[Review] Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Palindrome Interactive
  • Publisher: Kalypso Media
  • Release Date: 28/8/2020
  • Price: £34.99 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by Kalypso Media

Introducing – Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars Switch Review

Conquering the land of the living is a daunting task. Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is a PC port in which you’ll be claiming territory for vampire clans, slowly building up their strength and armies to take on greater foes. While micromanagers and strategy fans will find themselves right at home, they might get a bit impatient with this game’s ghoulish shortcomings.

Tomes of Tutorial

A robust – if extremely reading-heavy – tutorial catches genre veterans and newbies alike up to speed on every mechanic that will be encountered throughout the campaign. Each round sees you controlling a powerful vampire lord who can claim territories for their clan. The idea is to harvest blood points from your conquered human settlements, which can be upgraded for better efficiency. The points can be spent on new army recruits, or abilities which come in the form of cards.

These cards can do things like boosting your army’s Action Points to extend a turn, healing them after combat, or lowering the cost of recruiting. Different cards appear in combat, depending on your current lord’s abilities; these can be upgraded with experience points to increase their devastating abilities. 

All of these basics are just the tip of the iceberg – and we haven’t even dipped into how combat proper works. If it sounds like a lot of information, that’s because it is. While this information dump at the get-go can seem a bit daunting, managing your vampiric empire is fairly simple once you get the hang of it.

A Frightful Fight

So, let’s talk about that combat. Moving your units in a gridded square, you’ll have to think strategically to avoid losing precious minions – or worse, your lord. Obstacles and stat-boosting tiles add a little spice to these otherwise static battle maps. With such nice 3D art, it’s nice to be able to toggle the grid here. 

Each lord and boss has special abilities which can be upgraded, but overall, two factors make or break each fight: experience and numbers. Losing units in fights can mean going into future battles with a small army that’s easily overwhelmed; however, if they live long enough to see their veterancy go up, they’ll become more valuable, even in smaller groups. 

Defeat means starting from scratch at a keep, if you have one – or else, a game over for the round. Victory means reaping serious rewards: cards, experience, and legacy points that can be spent on valuable skills. Either way, losing troops is a devastating loss – so preservation is key for surviving in this game. 

On that note, it can be extremely difficult to build up and maintain a strong enough army to take on the main objectives. It’s no matter if a side quest proves too difficult, as you can skip it and come back later – but being boxed into a corner of the map by “certain defeat” situations can make you feel like the past hour of tinkering with that round was for naught. Thankfully the quicksave is great, and you can save at any time, allowing you to reload and re-assess if restarting seems like too deep of a loss. 

The Devil’s in the Details

Navigating this PC port’s UI is hit or miss. Panning and rotating around the gorgeous 3D maps doesn’t feel sluggish in the least, but selecting an object can take two or three tries. Switching between your card hand, the map, and your lords’ stats feels tedious. The text can be a bit too dark or small, especially when playing in handheld mode. 

Other small setbacks include long loading screens, delayed actions, and repetitive sound effects (especially in combat.) Speaking of sound, though, the music isn’t bad – just a bit on the repetitive side – and the voice acting for lords and cutscenes is stellar.

Out for Blood

Between the three clans with their customizable class abilities and skill trees, hours can be spent grinding it out in this eerie world. There’s certainly a sense of progression for the patient player, as each clan grows stronger. Does this £34.99 game give you your money’s worth? Yes and no. Those who value a good-looking game with all the basics of realm management will be satisfied, if they don’t mind some inexplicable difficulty bumps, a clunky UI, and some small snags along the way.

Pros:

  • Appealing 3D environments
  • Robust gameplay, not overly complicated
  • Quality voice acting

Cons:

  • Tutorial is an information dump
  • Difficulty is hard to pin down
  • Confusing UI

Verdict
For the price point, Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars certainly delivers the appropriate superficial qualities – but quality-of-life issues cast cobwebs on the overall experience. Micromanagers, strategy buffs, and gothic fanatics alike will still find some enjoyment here, but may want to wait for a sale.

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