It was only last week that I got the chance to review 8-Bit Armies which had just been released across consoles by SOEDESCO. 8-Bit Hordes is the second title (by release date) within Petroglyph’s 8-Bit releases on Steam to now come to consoles being released on the 1st February and follows the same RTS traits of its predecessor.
I personally loved the simplicity of Armies and how easy it was to pick up and play with a simple tutorial you are straight into the action. Hordes follows the same principle. The thing is, once you have mastered the first game you’d think that this would be the same. Well, Petroglyph have made some changes. Nothing major as such, but the ‘tweaks’ that are in there are noticeable enough to add some extra time challenge within the game. For instance, you can now create loads of mining carts to collect resources rather than just a couple in Armies as well as upgrading your HQ which was missing before.
Apparently, Hordes was supposed to be a DLC for Armies when they released back in 2016, but it ended up being so much of a difference to that game Petroglyph decided to release as a separate title and would make the second game in a trilogy of releases (Invaders releases later in February across consoles). Once again you can control two factions; The
Light-Bringers and the Death-sworn but in comparison [and I’ll probably do this a lot] the maps come across as more detailed than Armies. We still have the blocky 8-bit graphics which are still great, but there is more use of vegetation and buildings within this build.
Sticking to the tried and tested formula of mixing up combat action and base management we have a game that offers players 24 missions (12 from each faction), a co-op campaign with another 12 missions and online multiplayer. Again there is no story within the game, but again, you don’t need one when you’re having so much fun playing. Its the simplicity of the game that makes it really fun sending Hordes of fighters into battle is a little too satisfying. That being said, it does feel like the enemy AI is much more hell bent on exacting revenge than in Armies. You will lose a lot more fighters than previously and the enemy seems to rebuild structures faster than before dragging the battles out for a longer period of time.
Given that it is set in a time of dragons and knights your infantry options are quite fun. You don’t really have the ease of being able to attack from a distance and do have to go hand to hand against the enemy and their buildings which is the reason you will lose a lot more of your warriors so creating a lot of mining carts at the start is needed to pull in the currency needed to create more of your army. What I do like however is that rather than being limited to 100 members of your army, you have to build farms in order to raise your army capacity. The more you build, the larger your horde will be to send into battle; something that was missing within Armies. However, with Armies you didn’t really need to create over 100 killers as you could deal with the enemy easily on that number. Its impossible to go into battle with a mere handful of warriors in this game and come out victorious. I feel a lot more thought has gone into building this title and how you need to strengthen certain aspects of your team rather than just rush straight in which you could do in Armies.
These games have finally revived the easily accessible RTS games. One that anyone can pick up and have fun playing without being overwhelmed by all the different things you have to do to construct buildings and then create vehicles and soldiers and Hordes takes the concept of Armies and progresses it enough to be a different breed yet manages to stay true to its roots. The graphics again are fun and do look lovely. The soundtrack is beautiful yet powerful as a modern sympathy which incorporates pieces of 8-bit music from days gone by. I can’t wait for the release of Invaders, the final part of the trilogy, but that being said these games have been around for a few years now on Steam. I would love for Petroglyph to get back in the studio and create a new game in the same style as these and release all formats at the same time. I’ve now played 2 games within the series and haven’t been able to fault either on anything that they have brought to us gamers.
I think from my previous statement my score is obvious. Once again I have to give this title a solid 10/10. I’m addicted to these games. They’re so easy to pick up and play, but to truly master them is another matter, but you don’t need to be a ‘Gaming God’ to be able to kick back and kick ass.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were kindly provided with a review copy of the game by SOEDESCO. This has in no way influenced my views or opinions of the game**