Newly-added Games

Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)

A hint of trepidation arises whenever the "Powers That Be" decide that "Your Cool Thing" needs a bigger audience, primarily because "What They Like" and "Why You Like It" don't always mesh. Take Fire Emblem, possibly the most hardcore of Nintendo's franchises — not "hardcore" in the nonsense term of it appealing primarily to a traditional gaming audience, but because it is by its very nature a beautifully unforgiving beast. Expanding the base tends to mean dulling its claws, and the risk is that it'll no longer sink them in as deep.

To love Fire Emblem is to feast up on the throne of Damocles, but not everyone wants to chow down with a sword over their brain. It's clear that Nintendo would like more people to actually pay money for Fire Emblem: Awakening, so some of the series' idiosyncrasies big and small are smoothed out or tweaked, including the option to switch off the whole eternal sleep thing — and without penalty at that. Doing so may fly in the face of what Fire Emblem fans love about Fire Emblem, but, after all, it's only an option, tucked away safely in the likely healthier Casual mode you can choose to ignore. Or jump straight into. Who are we to judge?

If concessions like that are what it takes to continue to see high-caliber games of this ilk then Nintendo can tweak away; Awakening may be the most accessible Fire Emblem to date but retains its hardcore strategic faculties for those who are already very happy with the franchise, thank-you-very-much, and adds a whole bunch of other modern-day niceties on top of it that anyone can get behind. Damocles can have his delicious cake - and eat it, too.
The events of Fire Emblem: Awakening are set years past that of any other Fire Emblem entry, keeping its legacy at a distance far enough to prevent new players from feeling lost but with enough insider nudges to satisfy series veterans. After creating your character - named Robin by default - they are woken in a field by a group of soldiers led by Price Chrom of Ylisse. Robin doesn't remember who they are or where they came from, but soon finds themselves joining Chrom's cause in the role of tactician, fighting for the future of the kingdom. While we can't say the overarching plot feels wholly unique - if we had a dollar for every time we've seen an amnesiac at the center of an RPG story, we'd be happily shacked up in the Bahamas by now - interest in Fire Emblem: Awakening's tale of heroism and bravery against seemingly impossible odds is propelled in its near-entirety by the relationships between the game's characters - all of which come with difficult-to-pronounce names. Stoic, heroic and witty to the end, each cast member - no matter how minor the role - has a strong presence and unique voice thanks to some really great writing.

Watching these personalities interact and build relationships is its own kind of reward off the battlefield, as are the gorgeous, fully voice-acted cut-scenes for key plot points, although this typically involves an awful lot of reading between skirmishes. Partial voice acting peppers the wealth of dialogue, where a character blurts something audible at the beginning of their lines, but this tends to be hit-or-miss affair as sometimes what a character says doesn't align directly with the on-screen text. Still, it's more interesting than just text and works often enough to grow on you. You can even switch the voice track to the original Japanese, if you're so inclined.
There is certainly enough time for Fire Emblem: Awakening to grow on you as the campaign is quite lengthy, easily breaching 25 hours on a straight-shot through — indulging in the dozens of optional missions and side-scraps can tick up that clock significantly, not to mention the free SpotPass and paid downloadable missions slated to hit from day one. That's a lot of strategizing, and in typical Fire Emblem fashion there is a great depth to fighting that never stops rewarding smart thinking or punishing lapses of judgment no matter how temporary. It can be frustrating to get knocked on your back at the end of a contentious fight, but then again, it was probably your fault anyway.

Each side takes turns moving their dozen or so units of assorted types around the map in a limited fashion, allowing one action per unit - move, attack, use an item and such. The battle mechanics build on a simple Rock-Paper-Scissors-type weapon triangle, and on top of that certain weapon types are more effective against assorted units. It sounds simple, but in practice requires a lot of careful consideration to maximize your turn - not only must you try to figure out the most powerful way to attack your opponent, but also ensure proper footing so you don't get anyone killed when your enemy takes their turn. Successful routings require surveying the terrain, arming with the proper equipment and thinking two steps ahead. The campaign loves to toy with your emotions, often pitting you against what seems like an insurmountable enemy only to throw in an empowering twist somewhere down the line - or a devastating one, if you're unlucky.
As units level up they grow stronger and more capable with their weapons, which in turn yields higher damages and resistances and allows the wielding of more powerful arms. You can change or upgrade a unit's class or abilities with items and Miyagi them to their true potential. Key to this entry are character relationships; while they are fun to watch unfold off the battlefield, how chummy everyone is together matters even more in the thick of it. The buddy system reigns supreme in Fire Emblem: Awakening: placing units next to each other in battle allows them to influence stats like hit, dodge and critical rates, jump in to protect from a blow or themselves swoop in with an extra strike. The more that the same units fight together, the stronger their relationship becomes, which can be crucial in determining whether they live or die.

At the outset of a campaign you can pick between Casual and Classic rules, and once selected you cannot switch. When playing in Casual mode, death isn't such a big deal: your units hit the sidelines for the rest of the battle but are happy to join in with the next fray. Without the fear of permanent loss this style of play allows for more reckless action, although suffering too many losses in one battle is a sure-fire way to not win. Classic is more demanding in this area as a dead unit is, as one might imagine in reality, really dead. A steady stream of new units prevents your roster from depleting too much, but losing a unit you've groomed and become attached to because of a poorly reasoned move is a good way to drive yourself crazy. There are none of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon's Save Points on the maps so in Classic mode there is no saving while in battle; you can bookmark a fight and resume it later, but if you want to avoid a death then you'll have to restart the chapter. Considering the stiff challenge of later portions of the game, restarting a map can become a frustratingly common occurrence - this is one of those games where your Activity Log and in-game timer will never align. In Casual mode you can save anywhere at any time, making deaths even less of a setback.
There are other tweaks to the mechanics that a newcomer might not notice but an old-timer will appreciate; legacy quirks have been ironed out by default to make for a smoother experience, like being able to approach an enemy unit before picking a weapon. Since there's already so much on your tactician's plate, anything to help make their life a little easier is very welcome, but grizzled veterans who hate change can switch off a bunch of settings to play the game they want.
Easy on the eyes for the most part, Awakening's presentation is a real step above prior portable outings but not quite up there with the past few home console entries. The aforementioned CG cut-scenes have some of the best art design that we've seen on the handheld so far, beautifully bringing the world to life with vivid anime detail. Half of the exposition makes use of illustrated talking head-style exchanges with slightly tweaked facial expressions — the art is lovely and effective for its purpose but comes off a little static somewhere around the halfway point. The 3D portions are somewhat less detailed and impressive but they too get the job done, lending some much-needed dynamism to battles even if it takes some focus to get past how none of the characters appear to have any feet. The maps don't generally look all that remarkable but fulfill their utilitarian purpose - were they any busier then they'd likely distract, after all, and the 2D sprites used relay information more clearly than a scaled-down polygonal model would on this screen. Plus they look neat and have a lot of personality, making it really easy to spot who is who out there.

Awakening's wonderfully smooth campaign is paired with a suite of multiplayer modes in both local and StreetPass flavors. Alongside an ally in the same room, Double Duel has each player choose three friendly units from their campaigns to march into battle against an AI army, taking turns to send in a hero and buddy unit. Defeat nets you nothing, nor do your units stay dead here, but as it isn't the same type of tactical combat as the rest of the game - more of a stat fight, really - there's little risk involved, and thus a less fulfilling reward. Double Duel victories yield Renown to unlock bonus items and grow a scary number next to your name for StreetPass battles, the far more interesting social mode where you select an army of 10 to send out into the ether to do battle with, recruit or buy wares from visiting platoons. StreetPass Sorties take the place of online multiplayer, which is kind of a bummer to have removed for those who never seem to find themselves around fellow 3DS owners.


Fire Emblem: Awakening's masterful tightrope walk between luring in curious onlookers and appealing to the hardest of cores is a sight to behold. It doesn't matter whether you've been strategizing with Marth since the NES days or only know him as the weird blue-haired guy from Super Smash Bros: Fire Emblem: Awakening's tale of heroism, colorful cast of characters and richly rewarding gameplay are sure to sink their talons in for a very long time. Who knows, with practice a beginner might even come around to the whole perma-death challenge thing. While the multiplayer options may be a little iffy depending on your circumstances, the sheer amount of quality content and replay value make this one icon sure to spend a long time on your 3DS menu. Have no fear: Fire Emblem: Awakening is here.

Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (3DS)

As much as it will pain Castlevania fans to admit, the series was in a pretty bad state prior to the release of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow in 2010. Although a string of "Metroidvania" entries — produced under the guidance of the enigmatic Koji "IGA" Igarashi — had hit the mark from a critical standpoint, less worthy instalments dragged the brand downwards (Castlevania Judgment, anyone?) and its commercial performance remained decidedly lackluster.

In order to keep pace with the latest action adventure experiences, fresh blood was required — and Madrid-based MercurySteam provided just that. Lords of Shadow may have annoyed purists raised on the likes of Dracula X: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but it achieved its goal — at the time of writing it's the best-selling entry in the entire lineage, according to Konami. It has also spawned two sequels, one of which is currently in production and the other the subject of this review.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate takes place after the cataclysmic events of the original Lords of Shadow, and if you've not played that particular game yet and wish to avoid spoilers, we advise you stop reading now. Lords of Shadow protagonist Gabriel Belmont has become Dracula, and his son Trevor — whose existence he is unaware of at the time of his transformation — has been taken under the protection of the Brotherhood of Light as a baby. In time, Trevor has a son of his own — Simon — who is also separated from his parents at an early age and forced to fend for himself. The game puts you in the shoes of several different characters, but the main quest begins in earnest as Simon Belmont enters Dracula's castle to claim vengeance on the one who apparently killed his father many years ago.
It's impossible to elaborate too much on this epic, multi-generational storyline without ruining the game; suffice to say it is one of Mirror of Fate's strongest features. The developer has done an excellent job of re-purposing famous names from the Castlevania series and creating its own self-contained vision of the franchise. The same purists who baulked at Lords of Shadow's re-booting of the Castlevania origin story will no doubt be equally aggrieved at the liberties MercurySteam has taken here, but when detached from the rest of the bloodline, Mirror of Fate ironically has one of the best plots yet seen in a Castlevania title. It helps to have played the original Lords of Shadow, but it's by no means a prerequisite.

Despite the desire to tear up the Castlevania rule book and start all over again, the developer has maintained plenty of solid bonds with previous games, and these are sure to go some way to winning over life-long fans. Names such as Schneider, Gandolfi and Belnades — taken from Castlevania 64, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse respectively — are bandied about at several points, and monsters such as skeletons, mermen and flea-men all make an appearance, tangibly linking Mirror of Fate to past instalments.
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Mirror of Fate also adheres to the tried-and-tested Metroidvania blueprint; the top display shows the 2.5D gameplay while the bottom is reserved for a map, as well as inventory management — just as it was in the DS titles Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia. However, as was asserted by the game's producer prior to release, Mirror of Fate isn't exactly the same as these esteemed entries. The most obvious change — and the one that even caused us moments of doubt when we previewed the game last year — is the combat. Previous Castlevania titles were all about one-hit kills and dashing through environments quickly, but in Mirror of Fate there's a greater focus on combination attacks and special moves.

The combat engine is lifted almost wholesale from the original Lords of Shadow, and while it does slow down the platforming action a little, it actually adds considerable depth to proceedings. Most enemies take several hits to slay and many will block your blows before countering with an unstoppable offensive. Simply hammering the attack buttons won't do you any good here; you need to learn the various combo attacks, mix in mid-air juggles and unlock guard-shattering special moves in order to succeed.
Grapple moves come into play when your opponent is stunned, allowing you to end their pitiful life with a spectacular finishing move which causes the camera to zoom in for the best view. Experience points are awarded for victory in battle, and as your level increases so too do the number of attacks available to your character. Fighting common foes is engaging enough, but it's the boss battles which really open up Mirror of Fate. Each contest demands a varied range of tactics and it usually takes a few goes before you lock down the winning pattern. Thankfully, generous checkpointing means that failure is never a major irritation.

With combat taking centre stage, the emphasis on exploration is lessened significantly from previous entries in the franchise. While it's possible to backtrack through the castle and visit areas more than once, you're effectively funnelled down the correct path by red arrows on the map screen which show where you should be going. This removes the need to painstakingly cover every inch of Dracula's crumbling citadel in case you miss a secret exit or pathway, but it also speeds things up and prevents players from getting frustrated when they can't find how to proceed — a common issue with the traditional Metroidvania titles.
The limited variety of collectable items is another factor which curtails the need — and desire — to explore. Aside from picking up ammo for your secondary armament, reading scrolls left by fallen warriors and finding chests which expand your vitality, magical power and ammo stock, there's no real reason to investigate every nook and cranny. Enemies don't drop special items either, which means you don't have the "gotta catch 'em all" collectability element which made RPG-inspired Castlevania titles like Symphony of the Night and Portrait of Ruin so addictive. While this might come as a crushing disappointment to seasoned fans, it's actually quite a positive change in some ways; the action is more focused and straightforward, and the already impressive amount of play time available means you're not going to be stuck for entertainment, despite the toning down of RPG elements. Having said that, we did at several points find ourselves wishing there were more things to collect and secrets to uncover.

Visually, Mirror of Fate contains moments of sheer, unadulterated beauty. The 3D effect is astounding, and works especially well with the fixed 2D viewpoint. When navigating the highest points of the castle, you can see distant towers in perfect perspective, while closer objects remain slightly out of focus. 3D is used to good effect to add tension, such as monsters quickly dashing past the player's gaze in the foreground, unseen by the character you're controlling. There are points where the graphical fidelity drops slightly and the frame rate isn't as smooth as we'd like, but these are minor grievances when you consider the standard of the overall package. It's worth noting the quality of the cutscenes, which are rendered in real-time but use a cel-shaded style which we personally think is superior to that of the main in-game visuals. Even so, Mirror of Fate is a fine-looking 3DS title, and no mistake.
Special mention must also go to the music, which is nothing short of sublime. Óscar Araujo's score manages to be brooding, triumphant, emotional and chilling in equal measure, despite not revisiting any of the traditional fan-favourite Castlevania tracks. Araujo is clearly a composer of incredible talent, and while his work on the Lords of Shadow series may be vastly different to what fans are used to, his contribution here is just as significant as the work of Michiru Yamane and Masanori Adachi.


Although the 2D perspective and Metroidvania-style features call to mind past classics, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate shouldn't be directly compared to previous games in Konami's long-running vampire-huntittle differently. While elements of exploration and item collection remain, they are drastically scaled back when compared to the likes of Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow — which could be a positive or a negative, depending on your personal taste. Instead, MercurySteam's vision of Castlevania is built around a deep combat engine which tries to make each and every enemy encounter a rewarding and challenging experience. Factor in some impressive visuals, gorgeous music and taxing boss battles — not to mention a fantastic story and more replay value than you might at first imagine — and you've got a game which can stand proud in the Castlevania bloodline. Sometimes, a little change is a good thing.

Penguins of Madagascar (3DS)

Everybody loves penguins, right? Well, judging by the success of the Madagascar movie spin-off Penguins of Madagascar it would seem so. 

The success of a family CGI movie almost certainly results in two things - more movies in the same vein, and a video game adaption for the franchise. Penguins of Madagascar is certainly no exception, and the task of turning the four feathered friends into video game heroes fell to publisher Little Orbit, which is no stranger to movie-inspired video games. Much like the recently reviewed Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue for Wii U and 3DS (also from Little Orbit), the handheld iteration of Penguins of Madagascar is identical to the console counterpart, with no varying attributes between the two.

Taking control of Kowalski, Skipper, Rico and Private, you are tasked with infiltrating the stronghold of Fort Knox. However, these flightless birds have no desire for gold, and instead are on a mission to steal Fort Knox's supply of Cheezy Dibbles as their reward. Whilst unlawfully gathering their stash of potato snacks they stumble upon a diabolical scheme, contrived by the evil cephalopod, Dr. Octavius Brine. The band of penguins must then work to overcome the plan and thwart the evil Doctor.

If this sounds familiar then, as highlighted in our introduction, that's because it is - our review of the Wii U version says much the same thing. Once again this is a "stealth" platformer in the very loosest sense of the word. Whilst infiltrating the various locations, Kowalski, Skipper, Rico and Private must avoid being caught by the droves of Octopi guards on patrol and numerous security cameras dotted throughout the stages. The enemy AI particularly forgiving, though, so you can practically run right past them and suffer no consequences; while understandable considering the target audience, it still offers little genuine challenge. The field of vision of the guards is particularly laughable, and you can often stand in plain view without being detected; sure to offend Octopi everywhere given their characteristically keen eyesight (ask a marine biologist).

Penguins of Madasgar does have the odd interesting feature or two, such as the detection gauge. Unlike some more frustrating stealth moments that we see in games, being spotted doesn't instantly result in a game over. Instead, the longer you remain in the enemy's field of view the more the detection bar gradually fills, causing a game over upon it reaching maximum capacity. Interesting as this feature may be, maxing out the detection guage is easy to avoid, and simply sprinting away from the enemy will leave you safe and unpursued; Metal Gear this 'ain't.

During the mission, each of the four penguins can carry out unique abilities in order to proceed through the stages. Rico who can do a speed dash, Private can disguise himself as objects such as plant pots, Skipper can stun slap enemies and Kowalski can perform a hover for a few seconds, that we like to refer to as "fart propulsion". It is up to the player to determine how and when to use each character's skill sets, although certain functions specifically require a set penguin for secondary abilities that each possesses. These are colour coded to make the process even easier. For example, Kowalski (who is assigned the blue colour) can hack into computer terminals (helpfully coloured blue). These special actions offer varying forms of gameplay, however, anyone beyond the age of five may scoff at the simplicity. For example, hacking computer terminals requires you to connect the glowing sides of hexagons, whilst blowing open doors with explosives requires a short game of Simon Says before detonation. Espionage has never been easier, but considering the material that's arguably the right approach.

The gameplay can sometimes become rather confusing, however. For an experience that is - on the face of it - relatively easy, wandering around a labyrinth of rooms and offices over a number of floors can become quite disorienting. With no map available, your memory and "spot the difference" skills are paramount in order to discern one area from another. Frustratingly, one often takes a new path only to find a dead end filled with a rather unsatisfying stash of cheesy potato snacks. Collecting these will fill up some of the optional bonus requirements that can be viewed on the bottom screen (times detected, completion under a certain time etc.), but in the grand scheme of things are rather pointless, despite the initial plot of the game.

Penguins of Madagascar on the 3DS is acceptable from a visual perspective, but unsurprisingly lacks the sheen of the Wii U equivalent. Unfortunately, like Little Orbit's other recent movie adaptation - Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue - there is a distinct absence of cutscenes. It is baffling that games based on the colourful, comical CGI movies of Pixar and Dreamworks lack the traits which make the movies so popular, especially when one considers the appeal that the Penguins' goofy antics and voices have over their audience. Instead, the story is provided with moving footage of the characters impassive dialogue presenting with boxed text. The choice to be quite so text heavy, given that Penguins of Madagascar is a title which is undoubtedly aimed at the younger audience, is certainly an odd one; gamers may find themselves mashing the buttons in a blasé fashion simply to get back to the gameplay. With the lack of voices, gameplay is instead accompanied by the odd grunt, slapstick sound effect and rather generic "Mission Impossible"-style espionage music. Considering the subject matter, Penguins of Madagascar lacks the charm of the movies it's based on and all of the potential comedy that one would expect is missing.

New Capcom bundle brings back classic Disney games like DuckTales and Rescue Rangers to PC, PS4, and Xbox One

New Capcom bundle brings back classic Disney games  to PC, PS4, and Xbox One next month

Six classic Disney games are being rereleased as a new bundle dubbed The Disney Afternoon Collection. The new collection features titles created by Capcom during the late '80s and early '90s for platforms like the NES and Sega Genesis, all of which were based on Disney animated series. Games include DuckTales and its sequel, Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, as well as both Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers titles.

Capcom says that the games have been "beautifully restored" with support for 1080p HD visuals, as well as optional filters to make them look a touch more retro. The games have also been updated with some more ways to play, with both a boss rush and time attack mode added for each of the six titles. And since classic games can be fairly challenging, Capcom has also added an "option to rewind time and enjoy a swift recovery from blunders." Longtime fans will also be able to dig into a collection of concept art, advertisements, and music in the in-game museum.

The Disney Afternoon Collection will be launching on April 18th for $19.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Witcher 3 - The Wild Hunt (Game of The Year Edition)

Play the most polished and complete version of the most awarded game of 2015 - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition. Now available with all expansions and additional content.

Become a professional monster slayer and embark on an adventure of epic proportions! Upon its release, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt became an instant classic, claiming over 250 Game of the Year awards. Now you can enjoy this huge, over 100-hour long, open-world adventure along with both its story-driven expansions worth an extra 50 hours of gameplay. This edition includes all additional content - new weapons, armor, companion outfits, new game mode and side quests.


Play as a Highly Trained Monster Slayer for Hire
Trained from early childhood and mutated to have superhuman skills, strength, and reflexes, witchers are a socially ostracized counterbalance to the monster-infested world in which they live.
- Gruesomely destroy foes as a professional monster hunter armed with a range of upgradeable weapons, mutating potions, and combat magic.
- Hunt down a wide variety of exotic monsters, from savage beasts prowling mountain passes to cunning supernatural predators lurking in the shadowy back alleys of densely populated cities.
- Invest your rewards to upgrade your weaponry and buy custom armor, or spend them on horse races, card games, fist fighting and other pleasures life brings.

Track Down the Child of Prophecy in a Morally Ambiguous Fantasy Open World
- Built for endless adventure, the massive open world of The Witcher sets new standards in terms of size, depth and complexity.
- Traverse a fantastical open world: explore forgotten ruins, caves and shipwrecks, trade with merchants and dwarven smiths in cities, and hunt across open plains, amidst mountains and at sea.
- In a time of war, track down the child of prophecy, a living weapon of great power whose coming was foretold in ancient elven legends.

Make choices that go beyond good and evil and face their far-reaching consequences.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Game of the Year Edition brings together the base game and all the additional content released to date.
- Includes the Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine expansions, which offer a massive 50 hours of additional storytelling as well as new features and new areas that expand the explorable world by over a third!
- Affords access to all additional content released so far, including weapons, armor, side quests, game modes and new GWENT cards!
- Features all technical and visual updates as well as a new user interface completely redesigned on the basis of feedback from members of the Witcher Community.


Torchlight is an action role-playing game developed by Runic Games and published by Perfect World, released for Windows in October 2009. The fantasy-themed game is set in the fictional town of Torchlight and the expansive caverns and dungeons nearby, which adventurers explore to collect valuable loot and battle hordes of monsters.

Overview of Torchlight: 

Torchlight. A booming mining town that grew up around unbelievably rich veins of Ember, that rare ore with the power to enchant--or corrupt--everything it touches. It’s a powerful thing, and everyone knows power, well. Power can corrupt, too. You’ll set out into the nearby mountains and depths below to discover the full extent of Ember’s influence on the civilizations that have come before.

Choose from among three character classes, and venture from the safety of the town of Torchlight into randomly generated dungeon levels, with a huge variety of creepy monsters, endless variations of loot to find, and quests to complete. The endless randomization ensures that you’ll never be playing the same game twice. A fun, crunchy action-RPG, this one game that oozes style, care, and polish out of every single pixel and is a definite must to pick up if you like RPGs or just having some mindless fun.

What's cool about Torchlight:

  • Over 30 randomized levels! Monsters, treasures, puzzles, and items are also different each time you embark on an adventure.
  • Choose a pet that will level up, fight by your side, and even take items back into town to sell them for you!
  • Includes TorchED for you to make your own Torchlight set dungeons, mods, and much, much more! 

Screenshots of Torchlight:

 Where to get a copy: Torchlight

Knights and Merchants - A highly realistic RTS game

Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom is a medieval-time based Real-time strategy (RTS) game. It was developed by Joymania Entertainment and published by TopWare Interactive in 1998. The player takes the role of the captain of the palace guards and leads the soldiers and citizens to victory. The game did not receive a strong critical or popular reception in the US, but in Europe it was far more popular, consequently a follow up game was released called Knights and Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion which includes the original version.

The game's tech tree is simple and straightforward, and most new technology is accessed upon new building completion. To begin, the player can only build a school house that trains basic workers, but as the game advances more buildings and units become available. When playing a scenario or multiplayer mode, the player's technological advancement is not restricted, however in the single-player campaign some buildings cannot be built until the player progresses to later missions. The AI always begins with a technological advantage against the player, allowing them to develop at a higher level.

The economy is very complex in Knights and Merchants, more so than most other RTS games, with a greater range of resources and a need to combine basic resources in a number of ways to create a functioning economy. For example, in order to get loaves of bread, the player is required to first build a farm to get wheat, then a mill to get flour and also a bakery to bake loaves of the flour. The many different resources in the game require a large amount of corresponding buildings and units in order to fully utilize them requiring greater than usual micromanaging for an RTS.

Every citizen and soldier must eat in the game meaning that you need to produce a great deal of food creating a more naturalistic limit on army size. There is no population limit in game, instead population is limited by how much food you produce. If a unit is not fed for a sustained amount of time it will die.

The every day life aspect of this game is considered a notable feature. You can place many different structures, forcing the player to consider where and when to place each structure, this is also dependent on terrain and territory. However for new players this greater complexity can lead to a process of trial and error but once experience has been gained it becomes an interesting take on RTS economics.

Recently a group of fans has just released a remake of Knights and Merchants which includes tweaks and online playing. Details can be found on their site.

The KaM Remake mod is an attempt to reinvigorate the original “Knights and Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion” strategy game. Our goals are to make it work on today’s computers and operating systems, implement a fully featured online multiplayer system, as well as to fix the many bugs in the game engine. To do this we have started from scratch, writing our own code for the game engine but still relying on many original resource files. We assume that you own the original KaM game, (the installer checks for it) otherwise you should buy it – it’s available in a number of online gaming stores.
The KaM Remake executable is freeware and is built by enthusiasts. Applications used: Delphi 6, Delphi 7, FastMM4, Lazarus, OpenGL, OpenAL, zLib, PNGImage, MadExcept, libZPlay.
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