Wednesday 4 March 2015

Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of Night Review (PC)

There have been a lot of Games Workshop properties making their way to digital lately and Chainsaw Warrior is in fact one of the very first games that the company produced. A single player card game, it may seem like a strange choice to make a digital version out of. Then again we’ve all spent far too long playing Solitaire and this has zombies and chainsaws in it. 

Lord of Night is the second game in the series and changes the setting from a collapsing city to a forbidding jungle where darkness is about to take over the earth. You are charged with going in and destroying the evil lurking within an ancient pyramid. To do this you need to use strategy and have some luck with the dice.

You start out by rolling your character which sets up how many hit points they have and how much venom and radiation they can take. It also sets up your agility and marksmanship along with a few other things. Next, it’s time to pick from a fairly wide range of different weapons, armour and equipment before heading off into the jungle.

Your mission is set against the clock with every turn taking time off it. If it reaches zero it’s game over.  Each turn you flip over a virtual card and follow the instructions. This can involve having to roll dice to avoid traps, finding air drops of equipment or entering combat. There are also hidden temples to find and a number of other surprises. Combat takes the form of choosing weather to engage at range or in melee and then making the appropriate skill checks to take down your target. Enemies are varied and it will take some thought and experience to learn how best to tackle them.

A scout for instance, might be better to handle at close range but may also have a chance to raise the alarm in the time it takes you to engage them. Weapons also have limited ammunition and certain weapons can only be used to kill certain enemies so you have to be careful and consider if getting up close and possibly taking more damage is sometimes needed to progress in the long run.

As the cards turn you will make your way through three decks as you move from the jungle to the lost city and then into the final pyramid where the darkness resides.
There are also temples which hold special artifacts and blessings that require a tough enemy to be dispatched in order to proceed.

Graphically, the game is functional if not spectacular. The cards and environment are well illustrated but there are few animations. You’ll get bullet holes in a card or have it chainsawed in half but that’s about it. It all works well though and the slightly minimalist approach works with some strong sound effects to keep things interesting and enjoyable.

It’s a strangely compelling game that just seems to work. As there is a fairly short timer on each session it never outstays its welcome and in the games we played there was enough variety to keep things interesting. There are also multiple endings and different ways to approach your adventure. It really does draw on the strength of something like Solitaire while adding enough new mechanics to make it even more compelling.

Overall, Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of Night is a really nice surprise. It’s straightforward fun and it really works. We can’t think how it could really be improved as the game achieves everything it sets out to and is a great way to spend an hour here and there. The new equipment and different endings add a reason to come back and it’s certainly something we’ll still be playing long into the future.

Overall 8/10

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