Another review, another game I had not heard of until I was asked to review it. Undead Horde, I like the undead and I am not averse to hordes, it can’t be that bad right? I watched a quick youtube trailer before the review to get a feel of what I would be walking into and it looked fun, kind of like a mix of real-time strategy and loot grinding. I was certainly intrigued.
You play a necromancer who was once banished from this world. Your task is to take the world back for the undead, raise your own army and battle your way to take revenge. This quirky title involves a wide mixture of game styles and genres, ranging from RPG mechanics to traditional hack and slash combat. You have quests to complete, various lands to take back from the humans and you must spread you undead army far and wide.
The biggest and best feature of this game is its real-time strategy army mechanic. You, as the necromancer can raise any unit from the dead to join your Undead Horde. They can be your fallen comrades or felled enemies, all the dead are yours to command. You can only have a certain number of units at your command but this number can be increased when levelling up or taking control of different units.
Each unit has a value, this value varies depending on what the unit is and what it can do. A standard troop will cost a lot less than a horseback rider for example. You have a nice little meter that keeps track of this for you and it works really well as a visual tool to keep you abreast of your army’s status. As they die the meter decreases, constantly raising new troops is the key to winning or losing any battle. Luckily you can raise just about anything from soldiers to chickens.
All your evil doings are organized from your home base, the crypt. The crypt has all the units you have unlocked so far and you can return at any time to reanimate them or even tweak your current army. To unlock new units you have to kill them a certain number of times, meaning there is a nice steady line of new troops to try. Also in your home base are merchants, these must be unlocked in the field and take up shop in the crypt, they will take all your cash in exchange for new loot. They can be upgraded with cash and even re-rolled to get new stock, it all works really well and makes the whole loot system fun and it has a fair bit of depth to it.
In the field, the game operates like a hack and slash title with the added ability to command your reanimated army. This system does add a fair bit of strategy to the combat, for instance, you can command your army to attack a group of enemies then you can move behind the enemies and stab them to death. It sounds horrible I know but you are a necromancer commanding an undead army, it’s expected of you I think. The world is split into sections and you move between them completing tasks in a normal RPG fashion, getting more powerful as you go.
Speaking of RPG mechanics, you have an XP bar that fills while your doing quests and killing stuff. Whenever this fills up you are presented with three options to choose from. You have to pick a soul, each of these souls has different stat increases from health, damage, mana and even how many units you can command at once. Every time you level up you must weigh up what you need most at the time, it’s nice you get a choice and makes you feel you are in control of which direction your character is taking.
What I did like is the world is its semi-open nature, you can move back through old sections to find secrets and other hidden objects. The enemies stay dead so you are free to explore. I really liked that because the secrets are shown on the world map, making backtracking and finding secrets problem free and fun to do. Navigating the various sections of the map, defeating enemies and finding loot is great fun. Seeing your army improve over time and get stronger is very rewarding indeed.
The worlds themselves are littered with buildings to destroy, enemies to battle and various wacky characters to save. Some of these characters, as mentioned before, take root in your crypt and help with your ongoing conquests. The world is also littered with health pools to refill your health, mana pickups and an endless amount of loot. Seriously the loot is everywhere. New weapons, staffs, trinkets, boosts, powers and rings. You will be selling and trading a lot so it does feed into the fun loot gameplay loop.
Graphically Undead Horde is quite basic. It’s bright, crisp and clean but is quite chunky looking and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I did not mind it personally and it fits the style and feel of the game quite well. Everything is rendered nicely but I feel some players may be expecting more graphically in this day and age. It’s not going to win any awards in this category but what it does, in my opinion, it does quite well.
Soundwise, again, like the graphics, are very serviceable if not very unique or amazing. The sounds and music do their job accordingly and are pleasing if never mindblowing. Everything is nice, keeps you immersed in the game, I just feel it could have been a bit better overall. More memorable music and nice sound work would have been appreciated.
Undead Horde performed very well. In my roughly 10 hour playthrough, I had zero issues with the game, no game-breaking bugs or graphical issues whatsoever. No framerate issues or hitches and everything performed as expected and I was just left to enjoy the game and enjoy it I did.
I really enjoyed my time with this quirky little game. It does not overstay it’s welcome and was fun from start to finish. It’s a nice mix of different genres and I especially enjoyed raising an undead army and using them to quell my foes. The game has a nice steady stream of unlocks and new features to experience. Managing your undead army is fun, rewarding and combat does have some strategy and tactical nuances. It’s definitely a title that felt different to most things on the market and I think most people will find something to enjoy here. While the graphics and sound design are quite basic the gameplay and combat more than makes up for it. It’s a Necromancy RTS with some loot based hack and slash thrown in, what’s not to like?
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*