Scrounge Lizards: Hoard Impressions

By Quintin Smith on April 11th, 2011 at 5:35 pm.

See that bit of table on the left, there? The game's meant to look like an animated board game. Lovely.

Arcade dragon management game Hoard has been lurking on Steam for the better part of a week. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe you imagine that it’s been looking at you, the words “Buy me” riding its smoky breath like surfers balanced on a wave of deadly lava. For the sake of your sanity I’ve therefore played Hoard, so as to tell you if it’s worth buying. And it… it…

…probably isn’t.

But the concept behind Hoard is a powerful one. Each player, AI or otherwise, controls a dragon eager to fill their hoard with gold. Just about anything in the game – houses, crop fields, carts, knights – can be roasted with your fiery breath, leaving behind a tidy pile of gold coins (and bringing all-new meaning to the term “breath mint”). At its simplest, Hoard is a game of chasing down valuable targets, burning them, snatching the loot, and then when you can’t carry any more, flying home to drop it all off with a satisfying tinkling noise.

The excellent twist is that the world is, to some extent, organic, and if left alone will grow in various ways.

Leave a village alone for long enough and it’ll become a town, and start producing archers to defend itself. No good. But as the town grows, it increases its value and will be worth more if you roast it. Good! But best of all, if you carefully burn all the buildings around the town centre then you can make the town “fear” you, meaning their archers won’t attack you (though they’ll attack your opponents) and the town will continually send carts full of upkeep straight to your hoard. Amazing. Right up to the point that an opponent swoops in and torches the town centre, returning the settlement and all its archers to a neutral state. No good.

This is when Hoard’s at its most interesting- pitching the players as combative gardeners, trying to prune and grow the areas around their hoard why laying waste to the investments of their opponents. There’s an absolutely fascinating game here… but Hoard isn’t really it.

That whole town development thing I described up there? That’s pretty much as deep as Hoard gets. The game’s other mechanics are much simpler. If you spot a princess, you can take her back home until a timer ticks down so you receive a wad of ransom money. If you see a wizard’s tower, you can knock it down to retrieve a valuable, ungodly heavy gem from inside it. If you see a giant, you can try and burn him to death, a process comparable to trying to set a chair on fire with a match. If you see a thief, once again it’s up to you to burn him before he gets to your hoard- although thieves spawn more frequently out of towns with taverns, so there is a bit of weeding to be done there, and I approve. But I suspect you get the gist that this is not a complex game.

Which is a shame, as it’s an idea that makes me want to break out the pencils and graph paper and expand it into something rich and complex. As it stands, Hoard is simply a somewhat solid arcade game, almost certainly good for a few hours of fun (suiting the price of £6.29) but probably not a great deal more. The game does at least feature a co-op mode, although no team multiplayer, which strikes me as where the fun would be. Crazy.

Any other games you’d like RPS to take a closer look at, readers? News days don’t come much slower than this.

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94 Comments »

  1. Torgen says:

    Hmm, we’ve had a Minecraft post, a Stalker post… the well is running dry.

  2. Torgen says:

    also: what a shame. I was hoping this would be something it apparently isn’t. No one to blame but my expectations, I suppose.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well me and my brother had loads of fun playing it. It may be that it becomes more fun playing with people you know, or certain maps may be better than others, but for the few hours we played so far, it was darn fun.

      There is a bit more tactical depth than Quinns seems to have realized though: terrorizing towns in different parts of the map means tribute coming from different routes, and if you play on a map where your hoards are right next to each other the tribute needs to pass right next to your opponent’s hoard before you get it.

      Furthermore, gold travels from villages to towns, but bigger farms means bigger gold portions. Bigger gold portions means you can grab more at once, but if you miss shipments the towns will grow faster and become better defended. But most importantly:

      Each game you need to choose your upgrades wisely. If your opponent isn’t very aggressive, you can forgo upgrading your toughness until knights show up and spend all your points on inventory size (meaning you can haul more back to your hoard each trip, and don’t forget it’s the dragon with the biggest hoard that wins), but if he puts all his points into fire breath and speed and you don’t put any points into toughness you will most likely be constantly be griefed too much to use your expanded gold carrying capacity. On the other hand, if you put all your points into combat stats, you’ll have to constantly leave piles of gold behind for your opponent to grab.

      The most important game mechanic, which Quinns mysteriously neglected to mention, is Princesses. You kidnap a princess and take her back to your hoard. Then both knights and rival dragons have a short time where they can grab her right back, but if not then you get a big cash bonus. Wizards and giants are also important, and a conveniently-timed giant did secure a last-minute victory for me in one game, but princesses are far more common once towns reach a certain level (and bigger towns mean better princesses). Paying exclusive attention to princesses will cost you other opportunities, but they tend to have the best reward/effort ratio for a good portion of each match. Plus, it’s fun to occasionally let a knight take a princess back, then raze the tower and drag her back to your hoard.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Mysterious reply fail? Oh man…

      Well here’s a summary of what I wrote:
      Playing against someone you know probably makes it more enjoyable. “Hah hah! I stole that pile of gold you were coming back for!” has more meaning when you’re gleefully griefing your own brother.

      Quintin mysteriously neglected to mention the importance of princesses. Yes, giants and wizards are good for one-off bonuses, but princesses are a far more reliable source of income. They’re more tactical than regular gold shipments, because they need to be defended while the timer counts down or they’ll be stolen by knights or rival dragons, but the reward tends to be worth it. (Note that you cannot steal from each others’ hoards directly, but you can grab unclaimed piles of loot and princesses.) Focusing on princesses to the exclusion of all else is a bad idea, but it’s a good main strategy.

      *Which occasionally means it’s a good opportunity to defend your opponent’s hoard from whatever is attacking, because you can grab the loot that’s dropped.

      Also, which upgrades you choose is made important by what upgrades your opponent chooses and how aggressive they are. If they don’t bother attacking you in the beginning, putting points into the toughness stat is basically a waste until knights start showing up (and defeat is always a mere inconvenience anyway, recovery is far faster than TF2 respawn times). On the other hand, putting all your points into fire breath and toughness will mean far more slow trips hauling gold and princesses back to the hoard and it’s the dragon with the most gold who wins in the end. On the other, other hand putting all your points into speed and hauling capacity will leave you vulnerable to constant griefing by both rival dragons as well as knights and archers and you will have far fewer opportunities to get back at them.

      In short, there’s a bit more depth to the game than Quintin realized.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Third time’s the charm? (Dear spam filter: this is long winded, but not spam.)

      Well here’s a summary of what I wrote:
      Playing against someone you know probably makes it more enjoyable. “Hah hah! I stole that pile of gold you were coming back for!” has more meaning when you’re gleefully griefing your own brother.

      Quintin mysteriously neglected to mention the importance of princesses. Yes, giants and wizards are good for one-off bonuses, but princesses are a far more reliable source of income. They’re more tactical than regular gold shipments, because they need to be defended while the timer counts down or they’ll be stolen by knights or rival dragons, but the reward tends to be worth it. (Note that you cannot steal from each others’ hoards directly, but you can grab unclaimed piles of loot and princesses.) Focusing on princesses to the exclusion of all else is a bad idea, but it’s a good main strategy.

      *Which occasionally means it’s a good opportunity to defend your opponent’s hoard from whatever is attacking, because you can grab the loot that’s dropped.

      Also, which upgrades you choose is made important by what upgrades your opponent chooses and how aggressive they are. If they don’t bother attacking you in the beginning, putting points into the toughness stat is basically a waste until knights start showing up (and defeat is always a mere inconvenience anyway, recovery is far faster than TF2 respawn times). On the other hand, putting all your points into fire breath and toughness will mean far more slow trips hauling gold and princesses back to the hoard and it’s the dragon with the most gold who wins in the end. On the other, other hand putting all your points into speed and hauling capacity will leave you vulnerable to constant griefing by both rival dragons as well as knights and archers and you will have far fewer opportunities to get back at them.

      In short, there’s a bit more depth to the game than Quintin realized.

  3. Shakermaker says:

    Well, the news that Brink will be released a week earlier than planned is worth a topic I guess. My bet is that it is LA Noire angst.

    Oh and thanks for this small WIT. I was indeed wondering if i should get it.

  4. matty_gibbon says:

    I concur: what a shame. It sounded interesting before.

    As you asked, I was hankering for a “Wot I Think” on Dungeons for a while…

  5. Vinraith says:

    Thanks for the look at Horde, I’d been curious about that one. Hopefully the concept will be further developed in the future, though unfortunately it’s a bit rare that franchises develop towards more depth these days.

    Any other games you’d like RPS to take a closer look at, readers?

    Know anything about Patrician IV: Rise of a Dynasty? It appears to add MP and claims to add lots of interesting features to the game, but I’m not even clear on whether it’s an expansion, expandalone, sequel or what…

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Patrician IV: Rise of a Dynasty

      Pure expansion. I haven’t played it yet, as I’m waiting for it to come out on Steam, and the developer has explicitly said that the boxed expansion will NOT work with the Steam game.

    • gerafin says:

      Vinraith, you were in my dream last night. I don’t really remember it well, but I think it had something to do with my new game getting panned by critics, and you were the only one supporting it. Strange things happen when you code until 4 AM.

    • Vinraith says:

      @gerafin

      Err, sorry? I’m sure you must have better things to dream about.

      I don’t champion games that are panned by critics nearly so often as I champion games that are completely ignored by critics. Those are, after all, the games that really need word of mouth.

      And on that note: buy AI War. ;)

  6. tomeoftom says:

    Dejobaan’s newest, Kick It!, looks interesting but its punctuation makes it difficult to place at the end of the sentence I want to ask, which is can you please look at it?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Funny you should say that. I just did! It occupies the top left quarter of my monitor, has no settings you can change and the game proper is weirdly empty. There’s just nothing there. It plays like decent freeware. :(

      I’ll have another go tonight and see if I see something beautiful in there.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      I tried it out a few days ago, and it feels like… well, an early alpha! (Before Minecraft ruined everyone’s notion of what an ‘alpha’ was, grumble grumble grumble.) I’m inclined to let it sit for a while and mature, rather than trying to like it before it’s ready and spoiling it for myself in the process.

      tl;dr: it’s an alpha, wait until beta at least for fun

    • tomeoftom says:

      Ah! Of course, I forgot it was still in dev. Does this then mark the first time Steam’s allowed a buyable alpha on its store? Looks like it’ll eventually be great, anyway. I just hope there’s enough elements that interact with one another to make it lastingly interesting, though. AaAAa!!! was so exciting when the level design allowed, but it was really quite a small game. I guess both of those issues would have been blown over if they really pushed the level editor and integrated it well, but apparently they didn’t see enough enthusiasm for it to bother, which is a huge shame.

      Best thing in the world would be the synaethesia of Kick It! somehow strained and then firehosed at the Volo Airsport, (which I think you guys have covered before).

    • gerafin says:

      Quins: I got it to go full-screen, I think the old alt+enter trick works. But I have to agree, it plays basically like AAAaaAa, but with all of the depth removed. Hopefully it shapes up to be something more impressive than it is. Also: for most of my music, the levels are fairly empty. Pretty boring, unfortunately.

    • Persus-9 says:

      Yeah, Alt-Enter will get it to go full screen but right now it really isn’t anything more than a curiousity. I think it has promise but right now it doesn’t compare well to either Beat Hazard or Audiosurf. Right now there are so many little things that really hurt it, like not being able to turn off the sound effects and not giving any real feeling of changing pace in response to the music like Audiosurf did so wonderfully. I have high hopes but I don’t think I’ll be putting much time into it until it’s a little more finished.

    • Xocrates says:

      Aye, Kick it is still very much alpha, and probably the only reason it’s on Steam was so it could be part of the ARG.

      I wish Steam made that a bit more clear though, as other than a couple inconspicuous lines in the store page there really isn’t much pointing out that the game is unfinished.

    • somedude says:

      Kick It has actually improved a fair bit from the earlier alphas, in my opinion – things are a bit more dynamic, and certain parts of it sync up better with the music now. However, it’s still lacking a bit in variety (you’ll see about all there is to see playing through a handful of songs) and the syncing could be better. That, and it still feels a bit like a tech demo, with no real proper game in it yet (there’s a score at the end, but it’s rather meaningless). That being said, though, I think it’s got quite a bit of potential that I hope will be more fully realized as the game moves forward towards a full release. It’s already fun to play around with in short bursts, and I’m on track to logging more time on it than AAAaaAAAAaaa.

    • Atomosk says:

      So far I like 123Kick it. It’s just that the game only has 3 levels, 2 of which are bland. The 3rd level the “Genome” one where you change settings to alter the size of the effects is really nice though. On par with audio surf’s ninja mode, possibly better…. some day.

  7. Sergey Galyonkin says:

    It is actually quite fun on PS3, when 3-4 players are involved, but I can’t imagine it’s multiplayer working on PC.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Oh riiight. Of course, it’d be great with a few pads and a TV. Suddenly a lot of those design decisions make sense.

    • appropriate touching says:

      Yeah, I found myself enjoying the demo quite a lot more when I switched to pad control.

      @Doesntmeananything
      By that logic playing L4D with a pad is just as much fun as with a mouse…

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      Agree with Quintin. Perhaps a pad provides slightly more precision in controlling your dragon, but I fail to see how that would affect the overall enjoyment of this game. And that is just one instance where PS3 may possibly have an upper hand. If what you have in mind is a playing session on a couch with 3-4 friends (also, actually playing the game), then that can easily be ‘emulated’ by using voice-chat (internal or external), which still wouldn’t make much of a difference. What are the dramatic dissimilarities between PS3′s multiplayer and that of PC in the case of this game, I haven’t got a slightest.

    • noodlecake says:

      @doesntmeananything

      Being sociable with your mates is just like sitting in a room on your own talking into a headset. Consoles are just better when it comes to genuine social gaming.

  8. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Does anyone else want to play games to relax, rather than for a ridiculous challenge? I’m looking for something simple that’s playable with a gamepad on PC.

    I played the Hoard demo, enjoyed it a bit, but it was obviously heading in the direction of fast-paced time management games.

    I’ll play through “The End” levels of Super Meat Boy because they’re nice and soothing. Nothing unexpected, no crap being fired at you, challenging without being ohmygodimpossible.

    Slower-paced arcadey games. Yeah. That’s what I’m looking for.

    • LTK says:

      Your description just screams Osmos, even though Osmos is a game whose name is only whispered. Check out the demo on Steam. It’s all about ambience, as they call it, and the game can be very relaxing. Stay away from the Warped Chaos levels though…

    • zergrush says:

      Assassin’s Creed 2 is simple, playable on a pad, quite fun and not pressuring at all. There’s plenty of different stuff to do and you can progress at whatever pace you feel like. I used to play it to relax between more consuming games.

      It’s not very “arcadey”, though.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      I understand what you mean, but even so, describing The End as “nice and soothing” kind of cracks me up.

  9. ScubaMonster says:

    Tried the demo and was pretty disappointed. I think this idea would work a lot better as a strategy game and not arcade gameplay.

  10. Gothnak says:

    Can you guys do a review of the best Facebook games?

    I keep trying to find ones with a decent amount of strategy, but fail miserably. As you are a PC site, and well, facebook is best used on a PC, that’d be pretty awesome. Tyrant was the only one so far that got me to finish it.

    Alternatively find out more about Six Gun Saga or whatever it is called, that has me interested but i have no idea about it so far…

    • Torgen says:

      Scott Brown’s (former CEO of NetDevil (Jumpgate) ) new company just released a Facebook space shooter called “VORP!”

      Sadly, I cannot give you a review, as I refuse to expose my profile to Facebook games.

  11. CMaster says:

    I tried to play the demo of this.
    My dragon constantly tried to flame up and right, frustrating any attempts to control it otherwise. Thought it might be my 360 controller messing with it, so unplugged and restarted. No luck. Uninstalled. :(

  12. Navagon says:

    Hmm… Anything more on The Dream Machine?

    I suppose an exclusive on Starbreeze’s Syndicate game is too much to hope for, right?

    • Riztro says:

      Is it confirmed to be Syndicate?

    • bagga says:

      The Dream Machine’s due-last-month part 3 seems to be indefinitely delayed . Which is really disappointing, given that it’s been great so far.
      Apart from Minecraft, this was my first experience with pay-before-completed games, and I don’t think it I’ll be doing it again, great game or no. As anyone who’s awaited a mod before will know, “quite ambitious and will require more time” is usually the point where a good project turns into “our artist dropped out” turns into “abandoned completely”.

    • Navagon says:

      @ Riztro
      Starbreeze are confirmed to be working on a new game based on a classic EA IP. They’re fans of Syndicate. There’s that and the fact that EA have been registering a lot of things in the Syndicate name lately. So yeah, it’s not completely official. But it might as well be.

      @ bagga

      That’s a real bloody shame. They don’t seem to suggest that it’s on indefinite hold though. Just that it will take a lot longer than anticipated. You might be reading too much into it.

  13. Hatsworth says:

    Sanctum perchance?

  14. Bobtree says:

    I respectfully disagree. Hoard isn’t about cultivation (the world does this itself, you don’t have to babysit it). Hoard is about valuation: what should you target, what’s the best use of your Hoarding time, what upgrades should you prioritize, and these things change as a round progresses. Quintin didn’t even mention your score multiplier (up to 3x), which is very important (it resets if you die or get robbed by a thief or player).

    “That whole town development thing I described up there? That’s pretty much as deep as Hoard gets.”

    Dead wrong. Here’s how deep it gets. Every gold drop from something you can burn will also be picked up by any mobile unit on the map (and its very common to reach your carry limit and leave little piles of gold around). You can always carry a princess in addition to your loot haul. A giant has 5k or so gold to start (he also trashes towns and collects as he goes), and should you take him down, will take multiple trips to carry the prize home. So if you can take down a Giant and let his loot be picked up by a princess carriage, and then abduct that princess and ransom her successfully (not guaranteed), you could potentially pull in 30K + change in one trip: (7k Giant + 3k princess) * 3x multiplier. That’s about three times as much as a typical “good” run, and twice the highest gem-carrying trip (5k x3, no loot or princess, and big speed penalty that makes it very risky to your multiplier in multiplayer).

    If you’re interested, play the demo (it’s the same download as the full game, minus unlocking, so presumably it’s patched just like the release version). The launch was rough (delayed release, crashing, 4-pack snafu, gamepad support issues), but it’s been patched and my game-night gang all played together last week and loved it.

    Here is a more thorough overview by the top leaderboard player: http://www.hoardgame.com/community/index.php?topic=983.0

    • innokenti says:

      This. The game is much deeper than Quinns gives it credit, because in order to achieve those high scores you’ve not only got to have good dexterity for burning goodness, but a sound strategic sense of what to collect and when.

      This gets even more deep in co-op, where co-operation is necessary – not only not dying to stop the multiplier resetting, but ensuring that you collectively keep knights away from princesses, stop various bits of the map from over-growing and preventing harvesting and so on and so forth.

      Frantic and deep. That is what HOARD is.

    • Wulf says:

      I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I concur! And I agree, after having played it with someone co-op, that it is a most worthwhile thing to do.

    • Torgen says:

      So, playing this single player is like playing Magika single player, when compared to co-op?

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, really. Having another person around to play it with makes it. It’s kind of like Bomberman in a lot of ways, and that’s become my favourite analogy to this game because it makes a lot of sense, there are many ways in which I can draw correlations. And one of them is, yeah, you can play with an AI, but it’s all the more of a blast with a real person, especially if you give the other modes (not just Treasure) a blast.

      I mean, if you sit around playing Treasure mode in single player and wishing to yourself that it was some big, overly complex, high budget strategy game, like some have, then you’ll end up wishing you were playing such a game and you won’t get a lot out of it. But if you sit down with a friend or two and you think of it like Bomberman, it makes a lot of sense and it’s loads of fun.

      It’s really a great game, just keep an open mind and approach it with the right perspective. Go in thinking Bomberman, not I of the Dragon.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Playing with friends is a must. It can get pretty vicious, especially if you swipe a ransoming princess from someone’s hoard for the split second they’re away from it. Give how score multipliers reset if your dragon gets defeated you’re encouraged to hound your rivals and kick them when they’re down. They’ll be doing the same to you, of course.

  15. The Army of None says:

    Howsabout a poking and prodding into the new Cortex Command build, from december? The game is still among my most played, and it’d be interesting to read a Wot I Think about it!

  16. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Sanctum looked good. I know, more tower defense… But it looks slightly different! And shooting the mob seems to let you make some direct impact in the general passiveness of TD-clones.

    Tell us about Sanctum.

    • Wulf says:

      Sanctum is good but nothing groundbreaking. Essentially I’ll try and break down what it is….

      - Get a tower defence game in your head, like, say… Defence Grid.
      - Wrap it in a Phantasy Star Online aesthetic. Things are white, shiny, and Asian sci-fi-ish, in a cute way.
      - Now think of playing Defence Grid from the first person, so you’re setting up your towers FPS style.
      - And when the waves rush in, they make a mad dash for your power core, and you have various guns to shoot at them with.
      - So it’s you and your defences against the waves.

      It’s kind of like that! Good, fun, and… pretty okay. Not entirely groundbreaking, though, and it could use more of a personality of its own, but not bad at all. I enjoyed it. And I think that if you like tower defence games, you’ll love it. Also, it’s as tough as nails!

  17. Halo says:

    How about taking a look at MechCommander Omnitech?
    http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=210.0

  18. MCM says:

    I have to agree, Hoard simply wasn’t that great.

    There is a whole unexplored world of non-human RPGs. If Hoard were a slightly more serious game, larger, 3d, where you grow a dragon over time, acquire special items in your hoard, build a lair, capture specific nobles, potentially manage diplomacy with kingdoms and other dragons… I mean, there’s definitely games you could make there.

    It’s just sad that we’re stuck with a text game, Choice of the Dragon, and this little whack-a-mole arcade game, Hoard. There’s so much space in the middle.

    • Wulf says:

      I think there’s room for both? Whilst I agree with you that more in-depth dragon games would be great (and we have had some, I’ll come back to that), I will say that as a casual party game, Hoard is great! It’s sort of like Bomberman with dragons! I dig that concept… what’s wrong with that concept? I’m honestly baffled at the disliking of Hoard. It’s like disliking Bomberman.

      Oh well! I’m not saying it’s wrong for anyone to do so, yanno? To each their own. I support that! I’m just baffled by it. I figured that Hoard would have a wide-ranging appeal. Bomberman with dragons was really the best way to explain it, I wish I’d used that lower down.

      Anyway, as for raising a dragon sort of games, I agree. We could use more of those. Horizons/Istaria touched upon that and I absolutely loved it for the time I played it. But I think there’s room for all sorts of games. Just because there’s one sort of game, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be eradicated to make way for another. Have both!

  19. KingMudkip says:

    I’ll admit, Hoard isn’t really all that deep. But I still like it. :P And I pre-ordered it for $7.50 before it came out on Steam, so that makes it a little bit nicer.

  20. oatish says:

    Quintin,

    Please tell me more about Distant Worlds – the 4x Space game published by Matrix Games.
    (http://www.matrixgames.com/products/379/details/Distant.Worlds)

    I would just dive in but damn that price point is high for the PC these days…

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Second screenshot made me think Meerkats were a race.
      “Compare the ma-”

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Three Moves Ahead had a pretty good episode discussing Distant Worlds, a while back. They thought it was interesting, but required too much micromanagement and had UI that wasn’t really up to the task.

      That’s if I’m remembering correctly – the episode is over a year old, now! It’s probably worth your while to listen to it yourself.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      I’m pretty sure it was heavily patched after that podcast, particularly dealing with fleet management and AI. Tom Chick wrote a very positive post about it. I suspect it’s been lost to the internet void after Syfy deleted Fidgit.

  21. CptSqweky says:

    Have any of you checked out Gemini Rue yet?

    • lamzor says:

      gemini rue was very good. it feels very oldschool. its rather short(can be finished in 1-2days – but hey 50eur COD can be finished even sooner:) ).
      it offers good dialogues, its well voiced and it has very few illogicalities. most times(2-3x), i was stuck because i didnt find some object composed of 30pixels :) graphics are nice, but very low res.
      on 24″ LCD fullscreen, this was the biggest problem. also controls aint very good, but this is because of AGS limitations(engine in which was this game build). but you can get used to that. same as low res graphics.
      it also has some action elements(where you shoot enemies from behind cover). in such hardcore adventure game, it feels very refreshing
      not to relveal any story spoilers, just let me say that you wont expect what will happen deeper in the game. smart writing indeed.
      i was amazed that this game was pretty much done by one-man-team.
      its well worth the price and worth checking out. if you like old adventure games like The Dig, Monkey islands, The longest journey etc check it out. you wont be dissapointed.
      btw many AGS games(for free), similar to gemini rue can be found here:
      http://www.bigbluecup.com/games.php
      didnt play any of those yet, but im planning to. if you(or anyone) know some good, post them.

    • deejayem says:

      THIS!

      Erm, this as in “please, Mr Smith, give us your era-defining thoughts on Gemini Rue” not this as in wot the other chap said.

  22. Temple to Tei says:

    Tell everyone about My Little Pony mashups?

    Is it expectations? When on the toybox and telly this game seems more than we expect, when on the pc this game seems less.
    Though listening to some tell it above it might have more depth.

    I think Mr Quinn is just disappointed in any multiplayer game that does not literally let him backstab his ‘friends’.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, it’s a very happy game, it’s not really meant to induce anger and it’s not about betrayal, it’s just about fun. I think fun is something that some of us might have forgotten how to have in our old age. If I’m not mistaken though, Eurogamer were incredibly pleased by it, so there’s that.

      (Ah, here it is. They had no small amount of praise for it.)

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Bet you’d go for a more in-depth raise-a-dragon one like MCM suggests higher up though Wulf :)

    • Wulf says:

      Perhaps. But I actually really, honestly like Hoard. It was a blast to play. It took me by surprise because I didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was. I was tempted to think that it would be another let down, a cheap cash in on something cool (see: Dino D-Day), but no… it’s actually good! Really good! You have to have a certain mindset for it, though.

  23. Wulf says:

    Have to disagree here. This really comes into its own if you have some crazy people around to play it with. It’s like a board game. Play it by yourself and it’s okay, but it’s sort of like playing Monopoly on your own, or playing TF2 with bots. But as a party game with a bunch of people, it’s glorious.

    It’s something you play alongside a bunch of other games, it’s not supposed to be especially deep, because that would ruin the fun. If you go all I of the Dragon with this, that would completely ruin it, but I get that it takes a particular mindset to appreciate it because what it is is kind of unusual. I’d still recommend folks give it a try because I find it fun. But it seems I find it fun for the same reason that Quinns doesn’t. I don’t think everything needs to be the next Alpha Centauri just because it barely hints at strategy.

    This is a silly, cheerful board game bred with an action game, and it’s shameless about it, and quite unique, too. That it doesn’t try to be exactly what people want and just pretty much does its own thing is why I like it so much. It could have been deeper, it could have been more like a strategy game, but both of those things would’ve ruined it for what it was. And sometimes, just sometimes, you have to accept something for what it is.

    You’ve got to approach this thinking of it as a board game bred with an action game, then it makes sense. It’s anything but conventional, and I think that a lot of minds are going to bounce off it, with people scratching their heads in confusion at it, because it’s not this, or not that. Well, I say it is its own thing, and I like what it is, and it does it well. To each their own, but I turn to this often when I have a few minutes to spare. I even like the co-op mode, too – there’s something entertaining about a bunch of dragons strengthening their dominion over poor, helpless people, and kidnapping about a billion princesses from those silly humans that seem to breed like rabbits.

    It’s fun, it’s silly, and you’re either going to be able to except it for the bizarre thing it is, or you’re going to be left wanting a more meaty strategy game.

    *shrugs cheerfully.*

    I like it. It makes me happy.

  24. vanilla bear says:

    Quinns, your homework is to find all of the concept box art for Portal 2 unearthed by the ARG and break down their pros and cons in a way that would make Lord Sugar happy

    http://valvearg.com/wiki/Aperture_Science_Login_Screens/Images

  25. PuppyStar says:

    has anyone tried atypical rpg yet?
    http://www.desura.com/games/atypical-rpg

  26. Wulf says:

    I have the perfect explanation of why I’m a bit baffled as to the negative reception of Hoard for Hoard being what it is. Hoard is Bomberman with dragons. And… well, some of the opinions would be like reading that Bomberman needs more depth, that Bomberman isn’t complex enough. Bomberman is admittedly a bit stupid, yes, but also fun, so fun! And Hoard is that with dragons.

    If you want a mindset to approach Hoard from, there it is.

    (Also, going to say it – I worry that there’s some PC elitism going on here. Turning noses up at something silly and dumb that came from the consoles because it’s not some RTS, when of course it should have been. But not really. :p I worry that people are getting into that sort of mindset too much and not just trying to play Hoard for what it is.)

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Man, I was reading that long post of yours up there and was thinking about fighting my case, but now that you’ve gone and compared this with Bomberman and suggested that Bomberman is stupid I’m going to have to steer well clear.

    • Navagon says:

      Bomberman isn’t stupid. The simplicity is its genius. True enough some bastardisations in the series are stupid. But clearly those aren’t the ones to which you refer.

    • Max White says:

      All hail bomberman! I agree with Navagon, sometimes simple is better

  27. Ridnarhtim says:

    I got the demo, and I really had a great time with it. For about two hours. Boredom set in with brutal suddeness and efficiency. Which is a shame, because those two or so hours really were amazingly fun. The game just needs more elements and variety, so that not every match feels the same.

  28. Robert says:

    I did enjoy Hoard, for a bit indeed.

    My suggestion to play:

    Dungeons of Dredmor, from http://www.gaslampgames.com/

    It’s supposed to come out this so, so use your boyish/girlish charms (pick what will be most succesful) and get us a sneaky peek!

  29. Lars Westergren says:

    > Any other games you’d like RPS to take a closer look at, readers?

    How about the latest releases on GoG – Realms of the Haunting, and Guilty Gear X2?

    Iron Tower studios have released a steady trickle of news about Dead State and Age of Decadence, if you scrape it together you may get a full meal.

    Bluesnews have credible rumors that Super Street Fighter 4 AE will be revealed tomorrow for PC as well as consoles. Worth a look?

  30. trizzlor says:

    In all seriousness, can someone recommend a good multiplayer competitive gardening game?

  31. Dances to Podcasts says:

    > Any other games you’d like RPS to take a closer look at, readers?

    I’ve been playing a lot of Diamond Dan recently and it seems RPS hasn’t written about it yet. Get on it!

    http://www.grendel-games.com/diamonddan

  32. jiminitaur says:

    Treasure Mode is dull, and its what all the reviews tend to focus on. You can’t die, the AI isn’t competitive, and in general it’s not much of a challenge. HOARD mode is a lot more fun. You can actually die, you actually eat princesses (what kind of proper dragon ransoms a princess anyway), and your score is your survival time (gold counts as bonus time). Well worth the cost of the game, even if there are only 5 maps (compared to 15 or so Treasure maps).

  33. toastmodernist says:

    Agree that it’d be nice for someone to say something abt Atypical RPG.

    Anyone.

  34. MeestaNob says:

    Interesting take on the game, I’ve only played the demo and gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it and will probably play the full version soon.

    I’d urge everyone to at least try the demo, I thought it was good fun.

    • Atomosk says:

      I enjoyed it too, makes a good lunch break game. I think Quintin’s asking a bit much for $10 (not all budget games can be as awesome as Magicka, and at least Horde seems bug free so far).

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, I was pretty much convinced by the demo. I roped in someone to play the full version with as soon as I got it and we had a laugh with it. So I’d recommend the demo, too.

  35. cjlr says:

    We played it on PS3 while sitting around drinking beer.

    It was incredibly fun.

    Although I’d probably chalk that up to the friends and beer. Not the game.

    It’s not bad, it’s just nothing special.

  36. JackShandy says:

    How about a spotlight on the Text Adventure scene? Haven’t seen RPS do anything like that. You could look at Emily Short’s stuff, etc. Ooh, even check in on that IF game that one chap is making as a full commercial product.

    http://emshort.wordpress.com/

  37. Tom Camfield says:

    @ Quinns

    I always thought RPS should look into whatever games are on special offer at the usual places: GoG, Steam, GamersGate etc… You guys could do an “initial impressions” and whether they were favourable or not, RPSers could snap up the game for cheap and add their comments, like the Oprah Book Club, but for games.

    Right now, Masters Of Orion 1&2 are both on GamersGate for €1.18 and €1.60 respectively (and the latter was on the best 122 list). What about a face-off between the two, or a quick multiplayer game with a chum? I tend to play the former more, since it’s stripped down simplicity allows for windowed games while doing other things.

    How about a Quinns does Hearts of Iron diary? One game, can you manage to comprehend it? Or there’s all the IF from the latest round of awards with Aotearoa winning…

    I’d be interested in all three.

  38. PUKED says:

    Have you tried Distant Worlds? It feels a lot like if Paradox made a 4X game, and pulls off Moo3′s aim of letting you rule a massive galactic empire a lot more successfully. Plus, space trexes!

    Other than that I don’t know, Warsow? Just had a big update at the start of the year.

  39. Araxiel says:

    Have you tried Apox? Sounds interesting but it does not really convince me since I’m not quite sure what to expect. It’s some sort of dota/td/c&c/x-com

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