Genre: turn based combat, role playing, strategy
Release Date: 2015
Developer / Publisher: Burrito Studio
Highlands takes place in a steampunk world of land masses and islands floating in the skies. After a brutal attack on their homeland by a mysterious enemy, the rightful heirs of Arislaan are tasked with gathering up the remants of their people to fight the invaders. Starting with meagre resources and a handful of combatants, our heroes will need to level up their abilities and skills, upgrade equipment and collect artefacts to reclaim their home through turn based revenge!
Playability: Make it more complex than necessary
The combat aspects of Highlands are somewhat reminiscent of Risk, where the objective is to seize territory from enemy armies while fortifying one’s own sectors against attacks. The turn based gameplay is obtuse with tutorials and tips providing additional layers of confusion. In fact, Highlands’ basic strategy is indeed very basic: computer loads up more units (say a few hundred), you recruit and load up more combatants, mechanics, academics and leaders. Eventually, with enough patience and time on your hands, you’ll overwhelm the poor bugger with mindless brute force. As you progress through levels and pages of tedious unpoetic epic, it becomes a time consuming chore to assign orders to each unit and everyone in your army.
Annoyance: Blabbing heroics
Highlands wishes to be an epic on a grand scale with heroes larger than life, and villains to remember. The abundant text attempts to tell tall tales of bravery and sacrifice worthy of epic poems. Unfortunately, the comedy is rather undivine and the narrative poem, though lengthy, roams on the gauche side of writing. Clumsy storytelling weaves an ungainly tale of lowlands.
Beauty: Colourful landscapes
Despite its raucous flaws, Highlands is a beautiful looking production replete with hand drawn and painted artwork. It is a shame that rather than let the artwork do the talking, the game obsessively packs every screen with diarrheic logorrhoea. Inane dialogues belittle the visual appeal of a set of colourful characters and landscapes.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Artwork disfigured by jarring dialogues and tedious gameplay 5/10
Grammatical mistakes are far too frequent and awkward dialogues clip the wings of a poorly written saga that borders on the verbose. Not everybody has the stylistic prose of Tolstoi, and for those of us who don’t, short sentences are probably the safer bets rather than attempts to replicate Homer’s Odyssey. Highlands wallows in long winded paragraphs that never manage to convey sentiment.