There really aren’t enough indie fantasy games that let you play as a total bastard. Ok, so there’s Antihero, where you play a morally bankrupt thief with no regard for human life, and Darkest Dungeon, where you play a morally bankrupt noble with no regard for human life, and Tyranny, where you…ok, so there’s a few. But I’ve been wanting more ever since the gold mining imps at EA turned Dungeon Keeper into a Dungeon Keeper themed slot machine. Empires in Ruins looks like it might just be the proverbial bastard sword to scratch that itch.*

Developer Hammer & Ravens have ‘purposefully chosen to keep Empires in Ruins grim, humorous, and low fantasy’, to create an atmosphere of political upheaval and grim medieval nastiness. There’s no irritatingly graceful elves, deus eagle machina or cloyingly sentimental heroics in this RTS/Tower Defence hybrid. Think Game of Thrones cynicism with slightly more toilet humour (Corporal ‘Turd’ Turg, anyone?). This grittier tone allows the team to explore real world politics through Empire in Ruins‘s themes. Players will come up against ‘game altering choices that will follow you through the rest of your campaign’, adding variety on repeat playthroughs.

Rebels Gonna Rebel

The object of these campaigns, however they play out, is to crush the rebel forces that oppose you. Rebel forces love pulling shit like that, don’t they? Aiming for a ‘4x, turn based’ style of play, Empires in Ruins features a strategy layer in the form of a world map, where players can purchase upgrades and make important decisions, and heated, tower defence confrontations. Conquering a region doesn’t always guarantee you can keep it though, as you’ll need to fortify your conquests to fight off retaliation attempts. Hammer & Ravens have also pledged to ‘steer clear of the freemium paradigm’, believing players’ progress ‘should solely rest on your skill and dedication, not the money you spend’. Good to hear they’ve kept the cynicism in the narrative, where it belongs. You can keep up with their progress here.*Cliqist does not recommend scratching yourself with a bastard sword.

Nic Rueben

Nic Rueben

Nic Reuben is a writer currently based in South Wales, UK. When he's not pausing games every five minutes to ponder the thematic implications of explosive barrel placement or having an existential crisis over CAPTCHA verifications that ask him to prove he's not a robot, he's reading sci-fi and fantasy short stories, watching cartoons, and mourning the declining writing standards in Game of Thrones.
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