Undead Horde Review

Who remembers Overlord, the 2007 action role-playing game where you commanded your minions to conduct all sorts of evil deeds for you? No? Well, suffice to say that you missed out on one of the most playable games of its time. However, if you do remember Triumph Studio’s triumph of a game and are now reminiscing back to those fond memories of playing the game, you’re in luck, as once again you can get to play as a Necromancer and raise the dead, bidding your evil little minions to produce all manner of mayhem in 10Tons Entertainment’s latest game, Undead Horde as it resurrects a release onto the Nintendo Switch.

This action-adventure, sprinkled with a healthy dusting of role-playing, strategic and hack-and-slash elements, sees you playing as Orcen, a Necromancer who has the ability to raise the dead with which to form his own personal army. From the depths of your hellish crypt, you are tasked with invading the overworld in order to destroy the living and their ruling leader King Paladin Benevictor. Resurrected from your own imprisonment, a fate bestowed upon you from the ruling king centuries ago, you now embark on a journey of revenge that sees you commanding an army of minions as you slaughter and burn you’re way through a variety of locations and through a series of eras in your hell-bent destruction of everything that is living and a final showdown with the king that once banished you.

Viewed from an isometric perspective, you begin your quest by summoning an undead army from within the depths of hell, or namely your home base of your very own super-sized crypt, and pursue the destruction of the living through a series of mission objectives that are given to you from a series of caged skeletons that adorn the overworld. As you slain the living and free your otherworldy associates, you begin to develop further resources within your crypt, unlock  a large number of varieties of the undead and level up your character to a stronger discipline in the arts of necromancy. As you progress on your journey, you visit a number of levels that comprise a world map, taking you to a variety of locations and eras, as well as presenting you with all manner of tasks and mission types.

Originally released on the Steam platform, Undead Horde possessed a control scheme that was made for keyboard and mouse controls. However, the developers have incorporated a control scheme here that fits perfectly on the joy-cons of the Switch, making this an instantly accessible title in all of its mechanics. By using the shoulder buttons, you can summon the dead with the R shoulder button and order your minions with the L button, whilst ZR and ZL correspond to your left and right weapons; one being a melee style and the other being a magical staff. You can also activate magical abilities with the D-pad and interact with the environment with A. It’s a sublimely easy to navigate control scheme that feels comfortable and intuitive in its execution.

The real beauty of this title, however, lies in its gameplay. Once you have acquired your army, you begin your quest of destruction. However, the living also have a number of soldiers and heroes that fight to put an end to your wanton destruction. As your undead army succumb to the blades and arrows of the village defenders, you can replace them with the fallen victims of your onslaught by resurrecting them from where they fall. In order to achieve victory, you must slay all of the defenders and burn down the dwellings in a particular settlement; failure to do so spawns endless numbers of defenders, thus making your quest more difficult to achieve. However, should you find your army at a complete loss, you can return to your crypt to raise a new army; a strategic element of the game that forces you to pick your undead troops wisely.

Depending on your foe and the amount and type of living you have previously slain, you can choose from a wide variety of undead to bring with you on your next quest; including the heroic leaders that you may have dealt with from an earlier skirmish. As you progress, you can choose from knights and archers to bears and giant scorpions, all the way up to magical sorcerers and steed-riding heroes. The stronger the enemy, the more powerful army you need to utilise. As well as creating battalions of the undead, you can also equip yourself with all manner of weapons from swords, hammers and axes to magical staffs that can turn the toughest enemy into a chicken, literally, or create a barrier which forces the defending allies to turn on themselves and join forces with you.

You can also take control of a number of defensive buffs, from producing a shield for your army to reducing the time it takes to resurrect the dead, as well as other abilities. It creates a level of depth that keeps you swapping between weaponry, skills and magical abilities that you feel will best deal with whatever task is facing you. As you level up through XP progression, you can also select a card from a choice of three, each of them boosting your attributes in a variety of ways from extra health to a higher cap in your armies numbers and the amount of mana you can hold in order to execute your magical spells. There’s a very fine line between the difficulty level of your foes and the challenge that faces you, to the strength of the army you can summon and the abilities that you can possess. You never feel overpowered, but this is balanced with an enemy that never feels frustrating or too difficult to get past. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and through experimentation of different units and abilities, you will always find a way.

As well as roaming the land to slay the living and burn their dwellings, you also explore dungeons-styled levels that contain some puzzle elements in order to progress. These can vary from tasks such as traversing a corridor that houses dangerous enemies to collecting a series of gems with which to open the pathway ahead. There are also a series of traps to overcome and levers which need to activated in order to advance. Each of the levels also house a number of secrets from treasure chests and rooms full of the richest of rewards to secret tunnels and hidden keys. There’s simply so much to do here, coupled with a rewarding system of loot that simply keeps you playing. It contains such an addictive allure, that I found it one of those games that is difficult to put down once you have started.

Overall, Undead Horde is one of those little hidden gems that you’ll be glad you’ve played. In simple terms, its such a playable game that it soon becomes an addictive premise that proves to be irresistible. All of its components from gameplay to controls, strategy and levels of depth, plus its overall ability to make you have fun, all adds to produce one of the most alluring games that I have ever played; even its haunting soundtrack has become a melody that sticks inside my head. Since I received Undead Horde for review purposes, it’s become a game that I play everyday and at times, for hours on end. It’s simply entertaining in every aspect of what it does and all of its executions are implemented perfectly. This is easily another welcome addition to the Switch’s library, offering a game that feels distinctly different from anything else out there and is certainly a title that will raise your spirits.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

Undead Horde Review
  • Gameplay - 10/10
  • Graphics - 10/10
  • Sound - 10/10
  • Replay Value - 10/10
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Undead Horde is one of those little hidden gems that you’ll be glad you’ve played. In simple terms, its such a playable game that it soon becomes an addictive premise that proves to be irresistible.

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