Highborn is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Highborn Review

The App Store is already loaded with great strategy titles, and Highborn is a new contender in the fight. Highborn is a fantasy-themed turn-based strategy game full of wizards, dwarves, and skeletons. It’s a charming title with a good sense of humor and fun gameplay, but it still needs some tweaking.

You begin your quest as the Paladin Archie, a cocky warrior who lives to bask in the glow of his own self-worth. Along with Archie, you’ll command the order of Highborn into battle against the forces of Decay, an army of undead minions who serve the Arch Lich. The story is light and silly, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Figuratively speaking, the combat in Highborn is a double-edged sword. The battles are turn-based and feature large maps that you traverse while laying the fantasy smack down. During your turn you place your units, engage in battles, and capture landmarks such as Monasteries that will instantly recruit a Monk unit who can heal your squad.

I think I’ll move away from the demon with no pupils.

But those of you looking for a deep management system will want to look elsewhere. Unlike most strategy titles, Highborn doesn’t focus on tedious resource management. If you capture a town or tower, you are granted a new combat unit such as a mage or dwarf. However, you can’t upgrade your units. You can also capture towers and fortresses that will in turn grant you attack support if you’re in range.

Each unit has unique stats, movement ranges, and attack animations. Capturing Monoliths grants you magic spells, such as Physical Boost, which makes your units tougher. One somewhat major fault is that after choosing a unit’s movement, you can’t reverse it. This can and does lead to aggravating moments, like if you accidentally select the wrong place on the map and your units get walloped.

I have a bone to pick with you.

Visually, Highborn satisfies with a fun, over-the-top art style and combat animations. After you choose to attack an enemy unit, you’re treated to combat cutscenes that vary based on combat conditions. Sadly, these cut-scenes become bothersome due to slow loading, and currently there is no option to turn off the animations. The scenes are charming, but break up the flow of gameplay.

Highborn also features a multiplayer mode, but it’s limited to your Facebook friends. Hopefully, an update will allow network play with strangers.

Highborn is a fun title that does a lot of things right, but it could use some work. There is a lot of potential here for a successful series of games, and we hope to see some of our issues addressed in an update. Until then, we can’t totally recommend it.

Highborn now available on the App Store

Highborn, the hilarious turn-based strategy game we previewed a couple of weeks ago, has just turned up on the App Store. You can buy it here for $2.99.

The game takes place in a medieval fantasy setting, with knights, dwarves, and wizards populating the cast of characters. Some games that use this setting take themselves very seriously, but Highborn does quite the opposite. It has great dialogue, gorgeous art, and well-balanced gameplay. We’ll have a full review soon, but if you’re considering buying it, we can say that we enjoyed the heck out of our time with the preview build.

Highborn Hands-On Preview, with Video

We recently got our hands on a preview version of Highborn, an upcoming turn-based strategy title from Jet Set Games. After giving a few maps a spin, we can report that the game positively drips with personality, and we’re really looking forward to playing the final version. Read on for the details.

In Highborn you command an army, lead by Archie, a blond, musclebound knight who’s as confident as he is clueless. You set out across a series of maps to destroy the evil forces of Decay by advancing and attacking the vermin one turn at a time. It’s as if Advance Wars was transported to a tongue-in-cheek fantasy world.

Before doing anything on each level, you’ll thumb through some very witty dialogue between your hero character and the boss of the map that lets you in on your objectives for winning. In the first map we played, the goals were to capture two monoliths and a monastery, and then defeat the wretched minotaur, who only appeared after figuring out what to do with his kids, who were accompanying him on bring-your-child-to-work day.

The maps are set up on a brick-like grid that your troops can traverse according to their movement range. You’ll also encounter different types of terrain that affect how your troops can advance. Forests slow down your movement but keep you hidden from far-away enemies, while streams can’t be crossed by land-based troops unless they have a boat.

When your troops come within range, you can initiate combat with enemies. The actual fighting is a hands-off affair, as your troops will attack, killing off a certain number of enemies, and then the remaining bad guys will attack you. After combat, you’re booted back to the map to continue your turn.

Since Highborn takes place in a fantasy setting, magic plays a big part in the combat. You learn spells primarily by capturing monoliths, so it’s a good idea to target those first if you have a choice of where to go on a map. Once you initiate combat, the first thing you’ll be asked is if you’d like to use a spell. Spells give you an advantage because they’re cast before the rest of the fighting occurs, although you’ll have to wait out the spell’s cool-down period before using it again.

The one thing we weren’t crazy about were the graphics during combat. Instead of sticking with the gorgeous hand-drawn art that makes up the rest of the game, the developers opted to use 3D polygonal graphics for the fighting screens. The polygons are jagged and lacking in detail (think early PS1 games), and we thought they looked out of place in an otherwise great-looking game.

Another strong point of Highborn is the variety of units available, including knights, archers, dwarves, catapults, and mad wizards, to name a few. Each type has its own movement range, attack range, and amount of health. Tapping for more info on a unit brings up additional facts about it, like what kinds of damage it’s strong and weak against. There’s a lot of depth to the gameplay, which should satisfy hardcore strategy fans, but not enough to overwhelm the more casual crowd.

Aside from the main campaign mode, round-based multiplayer via Facebook will also be an option. This means that your opponent doesn’t have to be playing at the same time as you, so you can take your turn at your leisure. You’ll also be able to have multiple games going at once.

None of the stuff we saw was particularly original in the world of turn-based strategy games, but we were impressed by the blinding sheen of polish on everything from the gameplay to the graphics and touch input. The developers are planning to submit Highborn to Apple this week, so look for it soon.