The Unliving is a new action RPG that seems to have a little bit of RTS elements along with rouge-lite features. It is about a mere Necromancer who is on the journey to conquer the landscape with its hordes of undead minions. March through the lands and decimate cities, convert corpses into servants, and battle giant bosses. Developed by Rocketbrush Studio, this game is a 16-bit overhead title. Which echoes other games such as Have a Nice Death and Zombies Ate My Neighbors rolled into one product. At least, in terms of its overall vibe and aesthetic. This game’s rouge-lite elements will keep things fresh and interesting, no doubt. The combat is real-time and there are no turn-based battles. Instead, the screen will flood with enemies which, in turn, ushers in moments of epic proportions. The activity shown on-screen is almost mind-boggling and only matches things seen in classic RTSs.
Now, the main theme in The Unliving is death. Once a player dies, they will be resurrected at a special tomb. Hence, due to the rogue-lite features within, everything will be randomly generated. Enemies, collectibles, artifacts, and even traps will be in totally new locations with every cycle. No two jaunts will be the same. Every type of enemy can be resurrected after being slain. Therefore, there will be varying classes of allies that will have their own abilities. Players will be able to command them at their whim and take advantage of their sheer numbers. Yes, there will be hordes of minions and enemies alike in this game. The Necromancer that players will be controlling is no slouch, either. He can stand toe to toe with any foe and even use spells. The melee is very much within the “hack and slash” variety. Of course, the main appeal to this game is building an army and not so much the melee mechanics.
Death Is Only The Beginning
Starting off, the main enemy class will be humans. Many of them are just helping citizens trying to escape the onslaught. The others will be soldiers protecting them. It is a layered design that gives The Unliving a sense of realism. At least in the most basic angle. However, there will be other enemies. Powerful creatures and mages that dwell in the swamps, for example. Throughout the campaign, there is some lore to unearth. Cryptic notes will lay about, detailing the secrets of raising the dead. Not to mention the history of the church and its morbid relationship with necromancy. All of the collectibles will also assist in unlocking new powers and discovering new ways to enhance the numbers of the undead. Even though the Necromancer can fight up close, his main mode of attack will be with projectiles.
Strategically speaking, players will want to lean back and let the army do the heavy lifting. Players can find “Essence of Bones” from fallen enemies to upgrade their attacks. Thus, they can also unlock new weapons through specially placed merchant stations. Additionally, players can also use the “Essence of Blood” to upgrade their army. This will be needed because levels increase in difficulty rather steadily. The Necromancer will need to constantly beef up its offensive and defensive attacks to clear a level. The level design in The Unliving is dense can they are full of things to find. Players can find villages to raid, and blockades to break through. The controls appear to be responsive and the entire army marches toward wherever the player tells it to. This is important, given that there is a great deal of screen-filling bosses to smite. Which, by the way, all come with their own set of challenges.
No Bones About It
Undoubtedly, the bosses in The Unliving will be the star of the show. They each come with their own unique designs and arenas. Thus, there will be new attack patterns and abilities to overcome, which will take some time. Every boss will require a very distinct strategy to beat them. Chances are that players will lose, a lot before they finally discover the weaknesses of end-level bosses. These encounters will be an all-out war, too. There will be different armies fighting these beasts, which players can take advantage of. Some bosses will require aggressive tactics, while others will be more of a “hit and run” scenario. There will also be special weaknesses hidden in the environment where players can find and destroy. Taking on the boss head-on is one way, but there will also be alternative ways to beat bosses, too.
The Unliving appears to be a grueling, yet satisfying experience. Its old-school approach toward a rouge-lite adventure certainly gives it some luster. The combat has some depth to it, and it isn’t too overwhelming. The basic command and combat mechanics offer enough control of the situation where players can focus on just winning. The control layout appears to be fairly straightforward and easy to execute. There is also a good amount of variety in the levels and their design. Everything from being out in the woods to deep inside a dungeon. Of course, every level will offer something new in terms of enemies, traps, collectibles, and weapons. There is a lot to offer with this indie. Any gamer that is looking for something unique and challenging might want to wishlist this title. With that said, it is also scheduled to be released pretty soon, too.
Living a Good Death
No doubt that The Unliving is oozing with some Halloween-flavored charm. With that said, it is coming out this Halloween for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. It currently isn’t noted if it will be coming to next-gen consoles. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if it does. The Unliving is an old-school romp that comes with some solid mechanics with its strategic nuances. There is currently a demo now available to try out. It does provide a hefty taste of how this game plays and should entice certain gamers who are sitting on the fence over it.