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Earth, Wind & Firepower: Kingdom Elemental Demo

Chronic Logic dropped me a line, mentioning they'd just released a major update for their strategy game, Kingdom Elemental: Tactics, improving the interface, revamping skirmish, new challenge levels, user-created stuff and lots of exciting sounding improvements. Or rather, they would be, if we knew anything about the game, but we've never played it. There's only two ways to solve that. One: find a player, excise their brain with scalpels and merge it with your own with brain-glue. Two: play the demo. I went with the latter. It's basically a real-time-with-pause skirmish game, with a tiny touch of tower-defence in its design. Oh, I'll explain it a bit better below...

Levels are set in small linear arenas. You have a limited amount of gold to buy your heroes from a selection of 10 - 4 in the demo. So, depending on what you're facing, you may alter your build, leaning one way or the other. You fight. You win. The Tower Defence element comes in because you get waves of enemies coming in, meaning that you're trying to build a slightly persistent defence which interacts. Well... I did say a splash. The progression between the levels - as in, groups of waves - is where it gets more interesting. You get unlock points which you can either use to make a new character type accessible or unlock an ability in a pre-existing character. So, you can choose to gain access to Necromancers, or make your already-existing archers more vicious by giving them a fire-arrow special ability, or boosting their attack rate or whatever. Since their cost remains the same no matter how upgraded they are, there's an obvious tactical situation to weigh up.

It's quite fun, from the little of the easy campaign the demo lets you play. The one thing to mention is that it does have a slightly tongue in cheek attitude to everything. Think Overlord. As in, the garrulous tutorial voice-over being openly sarcastic and the IT WAS A TIME OF WAR wizard voice breaking into complaints about the conventions of the genre and all that. And it's... well, half the time it's fun and the other half the time it's painful. Voice-over and comedy are both tricky things to pull off, even if you have an enormous budget, and it regularly stumbles. It's worse in the demo than the full game, I suspect, because the action is interrupted by the former narrator telling you that he wouldn't be interupting to annoy you if this was the full version. What is this? Spotify?

The actual videos on their site which give a better impression of what the game is actually like can't be embedded, but here's some early gameplay footage that's on Youtube...

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You can download the demo from here. The full version costs $19.95 from here.

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