Armello is a brand new, role-playing, turn-based strategy, digital board game. Think Sid Meier’s Civilization and Magic The Gathering in a world filled with the Dark Eco from Jak and Daxter.
Unlike what IGN will tell you, this game deserves a chance.
First off, you’ll enjoy Armello if you like at least one of the previously mentioned games and/or fun in general. If not, what is wrong with you? You don’t like fun? This game has animals, cards, dice, magic, evil things, and gambling. It lets you save (selfishly conquer) a kingdom and build a seething hatred with fuzzy dagger wielding bunnies. Each game plays out like a fantastical storybook, with the individual quests and chance encounters offering varying pieces of playful lore. The mood of the game carries an overall happy tone, supplemented by the colorful world and upbeat characters.
The game’s mechanics are simple enough for you to become an expert quickly, but complex enough to keep you curious about what the different play styles and victory paths have to offer. You get to pick a male or female character from one of four animal clans, bear, rabbit, rat, or wolf, and from there your path to victory is whatever you make it. The king of Armello is going mad, his mind and body poisoned by The Rot that is plaguing the kingdom. For you and the three other players, this means that the throne is up for grabs.
You can claim victory in one of four ways, either by collecting Spirit Stones (which are pretty much Dragon Balls) and ridding the world of Rot, having the most Prestige (reputation points gained by being awesome) when the King dies, killing the King and taking his place (heartlessly murdering a sick lion), or becoming more poisoned by The Rot than the king (becoming Armello’s Sith Lord).
Throughout the game you’ll be continually presented with quests that you can pursue for hefty rewards, and the King will call on the Prestige Leader each dawn to choose between one of two random world events. All of this circles around Armello’s combat.. Equal parts luck, skill, and strategy, Armello’s combat involves the playing cards and rolling of dice. The cards you gather by drawing to your hand at the beginning of each turn or earning them through quests. The number of dice you get to roll depends on your stats, and the rolled sides can be attributed to either your attack or your defense. Simple, but with enough creative aspects to keep you interested as you fight other players, the king’s guards, and creatures of The Rot.
With it’s beautiful presentation, fun story, and clever combat system, Armello is a must-have for fans of the digital tabletop genres. However, the RPG elements and combat system are built in such a way that any fun-loving gamer can pick up and enjoy. For what it is, and what it offers, Armello is an overall great game. Asking for more from it would change the streamlined, fun-filled game into a different beast. Aside from a few things that could be polished, Armello is an overall exceptional game, and, especially as indie developer League of Geeks’ debut game, continues to leave me pleasantly surprised each time I delve into its world.
Quick Review Score: 8.6/10
(Reviewed on PS4, also available on Steam for PC)
- Rich world that is constantly changing
- Creative combat that balances strategy and luck
- High Replayability
- Long AI turns can weigh down the pace
- Limited online emote system
- No difficulty setting
Author: Alex McNeal
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