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Runespell: Overture Review

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation.com  

How many game types can you hybrid together seamlessly to create a satisfying PC experience? The folks at Mystic Box have been working hard to bring you the answer in Runespell: Overture. Runespell: Overture is a puzzle(ish) roleplaying game combining Poker/Yahtzee mechanics with Power ups and Collectable cards.

Runespell: Overture  takes you to an alternate medieval Europe. Creatively linking historical characters with Norse mythology the player takes on the role of ‘The Changeling’, the son of a monster god, in search of his nemesis. While the story and the art can be quite compelling at times, the dialogue seems odd at times during the cut scenes and battle intermissions. Easy to use controls help the combination of solitaire, yhatzee, and poker in the combat system run smoothly. While this ultra-hybrid title may not be for everyone the puzzle, rpg, and card playing combination is married nicely enough to warrant a gander.

Gameplay – 7.5/10

There is a lot going on here but it never seems overwhelming. Your linear narrative experience will have moving through the story to encounter key plot points revealed sometimes in dramatic cut scenes. The cut scenes are a series of stills and text as opposed to animated sequences. Our story is just interesting enough to propel you forward and many characters are met along the journey that are equally as interesting.

During the course of your game you will meet characters, friends and foes who have something unique to offer. Allies who travel with you will be included in your combat defense and offence and can be used just like specially earned ability cards. Ability cards will help you in battle when the poker hand dealt to you just isn’t enough.

In each battle you will have 3 turns per round. During your turn you can sometimes use your abilities cards and travelling allies or  you can use your three turns to create the best poker hand by stacking your cards (including the ability to steal your opponent’s cards) or simply use attacks you may have been collecting. Each player’s shield and health points are displayed beneath the character so you always know how much more damage is required to take down a foe. The enemy progression does not feel, well, progressive and sometimes the jump from an easy enemy to a difficult one can come suddenly.

Controls 7/10 – easy to use ‘click here’ control

The controls are simple, point and click. As a laptop user I found it much more useful to get out and use the mouse than the touchpad so if you are packing Runespell: Overture as a game to travel with, keep that in mind. Your click will be your ultimate device driving you from place to place on the map, interacting with the various quest giving characters, and helping you compile the very best poker hand for use in your combat battles.

Graphics 8/10 – lots of detailed artwork with a slight graphical hiccup on my Windows7 lenovo

Being an artist myself I always enjoy a good peek into the graphical development of a game. In Runespell: Overture the artwork is very well rendered. Characters,graphic elements, and environments were given the greatest of care.

Here you can see some of the concept art. I’m not sure if the concept are was so good it went to final or if our peek at the ‘concept’ art doesn’t include the thumbnails, sketches, and doodles every aspiring concept artist likes to see but regardless Mystic Box has done a great job with these renderings.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=104087

Unfortunately for some reason my laptop created some hiccups that took away from my experience in the game. With no current graphical requirements, at the beta stage, my advice would be to ensure that you check the requirements that are specified at launch to avoid the following problem:

Sound – 7/10 –appropriate sound effects and ‘epic’ style music.

The music and sound effects are well developed but be warned, loud. I lowered the computer’s levels and still found it to be a tad loud. While everything is appropriately fitting to the theme, environments, and overall schematic of the game I mainly played the game sans the music and enjoyed the sounds of the stacking cards, the achievement like sounds for creating an attack hand or using an ability card.

Key features:

1.Innovative Mythic Poker system using Poker/Yahtzee mechanics to battle your opponents
2. Unlock Power ups and special attacks available as collectable cards in the game
3. Combine your skills in short bursts of active play or long sessions of questing and battles
4. Defeat more than 30 monsters types each with a unique card set and attack style
5. Defeat enemies and make them your pets or allies
6. Unlock new battle locations through questing
7. Mix of beautiful hand painted backdrops and evocative 3d characters
8. A compelling and original story set in an alternate medieval Europe
9. Local leaderboard and achievements available (Online: Steam)

Overall

Runespell: Overture (RSO) is a Hybrid between RPG, Collectable Cards and Poker gameplay. By combining casual and core mechanics, RSO allows for short bursts of active play or long sessions of questing and battles. With a well-established and polished art style, epic music and sounds, and easy navigate quest and battle elements RSO is a fomidible addition to the genre of… well… a hybrid genre all of its own.

Runespell: Overture will be available on Steam starting July 20, 2011 at 10AM Pacific Time. The price for Runespell: Overture will be $9.99
In mainland Europe the price will be set to €8.99. In the United Kingdom players will pay £7.99.

“We hope these prices reflect the differences per currency best”, one of the producers of Mystic Box, Barry Hoffman, states.

Next to this Mystic Box will offer a further 10% discount during the first week after release. Still not sure? There will be a public demo available via Steam upon release of the game to allow potential players the chance to test the game before buying it.


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On The Road to Review

Currently On The Road to Review:

Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

Real-Time Grand-Strategy: a game genre that’s as complicated to say as it is to undertake but in the best possible way!

Paradox Interactive, a former division of Paradox Entertainment, are hitting 2011 hard with a HUGE list of releases. Among others you can expect to see Sword of the Stars II: The Lords of Winter, Pride of Nations, Salem, King Arthur II,  and this newly released title Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour is a stand-alone Hearts of Iron game featuring a mixture of short and in-depth campaigns set across the darkest chapters of the 20th century, from the outbreak of the Great War up to the onset of the Cold War.” -Paradox Interactive

And when they say “in-depth” they aren’t kidding. Granted, it has been many moons since I fully immersed myself in any type of real-time strategy game, let alone a GRAND strategy wargame like the one here, however all of the time eating action and addictive concepts are seeping their way back into my gaming limelight. There is a steep learning curve, for me, being satisfied here and therefore the review of this April release may be a while still to come.

Gameplay features in Darkest Hour include:

  • Short and grand campaigns allow players to experience the darkest hours of the 20th century, from the Great War to the onset of the Cold War
  • New map, redesigned to offer greater detail as well as strategic and tactical opportunities
  • Dynamic diplomatic system giving the player greater influence on the course of events
  • New artificial intelligence capable of reacting to hundreds of different situations
For reconnecting me with an otherwise neglected love of the RTS genre, Darkest Hour is On The Road to Review. Be on the look out for my full review in the, very vague but not to distant, future.
In the meantime check out the trailer OR, even better, pick up a copy for your self available via GamersgateAmazon, or Steam.
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