One of the best games I have played in a long time. Challenging, engaging, beautiful and a little retro. And the best part.. cheap.
Aarklash isn't very deep in terms of RPG elements (though they are there, in a skill tree/limited inventory kind of way) but it is extremely deep in terms of gameplay. This is the first game in a long time where I relished the rematch after I was utterly destroyed. Battles take place in real time, but you can pause at any time to chain orders. You can also remap your skill tree before a battle at no cost, so if at first you don't obiliterate - recalibrate, recalibrate again.
The downside, and the reason I stopped playing in the end game, are the puzzles. At first the game reminded me of "The Summoning" where battles were intermixed with puzzles. But in the second act I was starting to get annoyed, and by the third act I had had enough. It just grinds the pace down to fight, puzzle, puzzle, fight, puzzle. And the puzzles aren't even interesting! They are rehashes of the earlier ones, with stupid terms and well...
The upside is the fist half of the game, the pacing is spot-on, the graphics are sweet and like i said, the battles are the kind of thing that you walk away from a loss intrigued and not frustrated. You can constantly employ different teams and different skill sets, which leads to a depth not really seen in many games. I just wish they had spent more time developing the puzzles, instead of copy-pasting them at greater frequency.
All scores out of 10, with 7 the highest:
End game: 4