Reverse Crawl
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Nerdook once again impresses with a title that delivers turn-based strategy in an engaging, humorous and very accessible manner. The visuals are charming, the gameplay addictive and although short, there are enough reasons to replay the game a couple of times. Anyone looking for a turn-based strategy title that can be enjoyed without a degree in military tactics should definitely add Reverse Crawl to their library.

Gameplay: Easy to play, but with enough depth to keep it interesting right to the end.

Graphics: Features the typical charming Nerdook visual style.

Sound: No voice acting, but the music is pleasant enough

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
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Reverse Crawl

Developer: Nerdook Productions | Publisher: Digerati Distribution | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Indie / RPG / Strategy | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Skeletons, zombies, rats, dark elves, wraiths and goblins are no strangers to games, but usually they are on the receiving end of our attacks. However, in Reverse Crawl it is your job to recruit these unsavory types, and many others, to your cause in a quest for revenge. The target of your ire is the Red Queen, who showed up and slew the ruler of the kingdom. As luck would have it, the king’s daughter has a fondness for necromancy and brought back her father as a revenant. The Red Queen is no push-over though, and has a small army of heroes who are all willing to send the revenant king back to the grave for good.

Reverse Crawl is the latest title from one-man indie outfit, Nerdook, to hit Steam after his previous hit Vertical Drop Heroes HD. Reverse Crawl features the same unique art style, but favors turn based strategy over platform based action. The game is spread across 25 chapters where you square off against enemies in combat. The game features a branching storyline with three different endings, so while a single playthrough will only take about three hours you’ll have to complete the game multiple times to experience everything it has to offer. Fortunately, the game is addictive enough that this is something that fans of the genre will love doing and unlocking the endless- as well as “new game+” modes make it even more fun.

The cute visuals might lull you into thinking that Reverse Crawl is a casual experience, but the game packs plenty of strategic depth. In addition to the missions that advance the storyline you are often also presented with a choice of three different side missions. Each typically offers something that can help you, be it a new group of monsters or new spell, but you can only choose one. This boosts the replay value even further and forces you to make strategic decisions based on your own playing style. Each mission pits you against a certain amount of enemy waves and you need to carefully choose which of your groups to send into battle. For example, sending in your undead against clerics is clearly a bad idea and slow moving monsters will probably be killed by ranged attackers before they get the chance to do any damage. Since some units are naturally stronger or weaker against other types of units the fights are always interesting.

Your groups can consist of units with melee, ranged or magical attacks, while you can also use spells and abilities from the sidelines. These spells require a resource called “Threat” which is generated by defeating foes as well as the appearance of new units. This means that using some of the more powerful spells require you to hold back on casting anything else in order to build up enough threat. The hex grid on which battles take place are rather small, so you are guaranteed to get to the action very quickly and there is no place to hide. Enemies can be flanked for extra damage during attacks and status effects like poison and burning can also quickly change the tide of battle. Eventually you can even summon traps to the battlefield or encounter treasure chests that can bestow advantages to whichever unit opens them. The gameplay is centered purely on the tactical battles, so there is no exploration or interaction with other characters apart from during cut-scenes, but this doesn’t detract from the experience.

Emerging victorious from battle rewards you with ability points that can then be pushed into categories such as necromancy, saboteur, warlord, marksman, magus and beastmaster. Once again, it is impossible to max out everything during your playthrough, so you will have to choose which ones fits your playing style the best. Saboteur centers on sabotaging your enemies health and power while marksman bolsters the abilities of your ranged units and so forth. Some missions also present you with three different rewards from which to choose one new unit, ability or upgrade while missing out on the rest. When selecting which group of units to send into battle you will also notice that some of them are assigned random traits. These traits can be either positive or negative, with new ones unlocked by completing certain missions.

Since the art, coding and animation is all done by one person, the game doesn’t exactly look cutting edge, but definitely captures the same charm that fans of Nerdook will already be familiar with. Character and enemy designs are very cute, which gives the game a lighthearted look despite the rather dark storyline. It is all a matter of taste though, as some players might not enjoy the Flash style 2D visuals. The same goes for the audio, which is pleasant enough, but not exactly catchy. The mouse driven interface is very easy to use though, and everything is clearly explained. This means that the game is quite accessible and even people who are new to the genre should have little trouble getting into the swing of things.

Overall, Reverse Crawl is a blast to play and although short offers plenty of replay value. It doesn’t have much in the way of visual or audio options, but when it comes to gameplay the game is hard to fault. The developer has also hinted at adding new content to the game, so value for money is certainly not an issue. Making the wrong choices can increase the difficulty of the game somewhat, but overall it is easy and accessible enough to remain entertaining without veering towards frustrating. Hardcore strategy fans might find it somewhat simplistic despite its depth, but there is certainly plenty to like about Reverse Crawl.

*Review based on Reverse Crawl Update v1.0.0.3

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: Processor 2 GHz (Dual Core)
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 compatible 3D graphics card with 256 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • OS: Windows Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: Processor 2 GHz (Dual Core)
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 compatible 3D graphics card with 512 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • OS: OS X 10.7.0 or later
  • Processor: Processor: 2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 256 MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL-compatible sound card
  • OS: OS X 10.7.0 or later
  • Processor: Processor: 2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 256 MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 50 MB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL-compatible sound card

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