Shadow Harbor Review
need to know
What is it? A turn-based dungeon exploration game.
Expect to pay 27.79 GBP/35 USD
Developer Flame bird
Publisher Asmodi Digital
release Come out now
Review date AMD FX-8350, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, 32GB RAM
multiplayer game? 4 people cooperation
Associate Official website
Gloomhaven is undoubtedly the most acclaimed amateur board game of the past decade. The digital version fully replicates the huge Gloomhaven battle, adds a brand new second mode Guildmaster, and online multiplayer: an adaptation of the desktop experience, spare no effort. Although it is impossible to replicate the magic of sitting around a table, designing it to work on a screen can provide something that a boxed board game would never have. Despite this, occasional poor performance, lack of some quality of life features, and a large number of errors make Gloomhaven discouraged.
This is a dungeon exploration game where fantasy and adventure stories read by rough Scottish narrators are side by side with tactical tasks that lead adventurers through a series of rooms and monsters to accomplish fairly simple goals. Everything between missions is “choose your own adventure”, where decisions are made and static rewards or punishments are provided for the entire campaign or the next adventure. Writing is not its strong point-this is by no means Baldur’s Gate-but the sound narration adds some flesh to the bones of these stories. The simple campaign mode is fascinating enough to allow you to come back night after night as you draw a fantasy epic, build the town of Gloomhaven and watch your adventurers upgrade, retire, and be replaced by fresh blood.
(Image source: Asmodee Digital)
Guildmaster mode is a new feature of Gloomhaven, even desktop veterans should be attracted, as is the built-in level designer and module support. Although playing with friends is very fun, in fact, Guildmaster is a specially built way that allows you to experience all of Gloomhaven on your own. It has no dubbing and the story is very relaxed, but it has its own advantages: your characters will never retire, so you can patch them as you like, and the scenes are random, allowing you to do similar crawls multiple times without literal meaning Replay the same settings. Both modes can be played by one to four adventurers under your own control, or up to three others can control one each.
Dungeons are card-driven tactical battles. Some of them are the best battles you can find. It uses a flexible system. Each round you choose two cards for each adventurer, and then from the top half of a card and Perform the operation at the bottom of another card. The monster’s attack is very simple, there is no complicated artificial intelligence here, but each round is planned in advance, so you don’t know what the monster will do until you lock in your choice. Each card also has a value, the initiative, that is, your initiative in that round of action. The strange thing is that artificial intelligence usually takes a long time to determine its actions after you move-strangely, considering that it is completely deterministic.
So for a given round, your craftsman might choose their 20 active stun shot, which is a long-range stun attack at the top and a four-space movement at the bottom, as well as their flamethrower, an area burning weapon at the top and a bottom There is a shield halo. The combination of two cards can produce two completely different rounds: rush forward to roast some enemies, or make amazing shots at tough enemies, and gain defensive gains on nearby allies. When you use cards, they are either discarded or burned. The burned card will leave the game in your next adventure, and the discarded card will eventually return to your hand-at the cost of burning a discarded card forever. When the cards or health are used up, you will quit the battle to complete the remaining tasks.
(Image source: Asmodee Digital)
These fairly simple rules turned the battle into a series of difficult tactical choices and tight time constraints. The task is daunting, even the simple difficulty can and will defeat the veteran of tactics. In some cases, a wrong card will put you on the path of bad luck: it may feel good to burn powerful abilities as early as possible, but what if you need to be fast enough to snatch loot or knock down the last few enemies ? These are some of the best tactical games in the game, and some of the most enjoyable and difficult choices you make in Dungeon Crawler. If that sounds not enough, there are also 17 playable classes with their own unique mechanics and cards.
Confusingly, Gloomhaven does not have an undo button. Those errors that should be easy to fix, such as moving a hexagon, selecting the wrong ability, or clicking the wrong ability to deliver an ability, are impossible to recover. A misunderstanding of the rules can be very frustrating, and there is no comprehensive rule book in the menu. I have to consult the tabletop rulebook to make sure I understand the mechanics, which is absolutely weird: when does my character’s battle deck shuffle? What does that little arrow mean? These are not very clear.
Nonetheless, the event was a blast for friends, and it was much faster than boxed games. Four hours at the table will allow you to play a single dungeon, playing before and after encounters. Four hours in the digital battle will allow fast players to traverse up to three dungeons. If you like this tactical game like I do, and if you are happy to let the computer handle the small details, then Gloomhaven’s ruggedly narrated adventure is exactly the type you want. This is what all good desktop adaptations should have: the reason why I want to play this instead of sitting at the table.
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