- Developer: Underbite Games
- Publisher: Underbite Games
- Release Date: 30/07/2020
- Price: $24.99 / £20.19
- Review code provided by Underbite Games
Introducing Sentinels of Freedom Switch Review
Growing up as a superhero loving kid, I latched onto almost every larger than life hero media. DC, Marvel, TMNT, G.I. Joe, Power Rangers, you name it, I was there. What I didn’t always have were quality video games based on these properties, aside from some amazing TMNT games on the NES and Super. Now, in my 30s, there are top-tier games for most of these properties and the superhero genre is expanding faster than I expected. Before playing Sentinels of Freedom, I was unaware that it was based on an existing property, let alone a card game, but it is established on the Sentinels of the Multiverse card game and comic. While I have no knowledge of it, it is nice to know there is a larger wealth of characters the developers can pull from for later iterations, more on this in the next issue!
With great power comes great responsibility. Thankfully, SoF comes with a handy character creator that allows for your great power to manifest itself into your very own hero avatar. But I am getting ahead of myself. Before you create your hero, you are presented with a team of three heroes attempting to stop a bank robbery. Bunker, Tachyon and Wraith are your starting team of Sentinels. They come to find that the massive Fright Train is behind the horrible deed. Eventually, the team will run into your vigilante hero and ask to join forces. After the mission, your super creation is invited back to HQ and asked to join.
After this, you are given a few different missions to tackle, ranging from helping police stop a shoot-out to stopping other costume-clad villains. It was refreshing to see a superhero game in which you are working with the police with mutual respect. Eventually, while working through the missions, an evil plot is uncovered that could put the whole world in danger. More heroes join your cause to bring the fight to the baddies.
Currently only chapter one is available, but the development team stated that more chapters will be coming. Whether or not they will be included with the base game or if they will be paid DLC is unclear. Regardless, chapter one was decently lengthy, clocking in at over ten hours. It leaves a few questions unanswered, but in a “wait for the sequel” way. This does not feel like an unfinished game. The main story point was tied up nice and neatly.
Sentinels of Freedom is a turn-based strategy game, which isn’t my biggest forte, but it is very beginner friendly. Unlike some titles in this genre, this game is very forgiving, especially on lower difficulties. It also encourages trying new characters and even the members that aren’t currently in battle will unlock new abilities, albeit slower than your main characters. They don’t level up their stats, but new skills and abilities will unlock, giving the player the ability to shape the hero’s playstyles.
The game is mission based with a few different levels available to choose at the beginning. In each mission, the player is given control of a team with up to five characters. Each unit is allowed to either move or use an ability, which uses action points. These abilities can attack, heal, buff or debuff other characters and enemies. In the beginning, I was flailing around with almost no strategy, but by the final level, I had a deeper understanding of what my team could do.
I would set up Bunker, the tank character, and have him mow down everything in sight and acquire all the aggro. While this is happening, my other heroes could swoop in and corner them. This would work better when in a small environment, but a larger one required different tactics. Thankfully, Legacy offered a good solution. She felt like a Supergirl or Powergirl character, with ice-breath and laser-eyes. She was also one of the most mobile characters in the game. Between her and Bunker, my team felt unstoppable.
Shut Up Crime!
Aside from the main missions there are also training missions which can help you to figure out a good build for your team. These missions are completely optional and are not required to beat the game. The story missions are labeled with an exclamation point and a small note. It is very beginner friendly, but for those wanting to just get through the story, it’s a nice way of saying, “here, play this!”
All of the characters are very customizable as I mentioned earlier, with three different ability sets each. At any given time, two of these sets are equipped on your character and can be switched during combat during turns by using AP or at the end of a turn for free. You have more freedom with your custom hero as there are multiple skill sets that can be used, but you still need to choose three for them to make it their own.
In Between The Panels
The art direction mirrors the card game counterpart, which is very bright and colorful. It can also be overly cartoony which may be a big contrast with the likes of DC and Marvel, but it grew on me. These characters are more light-hearted, which also plays into its E10+ rating in the US (PEGI 16 in Europe, what’s up with that!) The music seemed to take inspiration from current superhero movies, with its sprawling scores which sound good at the time but can get lost in the action.
Trouble is Brewing
While playing Sentinels of Freedom, I found a few odd glitches. When first creating my character, I had a nice super suit selected. But I wanted to see what other options were available, and once I looked through everything, I went back to the super suit, and it was gone. Every time I would select it, my character would have a bare chest. To make matters more confusing, I would choose the shirtless option and it would not change anything. My super suit just glitched out of existence.
Lastly, I also encountered a bug in which the game would not register my button presses. I would be in the tower hub, and I would be highlighting the mission selection, and it would then go back to the first option instead of going into that section. The same thing would happen during a battle. I would have an attack selected and it would instead try to move my character and vice versa. It wouldn’t happen often, but when it did, it usually left me yelling at the screen.
At the end of the day, I was rather impressed with Sentinels of Freedom. I came into this title completely blind to the fact that it was an established property and I walked away curious about the source material and the comic counterpart. It was very easy to pick up and play which was a huge positive for me. Many strategy titles can be so complex that you will need to know the ins and outs before going in. This game made me feel like I was controlling larger than life heroes who weren’t invincible but came darn near close. To add icing to the cake, the story was written very well and had some humor that received very loud outbursts of laughter. For a game to do this, I give major props.
- Easy to learn systems
- Great characters
- Fun and witty writing
- First chapter only
- Sometimes too cartoony
Sentinels of Freedom is a great entry into the turn-based strategy genre while also being a fun and sometimes silly superhero romp.