Bloody beat ’em up/strategy hybrid Aztez out now

Aztez

Aztez [official site] blends two genres that wouldn’t normally mix: turn-based strategy and beat ’em up. The strategising happens on a hex-based map – you control an elite combat unit of the Aztec Empire sent out to kill “warriors and mythological foes alike”. When you invade another tile it switches into real-time brawling, with a hand drawn black-and-white art style where there only colour is the red of your enemies’ blood. And there’s plenty of that.

It came out this week and it looks pretty promising, actually. Alec has played a bit of it for Unknown Pleasures and enjoyed the combat with all its flashy, fluid mid-air stabbing. But in case you missed that, here’s a reminder.

Here’s what Akec thought:

“I felt fairly alarmed during the tutorial, as it issued combo command after combo command at me, but in practice it’s far more organic, learning what works against which foes and lurching happily out of your comfort zone once you’ve nailed the basics. And, when the fighting’s done, it’s time to nab some cities, play some cards and push back against the dastardly Spanish invasion.

“All told, a genre fusion that works very well. This definitely would have been raved about the world over a few years ago, but I worry about it getting lost in the noise now.”

And it could well have been released a few years ago – Adam wrote about it way back in 2012 and it was initially due in 2013, but a series of delays pushed it backed to this year.

Since the launch trailer has been on this site before (it came three months before launch, for whatever reason), here’s two minutes of “high-level play”. So, basically what the game will look like at its best:

And here’s the hex-based map, just so you get an idea of what you’re dealing with. I quite like the art style of both the map and the combat, but then I’m a sucker for black and white design with the occasional splodge of colour

Aztez hex

You can pick it up on Steam for £13.49/17,99€/$17.99, including a 10% discount until Tuesday.

7 Comments

  1. Tim James says:

    This is really easy to jump into for casual players, and there’s plenty of room for mastery as the video shows.

  2. cpt_freakout says:

    This looks great, and I’m glad there are no damn vikings in sight, but ‘aztez’ is not a thing that exists. I guess it’s the same thing with ‘berserker blood lust’ and the horned helmets and all that stuff, but come on, it’s not like there’s not a million books about the Aztecs in English now from where some solid research could be taken. Rant over – I’ll probably get this eventually anyway ;D

    • Morninglord says:

      The developer is part mexican, and has done extensive research on Aztec history.
      Aztez is not a thing that exists. But, neither is juggling enemies with fancy moves. Or knives that let you teleport around. Or flintlock rifles you can reload with one hand. Or stabbing with a spear backwards through the sky. It goes on.
      It’s a highly stylish action game so it’s to be expected that there will be a little stylization going on in the name and concept of who is fighting as well. It doesn’t mean everything is up for grabs. There’s actually been a shit ton of work going into the research: he consulted with professors of history and such.

      The developer talks about it here.

      link to aztez.com

      • cpt_freakout says:

        Thanks for the link! I’m not saying it needs to be realistic for the sake of it, or that fantasy has no place in a historical setting. Nor am I saying this is exploitative (like the person in the letter exchange with the dev) – my relationship to this history is much simpler perhaps because I’m Mexican and not Mexican-American. What I meant was that you can often gleam some basic knowledge from games set in a historical period like this one, so why not go for a name that refers to something that did exist? Like I said, this is just a rant, I’m not really demanding an answer from the dev or anything.

        • Morninglord says:

          I get what you mean. I kinda see it like assassin’s creed. The organisation, the hero you play, and their entire conflict didn’t really exist, nor does it play out that way since they need to have the player take a personal role in the history as it unfolds, which isn’t how it really happened. But the events you interact with did happen, and there’s a lot of detail in the games that reflect that.

          It’s pretty similar in this game, the map is based on the real one at the time, the names of the cities, the gods, the basic lore, the city backdrop designs are taken from real ones, its a celebration of the culture, even though you are basically playing a fictional hero from a fictional organisation, similar to assassin’s creed.
          I mean, yes, the assassin’s were a real organisation, but not outside the middle east, and they were called a slightly different name.

  3. smeaa mario says:

    All I see is a combo simulator that is highly reminiscent of that long-ass stickman fighting gif of yore.

  4. Bobtree says:

    Too much screen shaking.

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