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.