Guards is a tactical, turn-based combat game developed and published by Battlecruiser Games. This game melds efficient decisions making and somewhat rewarding progression together into one neat, but limited package.
When you start the game, you are given 4 heroes to use; the Peasant, the Archer, the Healer and the Witcher. The game works in turns, so your team attacks first, then the enemy team. There are 3 of your 4 heroes in the front line, with one hero in reserves. Each turn you have to move one of your heroes to advance to the enemy turn, you can either switch one of your front line heroes with another of your front liners, or bring your 4th hero off of the bench and into the fray.
Bringing your 4th hero out of reserves also activates that hero’s special ability, with each hero having a unique special ability with it’s own niche uses. The Peasant can throw a spear all the way to the end of a lane and hit for high damage, the Healer can heal the two most wounded of your heroes for a small amount, the Archer can fire arrows at every enemy for a small amount of damage and the Witcher can imbue his weapon with magical lightning and strike down the foe directly in front of him with explosive force. These special abilities unique to each of your valiant troops and the fact you have to move one of them every turn means there is a lot more emphasis placed on forethought and planning than you might expect. You have to take your time before making your moves for a turn, making sure you aren’t digging your own grave two turns down the line, or potentially taking more damage than is necessary; meaning you’ll get worn down earlier than you should be by the endless stream of goblins, trolls, wolves and insects.
Guards is very minimalist, the combat is the core focus of the game, and with no story to back it up and no real discernible goal from the start of the game, it can get pretty dry to play repeatedly. There are additional heroes you can purchase in-game such as the Assassin, who can hit multiple enemies in a lane with one attack, or the Knight who sends out a stunning shockwave down the lane he’s placed in and can endure a ton of damage. These heroes however, only add so much variation to the scant frame of what forms the majority of Guards. You can also upgrade your party with things like increased healing from sitting in reserves, to more upgrade chances in a mission, or buy items from merchants that can resurrect your first corpse-to-be and stave off the imminent defeat gnawing at your heels.
Overall, I have had some fun with Guards, although at first glance I would have thought it was a mobile game, and it would probably be a better fit for that market considering its simplicity in general. While the game has some small measure of longevity with it’s upgrade system, and the choices you can make with different character combinations make it feel like a tactical game, it lacks depth overall and feels shallow and repetitive after a few hours of playing, offering no real incentive to keep on going to completion.
All in all, I would save my money and put it towards something with more depth, longevity and a good story or lore to immerse yourself in to.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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