When it comes to games I often play on PC being announced for console, it brings a new excitement for a title I’m familiar with. While at PAX East 2016, the creators of Armello–which can currently be found on Steam–announced that the game will be coming to consoles in Q3 2016. I had the opportunity to play the Xbox One build at PAX East 2016. Here are my early thoughts on the new release.
For those who aren’t familiar, Armello is a digital fantasy board game. It takes place in a unique magical world edged with darkness. The king–a lion–has been driven mad by an evil force known as Rot. Each of the four clans has selected heroes for an expedition to the king’s palace. The Bear, Rabbit, Rat and Wolf clans will be challenging the insane king for his ruling status. Did I mention the characters are animals?
The premise of the game is quite simple: you play a hero on the journey to the palace to dethrone the lion king–I happened to play as a new character, Elyssia, from the rabbit clan. In the course of the journey, you battle with the other clans, enemies who spring forth from the forest, and the castle guards. At times your skills are put to the test, but other times you’re at the mercy of the cards you’ve drawn. While it’s obviously a digital game, the gameplay is a mix of card and tabletop strategy with a hint of RPG. As far as game controls, I found them to be very fluid. It’s easy to control character movement, use the cards, and rolling dice during a battle is as simple as flicking the thumb-stick.
The music invites you to become part of the game and part of the world, and the tone changes to match the action in the game. Armello is visually brilliant, with both static and active effects helping to create the world. For example, they experience multiple seasons, and snow can be seen falling during winter. The above game screenshots give you a taste of how great the art design is. You can also see some of the cards in use during battle and other phases of play.
After my hands-on preview of the console version of Armello, I made several more passes near the booth at PAX East 2016 and saw that it was always flooded with interested people. Considering the number of games available to try in a limited amount of time, it made me happy to see that this one was getting so much attention. We at Marooners’ Rock held nominations for our favorite games in 9 categories. Armello won Best Console Game at PAX East 2016 from Marooners’ Rock.
The first I heard of Armello was its entrance to Steam Early Access, I wasn’t sure what to think. After a recommendation from a friend, I gave it a try, and after several hours of play I can say that I’ve truly enjoyed it. With its forthcoming console release, I am excited to have more options to play and to widen the circle of people who can join me. From the limited experience I had with the console version at PAX East 2016, I have high hopes for this new release. Anyone who has enjoyed playing Armello on Steam should keep an eye out for the console release later this year.