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LORNSWORD: Winter Chronicle

LORNSWORD is a top-down action adventure which mixes the fun of computer A.I. versus human interaction with tactics and strategies. The game gives you a reasonable amount of control as the leader of a strong unit of fighters without making it complex or complicated.

Note: You are requested to plug in a Controller if you can - it plays so much smoother and easier with one than without. Product check: I have a fairly old Thrustmaster Dual Analog 3 with a USB connection. It still works well on games of this genre.

 

The sandy deserts hold any number of warring adversaries, none of whom want to play nice. You have to build, attack, defend, advance, retreat (press B to run back fast) collect your troops head into combat following the onscreen arrow or run back to the altars where you can recharge your batteries (heal) and call for more troops.

One of the things that is different from other types of games like this is that when a battle is underway you can leave you soldiers fighting, run back to get more and lead them to the battle, even bringing them in from a different side, as in flanking the enemy, letting them go and going to collect some more.

 

Fully charged Altars allow you to call for extra units and if you stand on an Altar stone you can/will heal any damages you have and also boost your energy back to full. It's often a case of thinking before acting; take a little time (who am I kidding? you only have a 'little' time) to plan your next move. Charging into an affray pulling your troops with you is never a good idea, especially as the units will follow their leader and 'do nothing' until they are set free to join the battle.

 

I really like the practise of leading the troops to near the fight and then releasing them, but then a quick click a breath later you click the Right Trigger swiftly and 3-4 troops join with you. This way you can leave the main body of men fighting while you lead a small group on a mission of your (or the game's) making. You can attack a unit of opponents, set on one of the opponent's buildings, run back to get help, do an absolutely numerous number of options, all the while leaving your brave soldiers battling to their deaths - without you in the fight with them they tend to lose a lot more battles than they win.

Standing your character next to buildings can have various effects, such as changing the colour of the building's Flag - different colours give the buildings different options. When you are in combat if you get injured - you can see your life bar losing points each time you are struck - you can run back to an Altar to heal and this is a very good idea for unlike many games where your character pops back up into play in LORNSWORD there is no 'popping back up' if you lose all your life points you lose your life (well your character's life) and the game waits for you to play it again, Sam!

 

LORNSWORD is a game in a fairly new genre, Strategy & Action; it comes from TOWER FIVE and is released late June (29th) with a cost of about £18.99. There are to be found in Gme Stores several adventure/action games similar to LORNSWORD:WINTER CHRONICLE but for me this just about edges it over those I have played in the past. I cannot promise that it is the only one or even the best of its kind but with the options it presents it is the only one I, personally, have played that offers these intricate action possibilities.

Plenty of game-play and playability. It gets a bit samey, but always provides an interesting challenge. As I said before, the trick is to keep your troop numbers adequate, heal yourself regularly and remember to release the troops following you. If you need to run past enemy units to get to your base supply do not take half-a-doxen or more troops with you as you can only command so many at a time and any with you will count towards this number.

Fun and formidable, this is a good Sunday morning workout for the brainy and nimble fingered player.

 

Currently it is in Early Access the following is from the Website:

“Lornsword is a fresh new blend of action and strategy. We have been working on the game for quite a while by ourselves, and we now feel confident that we can share what we have with you all. We think we have enough gameplay to give you a good idea of our general direction, but we would much appreciate feedback from players to further refine this. Which game mechanics are fun? Which are less so? Is the game too hard? Or too easy? And last but not least: did we get this blend of action and strategy right? Should there be more action? More strategy?”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We should be running early access for 4 to 6 months. We want to polish Lornsword as much as we can, so there is a “when it’s done” element to the timing.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full version of the game will contain the 3rd chapter and Challenge mode. We are also testing a split screen PvP mode that might be included if it’s as much fun as we hope. The biggest difference between the Early Access version and the released version will probably be the precision of the game’s balancing: both its difficulty balancing and the perceptual balancing of its buildings and units. The Early Access version is balanced “to our taste” with the input of the playtesters who tried it, but that’s still a small number of players: the easy setting might still be too hard and the hard setting way too easy for challenge seekers. We will adapt these based both on individual “subjective” feedback and looking at statistical objective metrics.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“The Early Access version contains the prologue and an early version of the first two chapters of the Winter Chronicle in a playable state. We have optimized and debugged the core game quite a lot, so it should be a smooth and stable experience for most people already. Some people will inevitably run into problems we never saw, and it will be our priority to fix these when we can reproduce them.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“We want to thank you for trying Lornsword early, for helping in making it better over time, so the price of the Early Access version will remain lower to the release price for the entire Early Access duration. Once the game is released we do not plan discounting it quickly but instead to keep updating, balancing and polishing it over time for it to maintain its appeal. It’s also a way to keep the interest of the Early Access price cut for much longer.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We have several communication channels open, including Steam itself and no preconceived thoughts on where it will be most efficient to exchange with the community. So there might be more exchanges on one channel than the other, the community will decide and we will follow that. What matters is that we can understand individual feelings about what works, what needs improvement and idea of what could be added. This page will be kept updated with the additions, changes and improvements to the game, but we will also echo and discuss them wherever you are.”

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015