Developer: Tim Conkling
Publisher: Versus Evil
Antihero is a turn-based strategy game that has a single player campaign, as well as online and local multiplayer.
You play as a thief who’s battling against rival thieves and gangs to claim victory by taking control of the city. You need your wits to scout out the area, and strategize your moves each turn. The single player campaign has a bit of a story, and the objectives on each map play into it.
In every match you’ll need to build and manage an economy. The currencies you earn are gold and lanterns. Lanterns allow you to purchase bribes for victory points, as well as purchase upgrades in your guild house. Once you unlock various skills such as urchins or gangs, you can then use gold you’ve earned to recruit more goons to use. You are limited to how many of each type of goon you can have, and some of them are only able useable once, like the assassin.
You will need to scout around the town with your master thief, and from there you can choose whether you want to blackmail the churches, burgal for jewels or gold, or fulfill assassination contracts to earn victory points. To win the game, you will need earn the required number of victory points before your opponent. You can also murder enemy gangs, and evict enemy urchins to seize control of their territory. There are sometimes mandatory objectives you’ll need to complete, while other times, the objectives are optional.
There are different maps available, and there are random factors in each game when it comes to building and enemy spawn locations. The different buildings each give unique bonuses, and having access to one type of building might make you alter your playstyle for that game slightly until you’re able to scout more and create a more diverse economy. For example, someone with an orphanage might try to expand quicker to make use of having cheaper urchins, while someone with a tavern who can make cheaper thugs might work on buffing up their gang more.
As for the online multiplayer, there are two modes available. The first is a casual multiplayer mode. In this mode games can play out over several days, and you have as much time as you need to do each turn. In casual mode, players can choose to be notified by email when it’s their turn.
The second multiplayer mode is a live mode. In this mode, both players are on a timer for each of their turns. Players need to think and act quickly to outwit their opponent. I do prefer the live games over the casual ones since I enjoy the faster style of gameplay, but I think the casual mode is great for keeping people coming back to the game. As for the time you are given, it feels like enough time to plan things out without it dragging on too much in between turns.
- fun, turn-based strategy gameplay with some economy management
- good faster-paced live multiplayer that they can be completed in a single sitting (usually 30-45 minutes), instead of taking hours or even days like some other turn-based strategy games
- nice, slower-paced casual multiplayer where you can play 4 games simultaneously
- you can set up custom rulesets to play skirmishes against the AI, or PvP in local multiplayer
- the story for the main campaign is fine, and has a good narrative
- the graphics are great – the maps are nice looking, and the fog of war is implemented well; the characters and their animations are good, as well as adorable
- the voicing for the narrative is excellent, the soundtrack is superb, and the sound effects are all done well
- good replay value with the live, casual, and local multiplayer modes
- (nitpick) no keybindings for the gameplay, or any form of mouse customization, and there is no controller support (all of the actions are done with only the mouse)
- (nitpick) hardcore veterans of turn-based strategy games may want more difficulty or complexity
The game took me about 4.5 hours on normal difficulty. Normal mode isn’t too difficult; I’m not super awesome at strategy, but I only had trouble on a couple levels. There were a few times where the AI did some predictable things, but overall I can’t really complain about the AI. Hard mode would probably be recommended for those who are decent with strategy games though. While I haven’t had any issues finding matches so far, the size of playerbase isn’t that large, so it might be harder to find live matches in off-peak hours.
Overall, Antihero is a fun, and adorable turn-based strategy game. Whether you just want to play the single player campaign, practice against the AI, play locally, or delve into live or casual PvP, Antihero is a solid pick-up for those looking for an enjoyable turn-based game that isn’t overly complex.