Desert Ashes is a turn based strategy game with online multiplayer and single player campaigns, it also boasts an innovative menu system allowing you to play multiple games at once. The Day-Night system adds a dynamic twist to turn based battles that affect the battlefield.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (54 reviews) - 53% of the 54 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 10, 2014

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Desert Ashes

SUMMER SALE! Offer ends July 4

-90%
$4.99
$0.49
 

About This Game

Desert Ashes is a turn based strategy game with online multiplayer and single player campaigns which also boasts an innovative menu system allowing players to enjoy multiple games at once.


The Day-Night system adds a dynamic twist to turn based battles including weather conditions that can affect the battlefield map, for example, all bodies of water have the ability to freeze over night!


On top of this, Desert Ashes offers its players special unlockable perks to customize their armies with, for example, The Fort Toughness Perk that adds 20% DEF to all allied units at a structure, and the Vampire Perk that gives players to convert 20% attack damage to HP between 10pm and 5am!


Experience also exciting single player campaigns that allows the player to experience playing as both the winged crusade and the landians.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound device supporting OpenAL 2.0
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 or greater
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom II or greater
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 or greater
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound device supporting OpenAL 2.0
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X Lion
    • Processor: Intel Core i3
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD 3000
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound device supporting OpenAL 2.0
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X Lion or greater
    • Processor: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD 3000 or greater, NVIDIA or AMD discrete GPU
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound device supporting OpenAL 2.0
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mixed (54 reviews)
Recently Posted
Saint Aaron
( 3.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
Product received for free
Looking at how they want you to touch the screen or click the screen shows that this is a mobile port game.. Its actually a fun game at times if you're looking for a game to pass sometime. A match can be won pretty quick but one wrong move may make the game longer

Pros:
Day/Night system
water can freeze making it walkable
Gameplay mechanics
Steam achievements and trading cards
soundtrack!
Ai can be tough
local multiplayer

Cons:
Limited amout of troops can be on field
game is short 3 levels
No map editor
Ai makes some dumb moves making it not challenging
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sitebender
( 4.5 hrs on record )
Posted: January 6
Desert Ashes is a turn based strategy game on a grid with a dark fantasy theme. It manages to feel familiar, yet so alien at the same time. In traditional game of this genre you'd have infantry, cannons, ships, tanks, airplanes, battleships and so on, but with Desert Ashes you have spiders, dragons, demons and airborne creatures. The objective itself is simple, capture the enemy's base while defending your own. You get money with cities that belong to you and make units from fortresses. The game's biggest boast is a seasonal system that will freeze water allowing for ground based units to traverse them and naval units to get stuck. In practice this takes too long to be used that often.

Each unit has its type, movement, attack range, strength and weakness. The larger the attack range, the slower and more expensive it is. Air units are weak to infantry. Infantry is weak to heavy and heavy is weak to air. Its a solid rock-paper-scissor mechanic. Then they all have their range of attack which becomes an issue, because you can move and then attack rather than a balance where long range units can only attack or move. Heavies can only travel on flat ground while infantry can go over mountains.

On paper, I like the game. Its a fun, easy to play game with unnecessary frustrations. The dynamics are simpler than other games of the genre and twist them in slight ways. There are no airports, rather factories that can generate any unit with the exception of water bases will generate naval units. In combination with the rock-paper-scissors mechanic, this makes every factory dangerous.

When capturing a city, you first remove the opposition's capture rather than making your own. This will put more effort on the defender when their income has been nullified with a single turn. This allows you to free a city and stay moving at the cost of unclaimed cities that you never stuck around long enough to capture. Captures can be made only with infantry and an infantry of low health can capture just as quick as one with full health.

The terrain you're on gives you bonuses to your defense, but it feels like the rock-paper-scissor far outweighs any defense. Each unit has ten points of health that get whittled down until that unit is destroyed. Finding a cactus will replenish infantry and only infantry health in every season except the winter. Once again, as a dark fantasy game, cactus mean health. There is no health increase for standing on your own cities or factories nor any way to merge two damaged units of the same type. You can also sell a unit that is on a city for a refund.

Each unit can move and attack in a turn. When attacking you see who you can attack and the damage you will do along with if that unit can counter strike. The battles are cut scenes where you see your hideous creature and its low budget animation attack. Then its followed by watching the defender get attacked and then a counterattack from any surviving members.

There are three modes to the game, a campaign with three episodes and multiple missions. The first episode feels like a rushed tutorial before the second episode lets you get into the game. There's a multiplayer and a single player skirmish mode. Beyond that are a slew of other menu items, but its awkward getting to those items because you need to click and drag to the left to find them before you click and drag to scroll through the items. I smell mobile game design. Another indication of mobile design is when purchasing a new unit, you need to click it twice. One to show the unit and a second to buy it.

As for multiplayer, I attempted to login, but the first party support must have been pulled for this game. Even more interesting than that, if you're offline from Steam you cannot even open the game. I assume its because your Steam account is your login for multiplayer, even if you only want single player.

Skirmish mode lets you select from many different maps and face the computer or a friend in either conquer or annihilation game types. Kudos to dark ashes for making a map that looks like flesh peninsula extending up into water. There are two playable characters, but its sad there are no abilities to differentiate them in terms of gameplay. No strengths or weaknesses.

With each victory in the campaign, you're just shoved off to the next battle with no fanfare. A break to show you a score would have been nice and give a reason to replay each mission. Every new battle in the campaign kicks off with a lot of text that I just mash my way through. I have no investment with these creature characters.

My biggest hangup with the game is my inability to look at a spider and know that is a cannon, to look at a whale and know that is a battleship. To look at a depressed bird and see its a short range air vessel rather than a perky flying lizard to see that its a long range airborne cannon. Its easy to type what they are, but it seems so completely foreign.

Even if you've mastered which of your units do what, the enemy units are different than yours. Clicking on them reveals they're an enemy, but what type is a mystery unless you recognize it. They do the same things, but you need to recognize and understand, so its as if the game is in three different languages. The military strategy game that is typical, your units and the enemies units. It turns into guesswork. Is my troop safe here or are they safe there?

Every creature is a different color, green, blue, red, yellow, white and so on, so its tough telling your army apart from your foe's. They all face south, so there's no help there. This becomes a major issue when you look at a crowded map and need to find all your units to play. If you chose to end a turn, the game never warns you there are unused units that need to move. Even though everything is on a grid, some units and your home base can obscure units behind them.

One of the infuriating things about the game is how I was able to dismiss a unit by accident several times. When you select a unit, you see flashes of red, units you can attack. So its easy just to select the unit and then attack. Well sometimes those highlighted units are out of range, so in place of attack is dismiss. There is no confirmation, they are just gone. It gets worse, because five percent of the time, the unit menu will start you on the dismiss command rather than the stay command or stay rather than attack. Repetition of always knowing that it will be stay leads to my own efficiency, but then when its sometimes something else boggles my mind. This is a major issue that needs consistency.

I learned to take my time to avoid missteps and after two hours I was able to understand which unit does what. A longer learning curve than expected for a genre that I know so well.

Each battle has a unit capacity, which is a good idea so its strategy rather than sheer numbers. If you reach your maximum capacity, you need to dismiss a unit and wait for the next turn before you are allowed to purchase a new one. To keep you on your toes, the unit capacity seems to shift, even during your turn itself. I've seen it go from twelve to fourteen.

Desert Ashes is a tough game to get into, but there is still fun here. Its a dirt cheap game that might be worth a risk to pick up. It has depth, a healthy campaign for the price and skirmishes to keep you playing.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
p0d
( 8.7 hrs on record )
Posted: December 30, 2015
This is a nice little turn based strategy game. It borrows heavily both in gameplay and in style from Advance Wars on the GBA but Desert Ashes is a bit more basic. Not that it suffers from that, in my opinion. Sometimes a bit of lightweight turn based strategy is just what I want.
It has come on since some of the 2014 reviews. I haven't noticed any bugs and the campaign maps don't require a return to the main menu screen any more. It's got a nice automatic save-game, which even saved the state of play when the game crashed once (I Alt-Tabbed).
All in all it's quite polished and does what it does well. It has some nice little touches like the ability to jump to any battle in the scenarios and the way it will save every unfinished game - even if you have several.
The only negative points are that you can't bypass the cut-scenes which can be a bit annoying when you are playing a scenario for the third or fourth time, the limited scenario battles (though it has a skirmish mode) and the rather basic AI of the computer opponent. So not for hard-core strategists but good fun for a quick turn-based blast if that's what you are after.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dr.Haris
( 8.0 hrs on record )
Posted: December 22, 2015
From 9,99€ i bought this game on sales 2,99€
Now the game have 4,99€ and at the moment sales -90% have 0,49€
I still crying my lost 2,99€...

Ignore my 8 hours,it's cause for 100% perfect game,and helping other players to take the online achievements,cause of course the multiplayer is dead.This game should be free to play game from the start of the release.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
*Logan*
( 12.2 hrs on record )
Posted: December 20, 2015
This is an excellent grid style turn based strategy game.
I wouldn't call it an RPG, because none of your troops level up or anything like that. This game plays very similar to Advance Wars on the GBA, where you capture locations to earn money, which is used to purchase units. All the different units have different strengths and weaknesses against other units, and the game offers an excellent tutorial explaining each one.
This game has a very unique visual style that reminds me of a robotic fantasy world. I've never seen anything like it. The artwork is crisp and colorful, and the game has a very HD look to it. It supports a variety of display resolutions and audio settings. The music and sound effects are very average, and the game has typos in the english language. I also found the game to pause briefly a lot regardless of visual settings before unit attacks, but for the most part this was pretty minor.
I should mention that the unique menu system in this game can be moved around if you click the mouse and hold the image and pull it to the left and down. You will find visual options and the exit game button with this method of menu interaction. It's rather unusual and not very obvious.
This unique menu system allows you to play a campaign mission while searching for a game room to join online and hosting one at the same time. You can then easily switch between the game windows and monitor many in progress games or online game searches. I think it's really useful.
If you like such games as Shining Force, Galaxy Admirals, or Advance Wars, you won't be dissappointed here. This is a solid turn based strategy game and deserves much more notice than it seems to get.
I picked this game up while it was on sale for $1.09 CDN and I found that to be a great deal. Even the current full price of $5.49 CDN is a decent for what you get here.
Recommended!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
GrifGambino
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: December 18, 2015
How is this game not being sued by the makers of advanced war for GBA? it legit has the same mapping and battle scenes xD
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Pellefant
( 12.4 hrs on record )
Posted: August 29, 2015
Desert Ashes is a casual turnbased strategygame that is easy on the eyes and not too taxing on the brain. I especially like the battle scene animations, some of the designs make me think of Boris Vallejo for some reason. Controlling the units with a gamepad works surprisingly well too. There are a few strange design decisions, like how you must go back to the main menu to move on to the next part of the campaign, but nothing that can't be easily endured. All in all a surprisingly enjoyable experience. 8/10.

Note: I haven't tried multiplayer, some say it doesn't work, but multi is not important for me so it doesn't affect my score.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[cwz] kainlane
( 2.7 hrs on record )
Posted: August 24, 2015
Rolled the random wheel of backlog games for Steam last night and got this.
TL;DR - mixed is a good rating. I would rate it neutral.

I was a little worried to see it was mixed review, but honestly it was a lot better than I expected. There were some serious UI issues and bugged music (where if I pulled up steam overlay or the menu [can’t remember which] it would get stuck on repeating the same couple notes, until it fixed itself). I thought I completed the campaign in about 15 minutes and it was only the training section, but the UI is stupid in how you pick your episodes or some crap. The UI is also stupid in that if you miss the (admittedly giant) button it resets what move you’ve done. And some other little niggles. Mouse doesn’t always work, need to use arrows in menus, etc.

Gameplay wise, it was ok. a pretty simplified grid turn based strategy. Has some semblance of a story, but it’s just generally weird creatures vs. weird creatures. On that note, the art is very bizarre, but actually pretty good. The animations are stiff, but they still look ok. Creatures remind me of something out of Zeno Clash (very weird game if you’ve tried that).

The fighting has 3 major unit types, air, infantry, and heavy. I think water units are considered heavy. Infantry > air > heavy > infantry. Standard triangle of force. You have different levels amongst each, and they have different ranges to attack from. Though oddly, if I attack with a long range, their short range can still counter.

There is a small environment change. Each turn is considered an hour and in the middle of the night in the cycle, the water freezes over so you can move land units across it. The color of environment changes each hour too. For how far I am into the game, that's the only environment changes that I've seen.

I did not attempt multiplayer. I'd be pretty surprised if there were enough people playing to find a game. Another reviewer said the mp was completely broken and inaccessible.

Overall review, love the weird art, the gameplay is kind of mediocre.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mark Strong
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 12, 2015
worst game on the planet

- whatever resolution you choose, you have to scroll in all directions all the Time because Screen is not fitting
- multiplayer matchmaking does not function well. sessions get stuck before starting and you have severall sessions open
which you cant close
- graphics 0/10

DONT BUY THIS EVEN ON 90% SALE. ITS JUST SPAMMING YOUR DISC !!!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Hybrid
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 7, 2015
Fun turn-based combat. Simple and enjoyable.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
28 of 31 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
Desert Ashes is very colorful and interesting looking turn-based strategy. Paired with the standard turn-based mechanics is a day/night cycle. The only difference I've noticed about it is, that the ocean / water freezes from 0:00 am to 4:00 am and you can walk over it with your units - a very viable blitzkrieg strategy, as most of the maps have a reasonable amounts of water. Beware though, if the day comes and your units are over water - they drown and you lose them.
The menu is really cool and reminds me of XrossMediaBar and you can have multiple "games" running at the same time - a single player campaign or two, a skirmish with the AI or even a multiplayer match, so you can continue advancing the single player campaign, while waiting for your opponent to end his turn. The switching between "games" is smooth and instantaneous. This leads us to the next interesting fact - there are no save games - you save the game by "cloning" it - so after the "save" you will have 2 instances of the same game running simultaneously. It's like by saving the game you create a different timeline in the multiverse :)
As far as I can tell, there are 3 single player campaigns, the first one is the tutorial one and I'm midway through the second ( or so I think). In both of those you're in charge of the winged crusade and fight versus the landians. I think in the 3d campaign you get to play the landians. In my opinion both "races" have similar units, just looking and named differently. As far as I can tell, each race has 10 different units : 2 air , 2 water and the rest are ground ones. The relationship between the units is the standard for strategies triangle : heavy>infantry>air>heavy so you need a good mixture of units in order to win, and I like that.
Beside the single player campaign, the game offers Multiplayer and Skirmish(vs AI or local coop). Those will probably offer the most of the replayability value. In skirmish you can play Annihilation - kill all enemy units on the map to win, or Conquer - capture all the enemy H.Q., while in Multiplayer a third mode is available - Assassination - destroy a specific enemy unit to win, while protecting yours. I haven't had the pleasure to play anything, but the single player campaigns, so that's all I know about the other modes.
I find the music of the game reasonable and fitting with the overall feel of the game. I couldn't find any keyboard shortcuts, but Enter, as the end turn key, but I think that's actually enough. The control over your units is pretty good, as you can move them into position, check what enemy you can attack, decide to attack it and see how much damage you're expected to inflict and then decide do you want to complete that action, or just cancel and return the unit in it initial state from the start of the turn. Once the unit has decided to attack or stay at a new position, that decision is final for the turn, as there is no remaining movement points or similar, as seen in another games of the genre.
I think the game is easy to recommend with the current 50% sale, as it's a well rounded turn-based strategy, With online and local multiplayer, and skirmish vs AI, Steam achievements and trading cards, the game covers all the bases and it's definitely worth it!
TL: DR you can check my overview video - where I complete the 2nd mission of the 2nd campaign :
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=340170332
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
33 of 42 people (79%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
8.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 18, 2014
I have to agree with ZoomTheZoom. It really does run like a beta. The concept is great, but there are bugs. Lots of bugs. I have been completely unable to log in to play a multiplayer game, and the website that hosts the game evidently does not exist. That's a big issue, especially since several of the achievements involve playing multiplayer games.

Another wierd bug is the way you can have several games running at once. Okay, not an issue per se. But here's the problem. Once you beat a campaign or skirmish, there's no credit role, no returning to the title screen. It just stays on the "game over" screen, and you have to go to the menu from there and select a new game. So now you just have a bunch of games running that aren't really games, they're just game over screens from the games that you beat. I would love for someone to tell me if there's a way to change this. Maybe I'm just missing something? It's quite frustrating.

In terms of gameplay, the game is fun, if not a bit easy. I beat all three campaigns in under six hours. You want a turn based strategy game that's going to challenge you and take up all of your time? Check out Eador: Masters of the Broken World. I got about 300 hours into it before my computer broke and I had to start over again on a new machine. But I digress. In terms of units, Desert Ashes works like a complicated rock, paper, scissors game. Flyers are strong against heavy and naval units, heavies are best against infantry, and infantry take our flying units. And you have a nice selection of each of these kinds of units with varying degrees of power. But after the first few battles (which take like 10-30 minutes), you find a set of a few units that works for you and you can just exploit that for most of the game. The "unique day/night system" doesn't really do that much, and once you develop a strategy, you're pretty much good regardless of the day and night. And using terrain to your advantage only matters in one or two levels, and that's if you choose to worry about all of that. All of this has potential--it just needs to be beefed up a bit, made a bit more complicated and strategic.

The storyline is... um... well, there is one. But in the third campaign you play as the bad guys, which doesn't make sense. Why am I taking the role of the people that I was just fighting against and want to kill all the civilians? The storyline makes them almost sympathetic, but does all these little things to make us dislike them. And SPOILER ALERT: the game just kind of ends. There's no resolution. The bad guys get the upper hand because that's the last campaign and you play as them, and then... ? Seriously, five more dialogue boxes could have wrapped it up nicely, but it just ends, leaving you going "okay?"

I got it on sale for five bucks. Fine. No biggie. That's less than two gallons of gas, and I get much less mileage out of that. I don't feel gypped, but I do feel underwhelmed. I hope the developers see this, because there is a lot of potential for this game (maybe the addition of a fourth campaign to finish the story?), but as it is, it needs tweaking.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
23 of 25 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 6
Desert Ashes is a turn based strategy game on a grid with a dark fantasy theme. It manages to feel familiar, yet so alien at the same time. In traditional game of this genre you'd have infantry, cannons, ships, tanks, airplanes, battleships and so on, but with Desert Ashes you have spiders, dragons, demons and airborne creatures. The objective itself is simple, capture the enemy's base while defending your own. You get money with cities that belong to you and make units from fortresses. The game's biggest boast is a seasonal system that will freeze water allowing for ground based units to traverse them and naval units to get stuck. In practice this takes too long to be used that often.

Each unit has its type, movement, attack range, strength and weakness. The larger the attack range, the slower and more expensive it is. Air units are weak to infantry. Infantry is weak to heavy and heavy is weak to air. Its a solid rock-paper-scissor mechanic. Then they all have their range of attack which becomes an issue, because you can move and then attack rather than a balance where long range units can only attack or move. Heavies can only travel on flat ground while infantry can go over mountains.

On paper, I like the game. Its a fun, easy to play game with unnecessary frustrations. The dynamics are simpler than other games of the genre and twist them in slight ways. There are no airports, rather factories that can generate any unit with the exception of water bases will generate naval units. In combination with the rock-paper-scissors mechanic, this makes every factory dangerous.

When capturing a city, you first remove the opposition's capture rather than making your own. This will put more effort on the defender when their income has been nullified with a single turn. This allows you to free a city and stay moving at the cost of unclaimed cities that you never stuck around long enough to capture. Captures can be made only with infantry and an infantry of low health can capture just as quick as one with full health.

The terrain you're on gives you bonuses to your defense, but it feels like the rock-paper-scissor far outweighs any defense. Each unit has ten points of health that get whittled down until that unit is destroyed. Finding a cactus will replenish infantry and only infantry health in every season except the winter. Once again, as a dark fantasy game, cactus mean health. There is no health increase for standing on your own cities or factories nor any way to merge two damaged units of the same type. You can also sell a unit that is on a city for a refund.

Each unit can move and attack in a turn. When attacking you see who you can attack and the damage you will do along with if that unit can counter strike. The battles are cut scenes where you see your hideous creature and its low budget animation attack. Then its followed by watching the defender get attacked and then a counterattack from any surviving members.

There are three modes to the game, a campaign with three episodes and multiple missions. The first episode feels like a rushed tutorial before the second episode lets you get into the game. There's a multiplayer and a single player skirmish mode. Beyond that are a slew of other menu items, but its awkward getting to those items because you need to click and drag to the left to find them before you click and drag to scroll through the items. I smell mobile game design. Another indication of mobile design is when purchasing a new unit, you need to click it twice. One to show the unit and a second to buy it.

As for multiplayer, I attempted to login, but the first party support must have been pulled for this game. Even more interesting than that, if you're offline from Steam you cannot even open the game. I assume its because your Steam account is your login for multiplayer, even if you only want single player.

Skirmish mode lets you select from many different maps and face the computer or a friend in either conquer or annihilation game types. Kudos to dark ashes for making a map that looks like flesh peninsula extending up into water. There are two playable characters, but its sad there are no abilities to differentiate them in terms of gameplay. No strengths or weaknesses.

With each victory in the campaign, you're just shoved off to the next battle with no fanfare. A break to show you a score would have been nice and give a reason to replay each mission. Every new battle in the campaign kicks off with a lot of text that I just mash my way through. I have no investment with these creature characters.

My biggest hangup with the game is my inability to look at a spider and know that is a cannon, to look at a whale and know that is a battleship. To look at a depressed bird and see its a short range air vessel rather than a perky flying lizard to see that its a long range airborne cannon. Its easy to type what they are, but it seems so completely foreign.

Even if you've mastered which of your units do what, the enemy units are different than yours. Clicking on them reveals they're an enemy, but what type is a mystery unless you recognize it. They do the same things, but you need to recognize and understand, so its as if the game is in three different languages. The military strategy game that is typical, your units and the enemies units. It turns into guesswork. Is my troop safe here or are they safe there?

Every creature is a different color, green, blue, red, yellow, white and so on, so its tough telling your army apart from your foe's. They all face south, so there's no help there. This becomes a major issue when you look at a crowded map and need to find all your units to play. If you chose to end a turn, the game never warns you there are unused units that need to move. Even though everything is on a grid, some units and your home base can obscure units behind them.

One of the infuriating things about the game is how I was able to dismiss a unit by accident several times. When you select a unit, you see flashes of red, units you can attack. So its easy just to select the unit and then attack. Well sometimes those highlighted units are out of range, so in place of attack is dismiss. There is no confirmation, they are just gone. It gets worse, because five percent of the time, the unit menu will start you on the dismiss command rather than the stay command or stay rather than attack. Repetition of always knowing that it will be stay leads to my own efficiency, but then when its sometimes something else boggles my mind. This is a major issue that needs consistency.

I learned to take my time to avoid missteps and after two hours I was able to understand which unit does what. A longer learning curve than expected for a genre that I know so well.

Each battle has a unit capacity, which is a good idea so its strategy rather than sheer numbers. If you reach your maximum capacity, you need to dismiss a unit and wait for the next turn before you are allowed to purchase a new one. To keep you on your toes, the unit capacity seems to shift, even during your turn itself. I've seen it go from twelve to fourteen.

Desert Ashes is a tough game to get into, but there is still fun here. Its a dirt cheap game that might be worth a risk to pick up. It has depth, a healthy campaign for the price and skirmishes to keep you playing.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
31 of 43 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
The game at this point plays like an early beta release...

Throughout the campaign mode the already weak dialogue is riddled with basic spelling errors, the game crashes occasionally, and when you try to create an account to play the online multiplier you are actually linked to a barren site that simply says "Coming soon". (See for yourself at their link - mecho.net) It is disengenious and borderline criminal to release the game in this state and to charge 9.99$ or the $4.99 I myself purchased it for.

I would urge anyone considering buying the game to wait until these egregious issues have been resolved.

Edit: Just wanted to share perhaps the best dialogue of the game so far, this is a direct quote: "And well... you what he can do... snoooort" (Screenshot of this genius line in my profile)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
21 of 27 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 22, 2015
Summary (and TL;DR)

Pros:
+ Gameplay mechanics similar to Advanced Wars
+ Amazing soundtrack!
+ Hot-seat local multiplayer

Cons:
- Stupid enemy AI, making the game not challenging
- Low variety of troops and terrains
- No map editor
- A bit inconvenient interface
- Buggy multiplayer
- The story/setting and game mechanics, while both interesting are pretty dull/basic

Generally, it's hard for me to recommend this game at the state it got released, as the campaign and AI skirmishes won't offer much and the multiplayer is bugged and almost no one is playing it.
However, the game is currently 90% off at 0,99€ (or equivalent) as well as bundled once (as of late January 2015). It also have trading cards, making it extremely cheap to try. It may be also interesting for achievement hunters, as long as you have someone to complete the multiplayer achievements with. It may also appear to die-hand Advanced Wars fans as a nice title to feature on Steam.

Detailed review
First of all, let me start by stating that this game originally came as an indie title on PS Vita (which may make the game look better on PS Vita in the comparison to the PC). However, I will review this game as a PC title.

It's also worth noting, that the game mechnanics are basically the same as a Famicom/Advanced Wars game, probably the best known being the Advanced Wars for GBA.

Starting with the review, however - the first feeling I got when launching the game was if at it was a tablet/mobile port, as the menu controls and overall feeling of the game feels so. There is also no hints about that so it took me a while to figure. A short while but still - the menu controls feels definitely weird on the PC. Also when we're at it - the game allows to simultaneously play several matches. While the feature is not nice (though unneeded for single player most of the time) ending a match doesn't bring you to menu, which is a bit confusing. Other than that there are some minor issues with the interface, but overall it's okayish - none of it doesn't make the game unplayable at least.

The game is split into 3 campaigns you can start at any time. Each campaign have 7 maps though initially only the first one is unlocked although there is a little backstory that makes sense if they are played in order. However, it's a bit misleading, as the first campaign actually serves as the tutorial, making it weird to skip - the fact although is nowhere marked, so it may be a bit misleading.

The story and the whole setting overall have it's charm, although the story is a bit bland and lacking - some things are not explained well enough and the game ends in a cliffhanger - I would love to see the continuation though. The character designs are a bit hilarious and awkward looking sometimes, but that's just my personal opinion

The game mechanics are simple once you get hang of them, and if you like turn based strategies, I'm sire you will like it (I actually recommend trying out the Wars series, especially the Advanced Wars if you like the mechanics of the game). While the tutorial explains most of the basics, the most advanced features are not explained (like the terrain bonuses, win conditions and maximum number of troops. You will figure them out eventually, but there could be a help page in game with the reference of some kinds. Also, the info about the enemy troops is very limited. Until you learn which troop is which you may have hard time judging which troop is stronger than the other.

There is also a time mechanic, which is pretty nice, but unfortunately the only thing that happens as the time passes is freezing water. Id adds to the game mechanics but that aspect could be expanded more (like making certain troops stronger or terrain types more effective in certain hours). It is also worth noting that there is, unfortunately just a small variety of the units and terrains. Map editor would be a nice addition too, unfortunately there is nothing like that in game :(.

Another shame of the game is that the enemy AI is really dump. Once you get the hang of the game's mechanics winning any of the game is not hard, even if you make some mistakes. There is a skirmish mode with AI but none of the missions are really challenging as there are no difficulty options or handicap settings. which makes the game challenging only vs the real opponent.

So - the multiplayer. First, let's mention that there is a hot-seat feature in skirmishes allowing playing on the same PC which is nice. Now for the real multiplayer - you have to (I'm not sure, maybe it's optional though) create a new account on developer's website - mecho.net. While the in-game feature is working fine, the whole website was never set up as of January 2015, though it's nitpicking from my side, as the website is not really needed. It may be a good question though what would happen with the game's multiplayer in event the website is closed? There are some achievements related to playing online and one for leveling up, at the very least. However, as of now, the core feature works fine, so it's okay. Having an account allows you to level up and unlock new perks (something not available in single player). There are also leaderboards but I'm not sure if they work correctly (if they do, then I'm a level 2 with a world rank of #1 o.O.

However - multiplayer IS buggy. Sometimes the game throws a "game error". Restarting seems to help, but before that, whole game progress is lost. There is also no turn limit, making the game possible to last for an extended period of time if your opponent isn't in front of the PC, as the games and invites seems to persist after you close the game. Unfortunately, there are no Steam Turn Notifications for this game :(. There is not much player too, unfortunately and you obviously can't cross-play with the PS Vita users which I'd have to admit, would potentially make multiplayer a lot better.

In terms of audio-visuals - the graphics are colorful, as you can see on the screens and generally look nice. However, the graphics are very basic and especially animations may look a bit amateurish (but again, it's a PS Vita port). The audio effects are, again, "okayish". A really nice feature though is the soundtrack which is amazing IMO! The soundtrack is not included, but the OGG files can be extracted from the game files easily with the help of 7-zip.

It's also worth noting, that while you can have multiple games launched at once, there are only two players on the map - and only two factions to choose from (which vary only aesthetically) and quite small maps to fit in. No big maps or 3+ players/AI on the same game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
16 of 21 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 20, 2015
Turn based strategy with rock, paper, scissors type units. There are 3 scenarios total, a skirmish mode, and it has multiplayer. The story is poorly written, and the writers didn't bother to even bother to spellcheck "thier" work.

The AI is very terrible in both the scenarios and the skirmish mode. Game is very easy on skirmish mode and at least the first 2 out of 3 scenarios (didn't bother to play the last one).

The steam trading cards did drop very quickly. If you have a friend willing to play this as well, it would probably be an easy game to 100% achievements on. I haven't tried the multiplayer, but the multiplayer achievements didn't look tough.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 14, 2015
CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS.

Yeah, this is a game you can win by zerg rushing every time.

A half-decent mobile game badly ported to PC, as aggravating as enjoyable, with cutesy graphics and a completely dead multiplayer. (Sucks that 4 of its 11 achievements are based on winning multiplayer matches, though it only takes one for 2 of them.) Some problems are the port, but some are just built in.

The only way this game could be more casual is being pay-to-win (no freemium, yay), with its bright cheery graphics, easy money, and small levels that only take a dozen rounds each with little strategy. Although the day/night cycle SHOULD offer a game-changing twist, the water/ice is just an occasional convenience, and almost every single-player level can be easily won by zerg rushing the enemy. The AI isn't very strong, and the first player has an almost insurmountable advantage thanks to the order battles occur. There's zero randomness, zero specials, and once you know the units you can quickly min-max the game and win everything. A 4X player will find almost no depth here.

And yet I think it's kind of cool. It gives some random casual iPhone-like entertainment in between meatier games, and making tons of units and wiping out everything can be surprisingly cathartic. I just wouldn't pay much for it.

I wish it had been fully made for the PC, because so many things require you to sweep your mouse from one end of the screen and back just to give orders. It's ok for a touchscreen, though it'd still have some issues there, but a pain in the ♥♥♥ with a mouse. Aside from that, having no way to cancel an accidental order is annoying, the music sometimes skips, and the text and animations are interminable. No option menu at all.

Wait for a sale and give it a go. It's no Highborn, but it might amuse you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 29, 2015
Desert Ashes is a casual turnbased strategygame that is easy on the eyes and not too taxing on the brain. I especially like the battle scene animations, some of the designs make me think of Boris Vallejo for some reason. Controlling the units with a gamepad works surprisingly well too. There are a few strange design decisions, like how you must go back to the main menu to move on to the next part of the campaign, but nothing that can't be easily endured. All in all a surprisingly enjoyable experience. 8/10.

Note: I haven't tried multiplayer, some say it doesn't work, but multi is not important for me so it doesn't affect my score.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2014
What would happen if Jim Henson and Tim Burton made an Advance Wars type of game? Desert Ashes would be the result. Crisp and vibrant graphics with wonderfully wacky troop designs. Desert Ashes is a fantastic game with the only niggles being that the campaign is short and it's a bit on the easy side. But there's other modes like Skirmish and multiplayer, so there's a lot of fun to be had.

I highly recommend the game to anyone who likes turn based strategy games like Advanced Wars.

If the campaign was longer this game would go from a 7 to an 8.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
Recommended
12.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2015
This is an excellent grid style turn based strategy game.
I wouldn't call it an RPG, because none of your troops level up or anything like that. This game plays very similar to Advance Wars on the GBA, where you capture locations to earn money, which is used to purchase units. All the different units have different strengths and weaknesses against other units, and the game offers an excellent tutorial explaining each one.
This game has a very unique visual style that reminds me of a robotic fantasy world. I've never seen anything like it. The artwork is crisp and colorful, and the game has a very HD look to it. It supports a variety of display resolutions and audio settings. The music and sound effects are very average, and the game has typos in the english language. I also found the game to pause briefly a lot regardless of visual settings before unit attacks, but for the most part this was pretty minor.
I should mention that the unique menu system in this game can be moved around if you click the mouse and hold the image and pull it to the left and down. You will find visual options and the exit game button with this method of menu interaction. It's rather unusual and not very obvious.
This unique menu system allows you to play a campaign mission while searching for a game room to join online and hosting one at the same time. You can then easily switch between the game windows and monitor many in progress games or online game searches. I think it's really useful.
If you like such games as Shining Force, Galaxy Admirals, or Advance Wars, you won't be dissappointed here. This is a solid turn based strategy game and deserves much more notice than it seems to get.
I picked this game up while it was on sale for $1.09 CDN and I found that to be a great deal. Even the current full price of $5.49 CDN is a decent for what you get here.
Recommended!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny