On the surface, “Alchemic Jousts” is a very colorful, cartoony affair, I was looking forward to playing a nice, easy-going, tower defense game. I’m not very good at them so this looked right up my alley. How wrong was I! Underneath the surface, “Alchemic Jousts” is a demanding game that requires your full concentration.
The game consists of two opposing castles, you versus an enemy. And this world just ain’t big enough for the both of you, so it’s up to you to destroy your opponent before they do the same to you. To achieve this you have an arsenal of elemental creatures at your disposal. You send your “adorable” and “cute” little minions off towards the enemy castle to chip away at its health. Sure, that may sound like a walk in the park, but unfortunately (as you’ve probably guessed) the enemy are doing exactly the same. This is where the strategy comes in, can you think far enough ahead of your enemy to outwit them and breach their defenses?
The mechanics of confrontations are settled with a simple rock-paper-scissors (earth beats water, fire beats earth, water beats fire). Again, that sounds easy, right? Well, this is where the Alchemy bit comes in from the title. You can combine elements, much like Doodle God (and other combining games), to create over 180 new skills to give you the advantage in battle, impressive!
In each battle, sending out an element locks out the other options for a short amount of time, so you have to find the balance between offence and defense. Many times I went steaming in, trying to knock out the enemy straight away, only to find that I’d left myself defenseless and failure quickly followed. You have to outsmart your opponent in order to create the openings needed to finish them off.
“Alchemic Jousts” includes a number of different modes, each providing a distinct twist on the base Deathmatch mode. The “Endless Mode” tests your defenses as an invincible enemy sends wave after wave of attacks, and it’s up to you to see how long you can survive. While “Attack Mode” gives your castle invincibility so that you can focus on getting hits from your minions, see how many hits you can score before the timer runs out.
“Alchemic Jousts” has a lot to offer, even though the game seems to be a rather simple package. There’s a huge number of levels, each getting more difficult as you progress and each offering an easy, medium or hard route through. I started out on easy and, well, found it very easy, but it was a great way to try out different combinations. I moved up to medium and found a suitable level of challenge, and the game was still enjoyable. However, I really had to start to think about my moves. It was on hard that the game became frustrating, too frustrating. As the AI felt practically invincible, that’s also why I failed in the blink of an eye. I tried different tactics and still came up short. That may be, in part, to my level of skill, but it just felt extremely unforgiving.
In overall “Alchemic Jousts” is a fun game to play. However, like most tower defense games, only in short bursts. Despite the different game modes, they’re all essentially the same at heart and this can become tiresome quite quickly. Had I paid full price for this game I’d have been disappointed, but if you can pick it up cheaper, then go for it (like now, for example, as the game has a 50% price cut on Steam at the moment). On a personal level, I found myself coming back to it on several occasions for another quick blast. Even so, I just never felt fully satisfied with the amount of content on offer. Furthermore, the game looks beautiful and sounds great too.
+ Loads of combinations and skills to unlock
+ Colourful cartoony graphics
+ More in-depth than it looks at first glance
– Very frustrating on hard
– Becomes repetitive very quickly
– Lacking for the price
Replay value: 3/5
In overall Alchemic Jousts is a fun game to play. However, like most tower defense games, only in short bursts. I would also like to point out that hadn’t it been for the low price, then I would have given “Alchemic Jousts” a 2/5 score.
Title: Alchemic Jousts
Developer: Lunatic Pixels
Genre: Strategy – Tower Defense
Release date: 2016-12-13
Spent time: 18 Hours
Average grade internationally: 65% Metacritic.com (PS4 version)
PEGI age rating: 3+
Price: 9,10 USD via Kinguin (PC)
Install Size: 1GB
Robin Ek – Editor
We (TGG) are a part of the Kinguin family, and we may receive a profit cut out of your purchase via the Kinguin links in this review.
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