18th May2017

‘Antihero’ First Access Preview (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

antihero-Key-Art

Sometimes it is feels good to be bad, and Antihero is all about being bad. A turn-based multiplayer strategy game it gives you the task of taking over the streets and becoming a master villain. That is of course unless your opponent does it first. To dominate the game map, you need to hire street urchins, gangs, and other evil doers to help you get the job done. The way to win is to bribe, blackmail, steal and assassinate your way to the top. This of course is harder said than done with your opponent’s gaining ground and many times being a lot better than you.

I played most of my games using the AI opponents, and this was to get a good feel of the game. Antihero is quite punishing in the level of skill required but there is a good tutorial already in place to give you a hand with the basics and let you know what you need to do. What the main part of the game entails is to scout out the map, take over buildings and build up your criminal empire. This is the job of the Master Thief who not only reveals the map, but enters buildings to find any loot and help you build up cash.

While the Master Thief is busy doing this you also need urchins who can take over buildings for you. This is achieved by putting three of the little blighters in there and they will then provide resources for your growing empire. You’ll also need a gang of thugs to provide the muscle. If you are not careful though all these good plans can be thwarted by your opponent who is doing the same thing as you, and in most cases doing a better job.

There are tricks to keeping your buildings from being taken over by your opponent’s urchins, and this is to lay traps. In early games, though when you are not so aware of these many times you’ll find that the opponent lays their own traps and you’ll start to lose turns and inevitably the game itself. The key is to learn the mechanics of the game and what works best to gain dominance.

What really catches my eye in Antihero is the graphics and sound design. The Victorian setting of the game allows for a Dickensian feel to the cartoonish graphics, and this is especially the case with the urchins who are sure to pick many pockets. The music as well is a fitting background for the sounds of battles and assassinations taking place on the map. It all adds up to a charm that really makes the game feel like light-hearted fun (in a cutthroat kind of way).

With Antihero not being released fully until July on Steam, the release is still sometime away and there will be improvements to the game. It can be bought now on “First Access” on Itch.io though if you can’t wait until July. What this gives you is an Early Access version of the game that is being updated all the time. It is well worth a look if you can’t wait until the full release.

While I’m not the biggest fan of turn-based multiplayer strategy games I did find Antihero to be fun. There is some way to go to the full release so it will be interesting to see what the final version will play like. With promised story modes and more maps to come, Antihero is a game that is definitely worth looking out for on release.

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