League of Geeks’ title Armello is an interesting game to play. Being a lover of tabletop systems this one really piqued my interest. Not being a regular Switch player, writing an Armello review for Switch lent another perspective too.
Set in the Kingdom of Armello, the King (a lion of all things) has been overcome by a malignant affliction known as the rot. The Rot saps his health and descends him deeper into madness each day, summoning banes and sending his ruthless royal guard out to terrorise and execute.
Your task, to pick a hero from the various clans of the land — Wolf, Rabbit, Bear or Rat — and gain supremacy to take the top job.
Armello Review Switch
There are multiple paths to victory in Armello which I found very pleasing. Do I choose the Wolf Thane and build to his fighting strength and storm the gates? Or do I pick the Rabbit clan who excel at treasure hunting and the political angle gaining prestige and fame?
There are a host of other characters from each of these clans, all with their own unique abilities and Armello actually rewards you for playing the different races. As you play through the different clans and characters you’ll unlock achievements that subsequently unlock different rings and amulets.
These items can be selected at the beginning to give you an edge in the game. For instance, if the player chooses a magic style character and doesn’t want to go full spell casting, they can balance the stats with extra fight or defence.
Roll the Dice
This helps in the combat system which requires the player to roll a pool of dice. These dice determine the outcome of the battle.
The higher you are in a certain stat, the more dice you have in that pool and the higher chance of victory. Picking your battles is important in Armello, but there were moments where I pulled a clutch in the fight and prevailed when the odds were against me.
The dice gods must have smiled on me.
The Prestige mechanic is interesting in that it’s awarded for doing quests and deeds, and killing rival heroes. However, Prestige can be taken away by death and other factors, which forces a balancing act by the player.
The highest prestige character on the board is allowed to choose a King’s decree at the start of each day which greatly affects the gameplay. These decrees include bringing his roaming guards back to the castle (excellent if a rival is gearing up for a siege) or causing status damage to your rivals in more tangible ways.
If you have the highest prestige when the king croaks, you win the crown. However, as I mentioned before, this is not the only path to victory.
Take the Throne
I was impressed by the depth of choice which subsequently encouraged me through multiple playthroughs. Whilst Armello is light on story, the world is randomly generated with settlements and dungeons which all fit within a tiled played field.
Moving around the board with your AP (Action Points) will be familiar to many gamers. The board also includes environmental hazards dotted across the board that will determine how the player wishes to traverse it. For example, walking over mountains will cost an extra action point, but will fortify you against an attack from an enemy.
Swamp tiles, on the other hand, will remove a point of health and stepping on dungeon tiles in the game will award the player with various treasure or hindrances. The worst of these are the dreaded banes which unless killed, will ravage the land and heroes alike.
Coupled with the card system in place for items and spells, the player has trickery cards that can manipulate the land. These cards can be used to place perils in the paths of their rivals forcing them to take tests to proceed or be forced to retreat from that tile. Any changes will affect their stats for next round, or sometimes removing swathes of their health weakening them for your ambush.
Armello on the Go
The game appears to support multiplayer, but I was unable to try it in the pre-release period. I believe with a crew of friends (up to three others including you) rolling around the land betraying each other will really bring the social board game flavour to the forefront and provide quite a lot of enjoyment. Especially if Armello is able to take advantage of cross-platform play.
The world is rendered beautifully and on the Switch runs really well. Games are fairly quick and the cutscenes are wonderfully animated. A favourite of mine is the flavour text on the items which gives little sneak peeks into the world, one which will make seasoned RPG-ers and new players at ease.
One thing I did encounter with the Switch version was turning the game off to go to work only to discover it wouldn’t progress past the loading screen afterwards. Fiannly, after trying everything I can think of (hard reset, re-download etc) I reluctantly tried deleting my save file, which unfortunately worked.
It seems the Rot isn’t the only thing affecting the king. Hopefully, a patch will be released soon to address this issue.
Thankfully, I wasn’t very far in the game but could imagine what a catastrophe it would be if I’d unlocked many of the items through hours of play.
Armello is an intriguing game to play which tickled quite a few things for me in relation to its world and game style. Being new to the Switch, I found myself picking it up if I had some spare time, which I think exemplifies not only the handheld market but the nature of the game itself.
Armello was reviewed on Switch using a digital code provided by the developer.
Game Title: Armello
Great world, systems and ideas - 8.8/10
Game breaking bug - 4/10
Excellent pick up and play gameplay - 9.7/10
Perfect for Switch - 9.4/10