Armello (Xbox One) Review

By Shane Jury 02.10.2016

Review for Armello on Xbox One

Few areas of the gaming industry are as cut-throat and divided in opinion as the mobile and tablet sector. Many skeptics hold the view that games made for these devices are not truly games and detract from dedicated machines, whilst others see them as harmless timewasters. Regardless of view, it is difficult to deny or ignore the rise and financial success of this approach to selling games, and many acclaimed titles from this venture make their way to dedicated devices regardless. One such case is Armello, a humble title beginning life as an iOS project, before receiving Kickstarter and Australian government funding to bring it to other tablet brands and Steam, as well as an eventual port to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Does this medieval strategy game have what it takes to usurp the throne of its genre, or does it fall upon its own sword?

Armello's lesser plotline benefits the genre style in that it has a clean outline, objective, and destination. Set in the fairy tale world of Armello, the king of the land falls afoul of a deadly contagious condition known as the Rot that maddens and eventually takes the life of its host. Factions across the land seek to replace or help the king and each send a representative to the palace in an attempt to do so. What emerges is a turn-based strategy game reliant on moves, currency and item building, and luck of the dice roll.

After a stylishly animated introduction movie, the game presents a single-player option that is guided carefully though a number of tutorial sections, with each clearly outlining the rules and procedures of Armello, and a backup Game Guide section if the instructions aren't too clear. Each match contains four representatives from a selection of eight, and a number of accessories and amulets to choose from with more unlocked as rounds are played.

Armello's gameplay system is complex at first glance, and still so even when the rules are adapted to, but hugely satisfying after a victory. The flexibility offered in allowing victory in one of half a dozen ways other than merely taking down the king in combat yields unpredictable matches. One character might seek to build up prestige levels enough to dictate the rules upon each round and wait out the king's demise to the Rot. Another might seek out the four Spirit Stones that randomly appear across the map and cure the king instead, thereby gaining his throne through a peaceful resolution. A corrupted character with enough Rot of their own might choose to overthrow the monarchy with stronger corruption. With a number of hazards and events happening across the map at any one time, including creatures that award prestige when slain, decrees that help or hinder certain players when used, and battles with the King's Guard when a bounty is placed, there is no danger of attention loss regardless of the turn-based nature of the game.

Screenshot for Armello on Xbox One

When a battle is initiated between representatives or foes, a grid with attack and defence values appear, and depending on the current equipment and inventory of both combatants, a roll of numerous dice happens that determines damage given and taken in turn. When the life points of a representative drop to zero, they lose prestige and gold, and respawn on their starting grid, whereas a creature or King's Guard will disappear altogether.

Affecting the outcomes of battles and adding to the hazards of the map is the card system, with each player being given a number of cards each turn to use, depending on their coin amounts. These cards vary in effect, some of which can be equipped and used in battle, or aid in avoiding traps and hazards on the map, to laying out their very own for others to stumble into. It is through this system that a cunning strategist will need to fully utilise in order to breach the Palace Hazards and reach the king.

Armello can be daunting to those unfamiliar to or not very seasoned in strategy games, but the well-paced tutorial section and helpful reference guides are pivotal in discovering a tightly crafted experience, complete with solid, if unremarkable, visuals and a soothing score. The reliance in online multiplayer for extra players will likely diminish the longevity of purchasers seeking a more isolated affair, but the card collection and mandatory achievements hunt grants a solid amount of time venturing in Armello's medieval lands.

Screenshot for Armello on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Developer League of Geeks has succeeded in crafting a solid board game experience in video game form, albeit one that lacks environment diversity and player company. Armello ticks all the right boxes for a keen strategist, and whilst not being the group gathering experience some might hope for, does give a tightly woven system and narrative that is satisfying to conquer.

Developer

League of Geeks

Publisher

League of Geeks

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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