match wits against scoundrels of all sorts. With one dimensional characters, this story doesn’t really do anything amazing. The novelty of the setting and premise went a long way to holding my interest.
Most turn-based strategy games have an emphasis on smart and clever unit placement, however this game is almost entirely based around management of resources. Unit placement is hardly a consideration due to the fact that units are free to move anywhere on the map, so long as there’s no fog of war. The primary unit is your master thief, and you use it to scout out new areas and burgle various buildings. Other units are for invading businesses, attacking enemies, blocking off streets, and laying traps.
The two resources in this game are gold and lanterns. Gold is for buying units, lanterns are for purchasing upgrades. Upgrades will give your master thief more actions to take in a turn, unlock more units to use, give passive buffs, etc. The overall goal is to try to control as many businesses on the map as possible, which will give you more plentiful resources. You win by scoring victory points, which there are several ways of doing. First is by simply purchasing a bribe from the upgrade screen, however these are usually quite costly. Second is by fully occupying a church. Third is by assassinating a particular target on the map. Each map also has a unique way to get a victory point. For example, on the wharf, if you occupy a ship for a whole turn, you’ll score a victory point.
Antihero, as far as my experience goes, is a fairly unique game. I’ve played a handful of turn based strategy games in my day, but none really quite like this. This doesn’t have the depth, complexity, or just sheer variety as something like Civilization. However, a standard match doesn’t last for much more than a half hour, so this might be your thing if hours long matches doesn’t sound appealing.
For Antihero, it doesn’t take long to get an idea of how to play the game and how to play it well. In a game like Civilization, there are typically several very unique paths to achieve victory. In Antihero, despite the different ways to acquire victory points, they all kinda consist of doing similar things. Which ones you go for pretty much just depends on what happens to be the most convenient. In the story mode, I found how I approached every scenario was more or less the same. It’s just a race to get resources. That said though, while there’s not a lot of variety in how matches can play out, what’s available here is still pretty fun.
Another missed opportunity is the fact that there are a handful of different characters to play as, yet they don’t have any kind of unique abilities or traits. It’s just a cosmetic difference. In the story mode, each character kinda has certain preferences for things, but in a normal skirmish match, there’s no difference at all. A bit of a shame here, I think having different abilities might’ve spiced things up a bit.
The presentation of this game is really good. The visuals are fantastic, and the variety of British voice clips definitely sell the setting. The music also fits the setting, however since matches can carry on for a half hour, it definitely gets repetitive.
Overall, I think Antihero game is just shy of being really good. The limited gameplay means there’s just not much to see. Even with such a short story, only about 6-7 hours, I don’t really feel any desire to play it more. I feel like I’ve experienced just about all I need to. This game is currently $15 on Steam. If you’re used to longer strategy games, you might not find this fulfilling. If you want a turn based strategy game that’s somewhat easy and quick to get into though, I could recommend it.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
AntiheroPCTim Conklingturn-based strategyVersus Evil