Crasleen is a city and its walls are besieged by orcs and necromancers, who are (probably) blasting out a sixty five minute Phil Collins drum solo while they prepare their plan of attack. The slightly ponderous translated text, including the in-game manual, doesn’t bode particularly well, but this is a turn-based tactical game of small-scale combat. That is to say, it’s my type, no matter how rough some of the detail might be. I spent an hour with the demo this morning and, once you get to know what Crasleen is really all about, it’s quite the charmer, even if it does occasionally say the most inappropriate things: “…there is an account side where to deliver a blow…” There sure is, Crasleen, there sure is.
What Crasleen is trying to communicate is the notion of flanking and attacks from the rear. It will, it wishes to assure you, take account of such things when blows are delivered because it takes its commitment to tactics seriously.
The first mission in the demo, on the orc side, isn’t the best of introductions. The player has control of one character, the orc hero who must be protected throughout the campaign, and two other friendly units fight and die under AI control. The best thing that can be said is that it’s a basic opening, allowing the player to grapple with the controls, but the controls are simple enough. Left click to select or to act and right click to bring up more information.
Mission two is much more entertaining. Along with the Orc Lord, control now extends to a few necromancers, vampires and death knights. Those are the kind of fellows that allow for all kinds of triumphant tactical tinkering. Necronamcers can raise fallen enemies, freeze people and water alike, and blast lightning bolts out of their fingertips. I assume they use the time-honoured tip-technique anyway – for all I know they might be firing them out of their every orifice. The birds-eye view leaves much to the imagination.
That view does provide a sensible view of the battlefield and even though the graphics won’t convince your console-kissing friends that your PC actually is the most powerful gaming machine on the planet, they are clear and uncluttered for the most part. Along with the artifacts and potions that can be equipped between battle, units have their own special abilities, which occasionally combine with elements of the battlefield. A knight can charge, pushing units back into fire or water, necromancers can create alternate routes by freezing rivers (the ice eventually breaking) and siege machinery can be claimed and turned against the enemy.
If you’re willing to put up with the gently fumbled translation and don’t mind hanging out with a gaggle of greenskins for the umpteenth time, Crasleen’s demo is certainly worth the small download and quick playtime, with only four missions available. I’ve even replayed the first three a couple of times. The full game is due Q1 2013, so there shouldn’t be too long to wait if your interest is truly piqued.
Here’s a direct download for the demo.