Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DEMO: Hoard (Steam: Windows/Mac)

Hoard for Steam (Windows/Mac)

Genre: RTS/Action
Full Game Price: $9.99
No. of Players: 1-4

In 5 words: flying, firebreathing, burninating, genuine fun

So there I was, cruising through the list of Steam demos when I see this Hoard game and I click through. A wonderful concept: instead of playing the shining hero, you play the firebreather, building your hoard and being an all around menace to society. I downloaded this demo last Friday and I've been itching to play it ever since.

In Hoard, your life as a dragon is hard, you're misunderstood. They tried you for arson (in response, you burned the court down) and signed you up for a reality show about how your possessions possess you (in response, you said "Mine!"), and yet your thirst for gold rivals that of Glenn Beck. You're incorrigible.

Hoard is a fast-paced, cartoony action strategy game that feels a little like a tabletop game and a lot like an arcade game. Hoard is more like Trogdor than Smaug in that it takes itself very unseriously and is quite lighthearted. The gameplay is complex, but not overly so: controls are easy to get the hang of, and you can use a keyboard and mouse or gamepad. As you hoard more and more gold, you have the opportunity to upgrade your armor, firebreath, speed, and carrying capacity. Upgrading is highly recommended because all around you, the towns, castles, archers, knights and even the princesses are upgrading. Don't believe me? Look down here:

Yes, even the princesses level up.

Making good strategic and tactical decisions on the fly is a necessary skill for success in Hoard. You have a variety of targets to choose from (buildings, carts, puny humans) and defensive duties as well (both thieves and other dragons can steal from your hoard). Finding a good balance is key and the best strategies are not always obvious. For example, instead of burning a city to the ground, you can inspire such fear in said city that they pay you ransom; or instead of killing a knight, you could allow him to rescue a princess so he becomes a hero and gives you more gold when you roast him later. Each decision has its pros and cons and allows for a multitude of strategies and varied gameplay.

To top it all off, there's both co-op and competitive multiplayer and achievements to keep things interesting. The only small gripe I have about the game is the music. It's a little on the cheesy side, but tolerable, I guess. All things considered, Hoard appears to be a great game at a great price. I highly recommend this demo.

Demo Gamer Stats:
Age range: 6+
Demo length: 20-30 minutes
Demo worth playing? You bet your burninator.
Full game worth buying? Pretty sure on this one. Thank goodness there's a good demo to help you decide!

Have you gotten your Hoard on? Agree/disagree with my take? Sound off in the comments!

--Demo Gamer

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