Fantasy strategy RPGs are usually very tense, straight-laced, somber affairs. The kingdom is always about to be overwhelmed byorcs, skeletons, or demons,and the only way to avertdisaster is by tactically maneuveringyour gallant knights, gnarled mages, and tragically fragile archers around a bloody battlefield like a chessmaster. Highborn recreates this dramatic tension well, but delivers its story with the spirit of a stand-up comedian. If you like a little wakka-wakka in your wargames, Highborn was made for you.
For example, one of the earlymissions finds a soldierrecycling Sallah's"Verydangerous. You go first"jokefrom Raiders of the Lost Ark. And when righteous, obliviously dense lead knight Archie (think Deathspank or The Tick) rhetorically ask a level boss, "How many of your brood must I slay before you show yourself?" she deadpans back, "Just the four." Granted, you're more likely to find yourself simply smiling at the game's personality than doubled over in hysterical laughter, but it sure beats the usual po-faced "thou must slayeth the dragon lest the entire kingdom be rent asunder" melodrama.
The gameplay itself isn't bad, either. It's traditional turn-based strategy fare, but added touches like monoliths that grant added magical spells andfireball-launching wizard towers that can becommandeered mid-battle help keep things fresh. There's also an HD iPad version (see the bottom screen below) for folks whoprefer their portable gaming jumbo-sized.
Sept 24, 2010