Having reviewed 8-Bit Armies back in September, I was excited to get my hands on 8-bit Hordes to see if it maintained that fun, colourful & chaotic feel. Hordes comes in as the 2nd game of a 3-game series developed by Petroglyph Games, 8-Bit Invaders will be the final game.
What needs to be said at the start is 8-Bit Hordes is pretty much identical to the previous game. The main difference with this game is you get a magic and melee focused game. With units such as archers, wizards and dragons instead of riflemen and tanks. The game mechanics, set up and style all follow the foundations set by 8-Bit Armies.
Despite the similarities, the 8-bit design seems to work even better with this game. Whether it is the Deathsworn skeleton’s pushing carts round to collect resources or the fun map designs, this game looks good. The visuals run perfectly with over 100 units on the screen at a time. The maps may look silly but there is a lot of detail put into them. Everything is destructible and there is plenty of little fun details to be found in most missions.
A slight negative with the game design though is the fixed camera angle. There are no panning or zoom options. It doesn’t really impact your ability to play the game as there is no real need to zoom in, but I think in 2019 camera control should be there. I would have liked to use it to get some closer screenshots of the maps and units.
The game offers a campaign with the choice of 2 sides to pick from with 12 missions in each, which is a drop from the first series. Deathsworn is your Orc side with warriors and dragons while the Lightbringer humans have pikemen and treants. Both are pretty equal as you play through, but you will find you might prefer a certain side.
As you progress through the campaign you will unlock new buildings and units from each mission you complete. Each mission comes with a 3-star difficulty rating. Unlocking more stars for a mission will grant you more startup units or access to new structures. This is crucial in being able to complete harder missions later on. You don’t need a certain number of stars to progress through the story so if you just want to get the 1st star you can and then move on.
The game doesn’t offer too much of a challenge as you progress through. If you jump straight in at hard it may be a bit of a struggle but unlocking units as you progress it the best way to approach the harder difficulties. The AI is more annoying than challenging. Constantly attacking your resource carts is pretty much the extent of their threat.
The odd unit control mechanic returns in Hordes. Units you build are assigned to square, circle or triangle at the point of creation. Meaning you can put all your ranged units on square or all your heavies on triangle. It does make grouping units extremely easy and fits well with a controller, but can be a frustration when you are building new units at your base but keep moving them because they are on square with older units.
Overall the experience is positive, and I had as much fun playing this game as the previous. The game has been built to be enjoyed casually. As the RTS genre goes you can enjoy this game whether you have 10 minutes to spare or want to sit down for a couple of hours. The game has been designed well to avoid any frustrations from using a controller.
However, you need to approach this game understanding it is not a deep RTS. The strategy I took to most levels was to build 100 units and move forward. As long as you have some ranged units to hit anything flying you are good to go. That might work for some gamers but if you are looking for skill trees, stealth attacks or a real challenging game 8-Bit Hordes isn’t for you.
8-Bit Hordes is an enjoyable RTS that brings humour and colour to the battlefield. You just need to recognise that this game is made to be fun rather than a challenge. I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a relaxing RTS to get into. The biggest challenge with this game will be trying to get that Platinum trophy!
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*