The first time I heard about Antihero was back during PAX. Excited previews and hopeful journalists all around, I launched the freshly released title with my own high expectations. Tim Conkling’s Antihero delivered in every way, even matching the mood of the rainy day I sat down to play it. A thoughtful turn-based strategy themed to a dark old-London underworld, Antihero’s milieu of characters, mechanics, and pace do wonders to deliver players a wonderful blend of freedom and challenge, pressuring the player to succeed while moving in their own rhythm.
You play as the leader of a thieves guild whose mission is to steal, kill, and corrupt his way to the top of the town. Played out in turns and action points, you begin by looting local estates, banks, churches, and trading houses while recruiting a band of lowlifes to maintain your foothold. Using recruits to infiltrate churches and trading houses expands your wealth and power, bringing in experience for your characters, gold for recruiting thugs, and lanterns for upgrading your abilities. Throughout the course of each match, players strive to earn enough victory points by way of fulfilling assassination contracts, bribing officials, and blackmailing town staples. However, every step of the there are other thieves ready to beat you to the punch.
Whether by dagger, truant officer, trap, or eviction, your opponent will push to cripple your reach while thrusting forth his own. To help players push back, every pawn in play has its own intelligent, multifaceted counter. Sappers can rig traps to defend your residences or leap into the fog and scout out distant parts of town. Thugs can block roads and establishments or join the ranks of your own axe-toting gang for a boost in health. Your gang can travel around town evicting units from buildings, killing enemy characters, or completing assassination contracts.
The one complaint I have would be against the game’s monotonous music loop during gameplay. The music lacks any dynamism and keeps itself present the way most mobile connect-3 King games do. Luckily, the options menu has separate sliders for sound effects and music so the issue can be easily remedied.
Antihero is outstanding. A strategy game that eloquently sets its focus on creating a refreshing challenge that engages without consistently punishing. The wiring within is complex and interesting, making the elegance of its simple chassis all the more meaningful. As is, Antihero would excel with a proper tablet and mobile port which, despite the lack of a release date, is still in the works – I can’t wait! It is still raining and I’m still playing.