Hoard Review

Here's a question for you: What do you get when you cross relatively simple gameplay mechanics with no story other than placing you in the role of the (often thought to be) antagonist from our greatest made up (or is it?) historical rivalry? The answer is Hoard, an action game where you are the Dragon and your only mission in life is to collect more gold than the next guy. Why are you such a Magpie, and why are you competing against other Dragons instead of working together to rule the world and rid it of humans? Those are obviously questions that are left to games with a much more serious tone as you won't find them anywhere in here. What you will find though is a pretty deep set of maps to play across on your own or with a friend (up to 4 online), as well as a complementary set of visuals, audio, and controls to help push the fun factor along. I will say that the controls for the PC/Mac version are a little jerky and I was disappointed that I couldn't fly in a certain direction and breath fire at the same time, making it difficult to have standoffs with multiple archers, but it only added to the strategy required to come out on top. And speaking of strategy, it's something you will need.. lots of it.. and the ability to change it on the fly.. quickly.. did I mention this game can get rather intense? You see, as you progress through a round you unlock upgrade points to be used for faster flight, more destructive fire breath, larger piggy bank for carrying gold to and fro, etc. While this makes you a potentially unstoppable threat to the villages and castles available for plunder, you will be countered by not only a number of computer controlled archers and knights, but also a number of computer or human controlled Dragons that have the exact same objective as you. Since the objective of the main gameplay mode is to end up with the biggest pile of cash at the end of the round, choosing which upgrades you want mid-game can seem innocuous at that moment but a bad choice can (and often does) quickly become obvious as another player starts to pull ahead. As I mentioned before the visual and audio components of Hoard are more of a compliment to the gameplay itself. They aren't the fanciest collection of super high res graphics and audio assets ever made, but for the price of the game they are both pretty good. While we're on the subject of value, it should be pointed out that Hoard is a SteamPlay enabled game. For those of you that are new to that keyword, it means you pay for it once and can download/play it on either PC or Mac systems. To me this is an incredible value as I am often hopping between both environments and it's nice to know that whichever computer in the house I land some free time on will be able to load up my game regardless of OS. All in all, Hoard is a decently rounded game that only needs a little bit of polishing to finish off its great game design and put itself on the list of titles that will probably have a cult following for years to come.

Final Rating: 88%. "Meddle not in the affairs of a Dragon; for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup." --Unknown