A fun real-time strategy game, Shadow Heroes Vengeance in Flames, has a mix of gameplay and story telling. The story is set in a fantasy realm with warriors and magic. It contains battles that can progress quickly. Therefore, players must build their armies to respond to the increasing waves of enemy attacks. When a battle is lost the scenario begins again. It’s a game devoted to defending your home from the terrorists and protecting against magic.
The Characters are drawn in an anime style with a visual novel appeal. We have our two main characters a new garrison Captain that came to lead the military against the andras, terrorists that use magic. Under the Captain is a Sergeant who is in command of the units but also a guide, instructing players in gameplay tactics. Each new chapter takes place at a different location in the city of Faircrown and else where.
The first chapter starts with your army defending the garrison and leads into a battle within Faircrown to defeat the andras forces. Each new chapter begins with a dialogue between the Captain and Sergeant detailing the events and telling the story. I found the storytelling between battles important in knowing more about the enemy and the background to the fighting. It also gives tips on how to defeat the enemies and the importance of the specific units. Players are fighting against magical beings with units that gain abilities as the game progresses. These abilities are bought and assigned to individual units.
One of the things I found useful are the instructions given early in the game. They teach you how to place units, how to group units, and assigning active and passive equipment to units. These items provide bonuses to your units’ stats depending on whether they are selected, active, or used automatically if the units are attacked, passive. We also learn the strengths of each type of unit.
Players will start out with hunters and exorcists. Hunters are ranged units that are kept back to support the exorcists. The exorcists are the melee units and are kept in the forward position to deal damage from close range and keep the enemy from reaching its goal. As the game continues players get new types of units that will add different abilities to your army.
Units can be moved to different locations and players can sell units for different ones. To get more units players need to increase their leadership. Leadership increases as enemies are destroyed and lost when defeated. Defeating enemies takes strategy and paying attention to the tutorials. Within the chapters enemies come in waves. The first waves are slower and give players time to build up their forces. As the waves progress they become timed and units must be placed, grouped, and assigned items quickly. The first chapters give a tutorial on how to use your units and abilities, but it is up to the player to find what works for them in the later waves.
I found the game straight forward and easy to get started. However, it wasn’t easy to move the camera around the map to different locations. Clicking in a location box in the inset was the best way of moving the camera to see units and where they need to be placed.
As far real time strategy games go, it is a decent game with a simple gameplay style. The gameplay is good and it is easy to place troops. Players get to upgrade their units and once farther into the game more unit types become available. Being able to add items to increase units’ stats is good along with the ability to select multiple units and equip items to them as a group. The groups can also be made active to fight enemy waves. Another good aspect of the gameplay was the progression from an objective to timed waves, to just keeping your units alive as waves of enemies attack. In essence it is a simple yet challenging game with the players customizing their units and preparing them for the enemy’s assaults. It is also an objective based gameplay and we are told of our objectives after each wave.
The first chapter was to survive ten waves and the second was to survive the waves of enemies but also destroy a bridge. Though it may have a straight forward feel it is still a challenging game. Reaching the goals can mean replaying the chapter again if defeated, so strategy and understanding your units abilities is paramount.
Another aspect of the game that makes it worth playing is the art and dialogue. The scenes, characters, and units are done as anime characters. Unlike other RTS games this one has a decent story and it is told as dialogue between main characters. At times it almost feels like a visual novel with character interaction and story followed by the gameplay. The characters are stationary figures with no real animations. However, the battles are depicted as little units battling each other as with other RTS games.
Good visuals, a challenging but simple gameplay, and a fantasy story with magic makes this a great real time strategy game to play with the AI or with friends. Players get a choice of single player or multiplayer gameplay. I recommend players who like RTS games, fantasy stories, and anime to play Shadow Heroes: Vengeance in Flames. There is a little something for all players, but it is a good game for those wanting a challenging RTS, which increases in difficulty within a single chapter of gameplay.