Reverse Crawl review
SG Gaming Info takes look at Nerdook’s Reverse Crawl, a fascinating turn-based RPG where you fight to take down the heroes that have conquered your land.
Reverse Crawl’s simplistic look hides a game that is entertaining, challenging and holds a lot of replay value. The game may not look as great as any AAA game, but I couldn’t help but be enthralled by the combat, story, and reward system.
The game’s story revolves around the Revenant King and his daughter the Princess. At the beginning of the game the King is killed by the army of the Red Queen, and so the Princess uses necromancy to bring her father back to life. From this point, they both flee the castle in search of minions that will help them take back the King’s land from the Red Queen. During each chapter of the game you are given a choice of three tasks to undertake and these tasks will help you recruit minions such dark elves, goblin and spiders, and also increase your and your minions’ powers. While you are outperforming tasks to gather minions, you must also defeat the various heroes the Red Queen has called to the land.
Now some people might not find that enthralling, but what makes it enthralling is the fact each task and each subsequent reward you choose (you have a choice of one of three rewards per chapter) has a chance to alter the game’s ending. You also have to be very careful when it comes to choosing tasks as the game is only 25 chapters long, which means you can only undertake 25 tasks, and from what I could see there are more than 25 tasks in the game. As I said Reverse Crawl is more complex than it first appears.
Now let’s discuss combat. Combat is your traditional turn-based hex movement combat. Combat take part in waves where you have to fight waves of groups until no groups remain, but this wave based fighting isn’t just for your enemies as each time a group of minions you control die you can summon a new group of minions, and like your enemy if you run out of groups you are defeated.
Groups and waves are an important part of the combat as each minion group are strong and weak against certain heroes, for example the group “Flesh and Bones”, which consists of zombies and skeletons are weak vs. Clerics but good vs. small groups (1-3). Also, each enemy wave is different so you have to be ready to think what minion group is best for the current wave and future waves. Groups also have an additional combat stat in the form of traits. Traits give minion groups buffs and debuffs, traits include unlucky – a loss in critical hit- and cursed – the first minion who dies becomes a skeleton -, if you happen to get a large selection of debuffs you have the option to reroll your trait choices.
Combat also has a selection of commands and threat abilities. Commands are minion specific special abilities such as guaranteeing your next attack will be a critical hit, but at the expense of a 40% miss chance. Threat abilities are universal abilities you can activate as you defeat heroes and wipe out groups; these abilities allow you to heal your minions, summon a specific minion or perform a free attack.
Before I finish talking about combat, I want to mention that there is no way to customize groups or swap an active minion group with another. While I can see why customising groups don’t exist I don’t understand why you can’t swap groups as there is nothing more frustrating watching a minion group come up against a wave of heroes they are weak against.
As you can tell from reading there is a lot to think about when playing Reverse Crawl, but while making choices that can alter the story might be considered the most challenging part for most, combat is in my opinion the toughest as you to learn to keep a track of what minion is best for fighting X heroes, should I gamble with a powerful yet costly command etc. what makes the combat even more of a challenge is the fact there is no way to alter the game’s difficulty level.
I think it is time to turn away from some of the good aspects of Reverse Crawl and look at some of the game’s issues. The most glaring issue with the game is its options menu. Now I don’t know if it is sparse because it was made in GameMaker: Studio, but the menu only allows you to turn sound, music, and full screen on or off. There are no sliders or aspect ratio choices. As options menus go it is a disappointment.
The game also has a major issue with certain abilities causing the game to crash, the ability, in particular, is called Lightning, and every time I attempted to use it would cause a code error, and the game would crash. This review is based off a pre-launch build, so this issue might not exist once the game is released. (I have been informed by the game’s publisher that the lightning bug has been fixed).
Before continuing any further, I want to mention the game’s developer Nerdook Productions. Before this game, I hadn’t heard of them. Upon reading the game’s credits I was surprised to find the game was developed by one person, Sim YC, and music and sound FX were licensed from Audio jungle. Learning the game was essentially created by one person did impress me.
Regarding the game’s audio and visual, music and sound FX chosen for the game were great, I particularly liked the melody played on task selection screen, and how sound FX helped clearly indicated the difference between a hit and a critical hit. For those curious about any voice work, there is none and the narrative is brought across via text.
Visually the game isn’t half bad. At first I wasn’t a fan of the avatars that appeared beside each character’s chat window, but the simplistic style grew on me. On the other hand the character models are gorgeous, they are simple yet effective.
Now before I draw my conclusion on the game I want to talk about the game’s length and replay value. For me, the game took four hours to complete, but I say it is possible to do it in less. However, the game has a lot of replay value with the above-mentioned branching storyline. So while the game can be completed in a few hours, you will be spending several more hours trying to find alternative endings. One final thing I need to mention is the fact the game has multiple game slots, so if you want to play the game again, but don’t want to lose your progress there is no problem. The game is good value with the game retailing on Steam for only $5.99 (at launch Reverse Crawl will have a 20% launch discount).
While Reverse Crawl appears to be a small simple RPG, the game’s simplistic appearance hides a challenging and entertaining game that has a lot of replay value.
+ Challenging combat
+ Branching storyline
+ Chapter rewards
+ Replay value
– Some actions cause the game to crash
– Barebones options menu
|Nerdook Productions||Digerati Distribution||RPG||N/A||PC||September 24th|
For more information on Reverse Crawl, visit http://nerdook-productions.com/.
Reverse Crawl is currently available for purchase via Steam.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.