Game: Alchemic Jousts
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Lunatic Pixels
Price: £8.99; €9.99; $9.99
Overall feeling: I Like it a Lot!
(Review copy provided by Lunatic Pixels)
Being E3 week, a majority of gamers are eagerly anticipating upcoming big announcements from major game companies. I, on the other hand, am addicted to a little game for which I recently received a review code.
Alchemic Jousts is a simple but surprisingly deep tower defense title. The game’s goal is to defend your tower by destroying the opposing tower. The game begins with a tutorial that walks you through the basics of play, after which, you’re left to defend your tower. Now usually, tower defense games involve forces armed with antiquated weapons, but that isn’t the case in Alchemic Jousts. The game’s warring factions consist of cute creatures called elementals which if mixed together create even more elementals as well as new skills and abilities. The game begins with 4 basic elementals; those being air, water, fire and earth. The game’s battle system uses a rock, paper, scissors method, which means water beats fire, fire beats earth, and earth beats water.
Early in the game, the player is introduced to the laboratory. The laboratory is a simple section that consists of empty tiers that begin to fill up as soon as you begin to succesfully mix elemental types . So for example, fire combined with water makes steam, whereas fire combined with earth makes lava, and earth combined with water makes mud. In total, there are 182 combinations to discover. As the laboratory increasingly fills up, the harder it becomes to notice possible combinations, and so the additional clue feature proves to be very useful.
In order to win each fight, it’s essential to prepare your team by selecting the right elemental types and skills. A winning team in one battle could also spell defeat in the next. If during battle, it becomes clear, the fight isn’t winnable, simply press + in order to make changes and restart the match.
The game also supports a 2-player co-op mode, but the wi-fi feature that’s included in both Steam and PS4 versions is currently absent on Nintendo Switch. The big multiplayer advantage this version has however is that it supports 2 player joy-con play and tabletop mode.
The game includes 30 stages or campaigns. Each campaign has different rules, three difficulty levels, and at least one difficulty setting must be completed in order to progress to the next stage. Finishing a campaign in easy mode rewards the player with one star, while normal grants two, and hard three. There are also a range of game modes to enjoy as progress is made throughout each campaign. ‘Combat’ is the standard mode, but there are others such as ‘Capture’ where elementals must retrieve wands and carry them to their own tower, and ‘King of the Hill’ where the object is to capture and control enemy zones for 60 seconds.
Visuals and Sound
The game’s visuals are simple, yet pleasing, particularly if you enjoy a cutesy art style.
In terms of sound, there are cute sound effects and a basic soundtrack that suits the game very well. There’s a small infrequent break in the music that gently plays in the background while navigating both the main and laboratory sections of the game, but that’s a minor issue that no one should care about.
One small Gripe
The laboratory has a log book that notes your last 4 mixture experiments in the lab. Such a feature is essential to a game like this, but why limit the logbook to just 4 notes? Granted, the developer probably wanted to keep the screen as compact and clean as possible, but the option to view the entire log would be great.
Alchemic Jousts is a simple but deep addictive strategy game that I continue to enjoy immensely. It does require time, patience, and a lot of experimentation, but that’s why I like it. It’s possible for little games like this to be overlooked, particularly during E3 week, but If you’re a fan of strategy games, then this is well worth a look.
Nice little review. I love the look of those graphics, full of whimsy. Will have to check it out sometime! I like the idea of experimenting & trying for all combinations.