A multi-genre approach to traditional turn-based strategy games.
- System: PC
- Developer: AurumDust, Whisper Games
- Publisher: AurumDust
- Release Date: March 2018
- Genre: Strategy, RPG, Rogue-like, Fantasy
- Official Website: https://ashofgods.com/
OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia 9xxx / ATI 2xxx
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 5 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX9 Compatible
Who it Caters to
Ash of Gods received its start on the Kickstarter platform back in May of 2017. AurumDust Studio placed an initial goal of $75,000 which was met and has accumulated about $87,000 in total. Several factors explain why it was successfully funded and highly anticipated by the community who financially backed it. Ashe of Gods contains stunning artwork, an intriguing story, and a straightforward but deep battle system. It caters to any gamer who enjoys turn-based fighting, a medieval setting, and visual novel storytelling.
What to Expect
Ash of Gods boasts stunning artwork, a rogue-like story, strategically engaging turn-based combat, and a PVP mode as well. We can speak a bit about the artwork, and combat. But, the multiplayer component of the game was unavailable for the demo we played.
First, the artwork is gorgeous. It's not dramatic and visually explosive with a spectrum of neon colors or giant dragons and beasts. Instead, it keeps things very clean, full of life, and nostalgic. On their Kickstarter page, they mentioned the inspiration for the artwork style. It's one part Ralph Bakshi (acclaimed director of animated films), one part Disney style artwork (think Sword in the Stone), and partly inspired by Soviet animations studios Soyuzmultfilm.
The opening sequence does an excellent job of setting up a story containing an ultimate battle of good versus evil that has been building up for hundreds of years. From there, the story narrows down to Thorne and his small band of warriors. They confront this ancient evil and try to survive while figuring out what it is. This is the only storyline available in the demo. But, there should be 2 or 3 more story arcs in the official release.
The combat is a mixture of turn-based strategy with card game elements. You use a group of up to 6 warriors on your side with 8 different classes to choose from. As you win battles your warriors gain experience and level up. Leveling up increases your base states while giving you a point to allocate into your skill tree. This is where the RPG elements factor in. We'll talk about the battle system more in the gameplay section.
There's one more thing you should know about Ash of Gods. There is a "Story Mode" available that allows you to bypass the arduous battles. Meaning battles are played automatically for you so that you can experience the different routes the story can take in a smooth and efficient manner. When you play the "Story Mode”, your characters are bumped up in levels and stats so that they can breeze through the enemy. But, you can disable "auto-fight" and manually fight enemies with this boost in power if you wish.
Ash of Gods - Story Trailer
Let's go back again to the game's opening scene. We are shown a final battle taking place between the forces of light and the dark. Warriors are valiantly sacrificing their lives to protect the kingdom and loved ones. We narrow in on a group of strong warriors, not dressed like anyone else on the battlefield. They wear long sleeve white shirts with a single piece of shoulder armor and a sword, hardly what you'd expect to see on the battlefield. It's immediately evident that they are special and powerful.
Surprisingly, they stab themselves in the chest to disperse a holy light out of their bodies. The light seems to injure the Reapers. All but one of the warriors sacrifice themselves. The last one is stopped by an arrow from the enemy soldiers. He suffers an arrow shot to the arm right before he can stab himself, and he collapses from the pain and exhaustion.
Next, we are thrust centuries into the future. The world seems to be at peace, for the moment. That one warrior that in the battle from long ago seems to have not aged. He senses that the evil that was previously banished has awoken once more. He ventures out to see what he can find out about the return of the Reapers.
From there, the story focuses on several main characters. The demo focuses mainly on Thorn Brenin and his band of soldiers. (Presumably, there are other storylines you can choose from in the final build.) His village is unexpectedly attacked by the Reapers. People are in a frenzy as they try to escape the assault and figure on what's going on. You take on the role of Thorn. You lead your party through various battles and make tough decisions that could lead you to salvation or excruciating death. There is a specific symbol that pops up on the screen when you're offered choices that will permanently alter the outcome of the game. Hopefully, this adds replayability to the game.
It's time to get into the nitty-gritty of this game's combat system. As mentioned earlier, there are 8 different classes to choose from. Those include, but are not limited to fighter, wizard, archer, monk, spearman, and assassin. Battles take place on a traversable grid. A character's mobility and attack range are dependent on their specific class. But, one thing almost all characters have is a way to attack an enemy's health points as well as their energy points. Decreasing an enemy's energy reserve prevents them from spending energy on more devastating abilities. There's also the benefit of reducing an enemy's energy to 0 which them forces them to take 2x the damage from your attacks. That's about the only thing classes have in common.
Classes have different baste states, abilities, and mobility. The abilities are further augmented through the skill tree. Skill trees seemed like an aspect of the game that has some depth and customization. Many abilities have interesting secondary effects. For instance, some attacks will push back an enemy a couple of squares away. This could be used to force them out of attack range of some of your "squishy" characters or those that are currently low on life. There are some attacks that buff up your defense, attack or replenish energy. There is so much you can do that we wish we could have played some of the more difficult battles later on in the game. (We'll have to wait for the full release). We can't overstate how the simplicity yet expansive range of options left us wanting more.
For all the fun and immersive experiences we had with Ash of Gods, there was one thing that bothered us. For starters, and this could be because I'm not particularly partial to visual novel storytelling, the way the camera shifts during dialogue is a bit annoying. After every line of speech, the viewpoint switches from the back of the head of one person and the face of another. It's really noticeable when two people are speaking to each other for an extended period of time. It gave me a small headache a couple of times.
Any other issues that we had with Ash of Gods only occurred because we weren't playing a final build. For instance, a character would be introduced and portrayed as someone of importance. Then, we would never see that person again. Also, a few of the menus and map were written completely in Russian (I presume) so it wasn't possible to figure out what was happening. Lastly, "strix" was mentioned several times in the game, but there was no picture to indicate what it was. We know that it's a piece of jewelry that some people wear. It's extremely important because it prevents Reapers from killing you. Instead, they eat a portion of the strix. Once the strix has been devoured they proceed to kill the wearer. For such an important object, it should have been presented better (or at all).
Again, we have to state that this was not a full build of the game. That being said, we had very enjoyable experience with the short time we had to work with. All the components are there for a unique turn-based strategy game with a finely tuned medieval art style. If the latter part of the game is anything like the beginning, then Ash of Gods will be an excellent title and we hope to see more from AurumDust Studio.
We had a fun time playing Ash of Gods. We'll be sure to revisit it when the official release takes place in March. There's no specified release date, but I'm sure AurumDust Studios will keep us posted via their social media outlets. So, we're counting the days until then.
Are you looking forward to this game's release as well? What are some of your favorite turn-based strategy games? Let us know in the comments are tweet at us. We always enjoy talking to you all and sharing opinions. As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.