Guards – What we Think:
Guards, from developer Battlecruiser Games, is one of the most casual and repetitive turn-based strategy games I’ve ever played.
Starting the game off with simplified jobs, Guards puts the player in control of a peasant, archer and healer to fend off hordes of enemies. During each turn, each character and enemy will perform one action. These actions are determined by where the character sits on the grid, whether it be the front row or back row.
Wait…I can’t wait?
Only guards in the front row can attack, and an action will only be performed once two characters swap places on the grid. This means that every action may not be the action most desired, as there is no “Wait” command.
With more characters to unlock, a party of four must be selected. As there are only three horizontal rows, there must always be one character in the back row. This character is healed during each turn spent in the back row, and once swapped out into the front can use a special move to level the playing field to the player’s advantage.
For example, when a Healer is brought out to the front row, it heals the entire party. When a tank such as the Witcher or Rifleman hero is switched to the front row, they can perform a special attack, dealing more damage than usual.
Try and Try Again, Then Try and Try Again
Progression in Guards is where this game gets repetitive. Heroes can be leveled up between levels for a certain amount of coin, but the only way to increase their rank or unlock new jobs is to collect Mithril. Mithril can be collected in two ways. One is to complete specific quests that Guards keeps in a menu. The other is to continuously play the game, completing as many levels as possible in order to gain a small amount of coin and Mithril at the end.
Clearly this means that death isn’t the end of the world, and a game over is just another means of item acquisition. Each level is completed upon defeating a certain number of enemies, and the team of heroes is healed upon entry into the next level. The campaign ends when just one of the heroes falls in battle. Completing quests will also help obtain items that can be used as a boon to power up heroes, restart the level, or bring a hero back to life.
Does Guards Stand Its Own Ground?
Considering how often the first levels are replayed over and over again in order to gain any footing in terms of party strength, this is where Guards tends to feel casual.
I feel this game would have worked better as an app. Breaking the monotony into bite-sized chunks would have been more beneficial to the overall experience. Interesting events don’t occur often enough in Guards to warrant sitting down and investing multiple hours of gameplay in one sitting.
Repetition combined with a price point that seems a little steep for what is delivered, this is one strategy title with tower defense elements that is better off avoided.
Guards is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Guards below: