Hinterland review

  • Diablo plus city building
  • Makes time fly
  • Does something different
  • Simplistic combat and economy
  • You're at whim of randomness
  • Terrible interface

Buy Hinterland and it’s just as likely you’ll walk away complaining that the score should have been doubled or halved. For a game with such a simple premise – Diablo, but you build the town as well as saving it – it’s surprisingly tough to grasp exactly what it is.

It feels like a casual game, with its simplistic combat and economic model, but there’s more to it – and the games are longer – than this would imply. You rarely feel like you’re getting your hands dirty with strategy and tactics, or in many cases, like you’re making any real decisions at all. And then just when you’re thinking that, one of your mistakes doesn’t just come back to haunt you, but snaps your spine in half and uses it as a loofah. Five minutes later you’ll find yourself at the whim of random dice rolls. Nghhh.

In short, Hinterland is a pain in the hind-quarters. Not a bad game – that’s a different thing entirely. It’s simply that the more you pay attention to specific game mechanics, the more they’re going to irritate. Distance yourself to the point that you can just roll with the punches and it quickly becomes one of those games where you glance up at the clock and realize you’ve yet again been sucked through a time portal to 2am.

What’s not in question is that Hinterland is rough around the edges. It feels like the work of a ‘proper’ strategy designer sitting down to make a casual game – suffering from poor feedback and a terrible interface that can’t decide between juggling and keeping things simple. The random elements keep each game somewhat fresh (ignoring the fact that you’re always conquering the same basic field), but at the cost of distancing your success from your achievements.

It’s not our cup of tea and that’s about as specific as we can get. You can find games that do all this stuff better, just not usually in the same box. That makes Hinterland interesting, if of fairly niche interest past the first couple of Game Over screens.

Hinterland is available through download from steam.

Nov 7, 2008

More Info

Release date: Sep 30 2008 - PC (US)
Sep 30 2008 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Tilted Mill Entertainment
Developed by: Tilted Mill Entertainment
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood


  • jimsondanet - November 8, 2008 12:38 p.m.

    its always the way init? revolutionary concept rubbish gameplay dud
  • Caddelin - November 9, 2008 5:27 a.m.

    With all due respect to Alec Meer, but this is probably one of the worst written reviews I have ever read. It simply doesn´t explain anything about the game, ans leaves everyone wondering the reasons of the criticism. Just a few examples of how confusing it is: 1) it is simple, but complex (third and fourth line), 2) it feels casual, but it is kinda hardcore (second paragraph); 3) it is not bad, it is something entirely differente (a grade 6 game apparently - thrid paragraph); 4) it is a casual game done by a "proper" strategist (go figure it out what he meant by that - fourth paragraph); 5) there are gamed that do everythin Hinterland does, but better - no, don´t expect the reviews to explian exactly what Hinterland does, and what games do it better (last paragraph). It seems thta the writer simply didn´t know what to say about the game, but decided to write anyway. That´s something my little sister can do as well, and it won´t make it a review. So, instead of writing five paragraphs just saying that you didn´t quite get the idea of the game, the time and space would have been better spent if they were dedicated to explain how exactly the game works, its interface, its objectives and limits. As it is, it is worthless as a review.
  • DaFencngHobo - November 11, 2008 4:40 a.m.

    I just created this account today. I made it so I could complain about this review. I totally agree with the guy above me. This is truly the worst review I have read in my entire life. Enough said.
  • Yazleb - November 13, 2008 2:27 a.m.

    "a PC Gamer US writer wouldn't produce such a vague review." Damn Straight!
  • blammm - November 19, 2008 4:49 p.m.

    His vague review is actually pretty good for this game. It leaves you with a very vague, incoherent feeling.. because the game is similarly vague and incoherent. Like he says there are other games that do all the things that Hinterland does better, but not all together. Hinterland has the possibility of being a great game.. but it isn't. Honestly it feels like an alpha version of a to-be-made great game. Maybe if Hinterland 2 comes out we will see something great.
  • Yazleb - November 11, 2008 6:21 a.m.

    DafencngHobo and Caddelin, I also just created an account for this site b/c I was also inspired to comment on this review. PLEASE give the Author a demerit and seriously make sure he understands that his writing skills are sub-par. This is without a doubt THE worst review on the internet I have ever read. Gamesradar is known for its comedic editorials, but we Expect reviews to be taken Seriously, come on people! PS: I do own the game, I think it deserves any where from a 6 to a 7 1/2-ish, so no qualms with the score.
  • magicwalnuts0 - November 13, 2008 12:48 a.m.

    Yeah, I thought reviews were supposed to tell us what the game is about and whats bad and whats good about it. Not whats bad and whats good about it with no context whatsoever, a PC Gamer US writer wouldn't produce such a vague review.
  • Crashman - November 16, 2008 9:31 p.m.

    This review had me confused from the very first sentence: "Buy Hinterland and it’s just as likely you’ll walk away complaining that the score should have been doubled or halved." First of all, "just as likely" as what? Second, are you saying that if we buy the game we will think you should have given the game a 12 or a 3? This is just as confusing as the King's Bounty review.

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