“Now I am become Viking, the destroyer of board games.” I made this remark while discussing Wartile in a bored, semi-inebriated stupor with a friend of mine. In hindsight, I find it to be utterly nonsensical – I certainly meant it to be at the time. Yet I still find it to be less bewildering than some of the design decisions that went into Wartile.
Hell Warders made an awful first impression.
Upon loading it up, I was quickly greeted with clipping assets, overflowing lists that disappeared off-screen, a non-functioning character creator, and various spelling and grammar errors in pieces of menu and help text. Oh, I also couldn’t play the game; there were no multiplayer games available for me to join, and the “Create Game” function seemed to be broken.
The second attempt didn’t fare much better. After some of the more egregious issues (namely, the character creator problems and the ability to actually start a game) were sorted out, I was greeted with something that felt tiresome and monotonous more than anything. Enemies spawned in from multiple directions, leaving me quickly overwhelmed and resigned to defeat. It appeared it was going to be a bad time all around.
Thankfully, subsequent patches proved this to not be the case.
Fire Emblem is a series that has seen many instalments over the years, yet I feel that it’s still one that flies under the radar for most people. Certainly up until the point where I played Fire Emblem: Heroes, I always knew it as, “That fantasy turn-based tactics game that most of the sword-wielders in Smash Bros. came from”. It intrigued me, but never enough to warrant going out and buying a game. This probably wasn’t helped by the fact that many of the titles in the series have become highly sought-after commodities in recent years. Regardless, its release as a free-to-play mobile game signalled an easy (and cheap) way for me to give the series a shot.
Simplicity in design is something that can be truly magical for games. Sure, it’s possible to keep things fresh with complex, deep mechanics and ever-changing rulesets. However, experiences that are equally enjoyable (or sometimes moreso) can often come from games that focus on a single idea and do it extremely well. Reigns is a perfect example of this philosophy; the gameplay amounts to little more than “rule a kingdom via Tinder”, yet it still manages to be engaging and intriguing through much of its duration.