Antihero: Hands-on

  • Format: PC
  • Unleashed: 12th July, but available in First access on itch.io
  • Publisher: Versus Evil
  • Developer: Tim Conkling
  • Players: 1-2
  • Site: http://antihero-game.com/
  • Game code provided by PR

Cor blimey guvna, Antihero sure is fun int it tho? I was jus’ mindin’ me own business an along comes this. Fievin sure don’t get much betta then dis.

Leading a gang of thieves is the game, and for the time being it’s leading said gang against a rival’s unruly mob in multiplayer. Taking control of Victorian London is fun; bit by bit you rob all the houses in an area blind, and install a legion of Orphans in the prospective businesses in the area. It’s lots of clever resource management with a quick gang progression system that makes it flow very well – so long as you know whats going on. Basically, if your friend says “don’t bother with the tutorial, jump in a game with me and I’ll teach you the basics”, and you do indeed jump right in, then you have failed to identify a fairly basic form of subterfuge and will regret not doing the tutorial.

After going through the tutorial I got a much better grip of the rules of the game and, by extension, a better grip on the many riches that lie within literally every set of houses in London. It has a few slightly unintuitive bits with exactly how the considerable amount of “fog of war” works. Which are a) when you can burgle a place you haven’t gotten vision on yet, and b) where you can actually scout, as sometimes it’s a column of three squares, sometimes it’s a three square L shape, and now I’m rambling because I’m still a little confused by it all.

Confusion with fog of war aside – and a few rules for certain buildings – it’s fairly straightforward. There’s always a goal to be scored somewhere on the map, whether it’s an assassination contract, getting blackmail from a man of the cloth, or one of the map-specific goals. This is great because it keeps the tension high and my chances of making a comeback an ever-present reality. It’s difficult to get really far behind; catching up is a few good moves away in a game that doesn’t actually have to last that many turns at all.

Each and every turn I’ve played so far has felt meaningful, and each match I’ve played has felt like it’s needed different tactics to get where I want to be in it (as the winner). One match I spent my time trying to get all the assassinations that I possibly could, before swooping in and nicking a church and buying a bribe to give me the last two points to win. In another I sought to take control of the docked ferry as soon as it came in. Even replaying the same maps feels like it deserves a new approach depending on the businesses that occupy them, which means the same map doesn’t stop feeling “fresh”.

Well, it’s set in London isn’t it? Which means it has the “ol Cockerney” accents and surprisingly they are charming Cockney accents rather than a weird Dick Van Dyke spoof. I enjoy the voices so much in fact, that I’ve been mimicking them whenever they say something – much to my friend’s dismay over voice comms. Much like the voices, the art direction is also very lovely, you need only look at it to see for yourself.

As a turn-based multiplayer game it’s certainly got legs. It has the whole play-by-email shtick sorted already. I’ve played some games against a friend, some against random players, and I’ve even fought some AI too. The play by email is a little slow for obvious reasons, but the live version that they’re testing out right now is pretty darned good too.

I’m more of a singleplayer campaign sort of guy though, so that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. For now, a few games against my friend should tide me over. Sending Orphans to the workhouse has never been as glorious as this.

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I’ve done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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