The expansion to Katauri Interactive's glorious, beautiful, deep, clever, irreverent and very silly 4X game is on its way fast, but it's not here yet - so I got all clappy-happy when I spotted a demo had hit the tubes yesterday. Except it's in Russian. Hmm. Arrogantly, I presumed myself so familiar with the menus and mechanics of the first game that I'd have no problem mastering this one.
I was wrong. Yes, I remembered how to bring up the character sheet and which button took me to the options, but I plum forgot about spell descriptions and the like. I've been crazily casting all manner of weird stuff on my army, accidentally buffing the enemy and, I think, really upsetting friendly NPCs. Still, I blundered my way through several fights without shaming myself too much. It's also a chance to see a few of the new enemies and units in action - big, lizardy types (presumably the new Pangolin race) for the former, and some cute clockwork robots for the latter. Clearly, this will be as merrily unconcerned about sticking closely to fantasy tropes as its parent was. We also get to play with the new pet dragon, replacing the outgoing Spirits of Rage. He looks like a Pokemon, but his special abilities seem agreeably devastating - summoning electro-orbs, duffing up multiple opponents at once, and some sort of somersault kick. Seems to involve a bit less micromanagement and waiting around than the spirits did too, but he's less visual spectacular. Hopefully he'll grow up during the course of the game, eventually becoming ten tonnes of fiery lizard-based death.
If you're a Russian speaker or fancy a prettily-coloured 600Mb gamble, grab the demo from here .