I got this game gifted to me and decided to try it (I also had the option of using it in a group giveaway) because the concept looked interesting to me. At first, I wanted to wait until more time had passed before doing this review, but I really don't see much potential here.
If you like RPG-based management of mercenary heroes and your own village, you might like this game. More likely, however, you won't.
The aesthetics are okay - very simple, blocky graphics that remind me of games you could easily find on gaming websites like Kongregate and Newgrounds. The music is decent, but can and will get annoying fairly quickly.
The controls are easy - lots of clicking on menus extremely remniscent of Game Dev Tycoon (GDT). Many reviews for this game point Game Dev Tycoon as a source of inspiration for this game, however, you could honestly think of this as a much weaker, boring attempt to pay homage to GDT. There isn't really a tutorial function, but everything is pretty straightforward. For some strange reason, dirt roads are very expensive to make (not cost-efficient at all), so DO NOT make any. They don't really seem to do anything either. The learning curve is minimal, but wonky. There are combinations you can do when sending your heroes on missions - for example, certain villages prefer certain missions, and every mission requires you to select "attributes" to put your skill points into (ala GDT).
Mission example: when you send your hero on a supply run for village x, you can decide to put a few points in horses (seems to speed up mission completion time), weapons, food, and conduct (seems to do absolutely nothing). Or, you can choose to allocate points to bravado, to scouting, stealth, and aggression. Depending on how "compatible" your mission, selected village, and allocated points are, you will accumulate points in "loot," "influence," and "damage" (again, ala GDT).
The higher your loot value, the more llikely you are to receive items (ex: weapons, shields). You can sell these all at once or equip them to your heroes (they can only equip one item at a time) for stat boosts. Influence and damage values affect how many followers you will receive/lose after mission completion. I think followers add to your money-generated-over-time, which comes from things like potions being sold at an alchemy store. You also gain renown after completing missions, which is used in combination with gold to purchase building upgrades like more buildings (many features are incomplete or locked at the moment).
During missions, you will be presented with 3 scenarios (they are always the same) where you must select a "strategy" for your hero to use (ex: be confrontational, talk your way through, or work around it. Again, depending on what you choose and its compatibility with your selected mission, you will gain points in the 3 main mission counters (loot, influence, damage).
This game is clearly in early, early access, and I strongly recommend you do not get this (or at least wait until it's released as a finished product). You cannot sell items once you decide to keep them (the sell option is grayed out, so you have to pick "sell" right when you complete a mission and are shownn the loot screen if you want extra gold). You can find new villages and missions with the "explore" option, but it just unlocks more boring, tedious artificial-game-lengtheners.
Honestly, if you want to play a game like this, I STRONGLY suggest you turn away and pick up Game Dev Tycoon instead.That game at least has a lot of variety and aesthetics for you to enjoy.
At least for now, wait to see how this develops (if you are really, really interested). Even if you are dying to try this, I implore you to wait until it is out of early access.
Do not recommend.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews