Review: Reverse Crawl
Reverse Crawl has one of the weirdest openings of any game outside a Kojima title, with the player – the King of the land – slain by the invading Red Queen, only for his necromancer daughter raise him from the dead so he can rebuild his armies and reclaim the throne as the Revenant King. Die along the way? No problem, she’ll revive you as the slightly less powerful Revenant King…
I’ll be honest, that’s already far more of a story than I’d expected from this indie game – especially one created by a one-man studio – but there’s also a dynamic side to it, with a branching storyline that helps the replay value. You’re constantly served up a rotation of missions to choose from, a blend that includes expeditions to get new followers or abilities, so it’s unlikely gamers will play exactly the same game twice.
The bulk of the gameplay takes place in turn-based combat on a hex grid with small arena-style maps, pitting your selection of units against the opponents through several waves and using movement, spells, and abilities to turn the tide of battle. Keeping your ranged units safe by using armored units as a shield is Basic Tactics 101, but difficulty ramps up quickly when you add in unit abilities like Dodge, that can allow an enemy to appear behind your defenses, or summoned units that appear in random spots.
For all the strategic decisions there are to make on the field of battle, for me Reverse Crawl’s real depth was on the sidelines, with a skill tree to gradually fill to amplify your power, and the ability to take on non-critical missions to gain new abilities or followers.
Even choosing the minions you want to take into battle has a mini-game mechanic where each group in your horde is assigned a random trait from a pool of positive and negative ones. Get hit with a negative trait on your most powerful group? You can reroll the traits, but doing so might not yield a better result and you only get three rerolls before your selection is locked in.
Reverse Crawl has a bit of a learning curve early on, but I found myself locked into it quickly and really enjoyed my time with it. For under $20 Canadian, it’s worth a look for strategy-RPG fans