Strategy made simple
"I find myself wondering what the world must have been like before the bear crashed into our frail planet, transforming all we once knew into a colorful kaleidoscope of delicious chaos--and I love...it." That bizarre line (PLEASE watch the amazing video below) is the first thing you hear upon loading up the next game from The Behemoth, developer of Castle Crashers and Battleblock Theater. Codenamed "Game 4", this project is a cooperative turn-based strategy game (think XCOM, Advance Wars, or Fire Emblem) that places an emphasis on simplicity, strategy, and poop jokes rather than bloated stats and micromanagement. Challenging? Definitely. Hilarious? Oh God, yes.
After a world-altering catastrophe in which a spacefaring bear collides with your planet, you and your team of AI or player-controlled pals must fight in strategic battles to the death if you are to survive. During my demo, the first character I'm introduced to is Horatio, a dude with a sword and shield. Much of Game 4's simplicity comes from its visually logical gameplay. Thanks to his giant shield, Horatio has a high chance of blocking incoming ranged attacks from enemies, whether they shoot at him with bows and arrows or uzis (don't ask; Game 4 has a thing for time travel). The point is: shields block projectiles; armor reduces damage from sword attacks, but not mace attacks, etc. All of the systems in place are easy to comprehend.
That's not to say the game doesn't have any depth, or that encounters are a walk in the park--you still level up your characters, equip them with various pieces of power-enhancing gear, and send them into battle against robots, cute but deadly mushroom things, and tons of other enemy types. The focus is really on the moment-to-moment gameplay rather than the after-battle stat management, which makes Game 4 far more accessible than some of its contemporaries. Best of all, you never have to play alone if you don't want to: you can invite a couple of friends along for the ride, and each player controls a party of three characters in battle, and the strength and number of enemies scales with the number of players. And, as is the case with all games from The Behemoth, it's impossible to play more than a few minutes of Game 4 without laughing your ass off--no one does bizarre, unexpected humor quite like this team, and their latest project is no exception.
Click through the following slides for more Game 4 images and info.