Story: As a practitioner of the forbidden, dark magical arts, you are a necromancer and you’re quite upset. The world of the living has imprisoned countless undead and holds dominion over all the lands, but you plan to change that. In order to fulfill your dark mission, you need to track down powerful allies, wield incredible weapons, and of course, raise an army of zombies to march by your side. From a lowly chicken to villagers to warriors to giants to mystical beings to legendary heroes, all who fall before your might are doomed to return from the grave. As you defeat enemies and then turn them against their former allies, your power grows and you close in on the ultimate goal of total domination of the living. But a lot of determined, powerful foes stand in your path, just waiting to be crushed, then reanimated.
Entertainment Value: Undead Horde lives up to its name, giving you the power of necromancy and letting you loose in a world full of potential thralls. The game starts off with you taking command of a zombie chicken, but you’re soon offered a wide scope of levels, enemies, skills, and challenges to pursue. The top view and control scheme have a kind of twin stick shooter vibe, but this isn’t about fast reflexes, instead you need to use a strategic approach. The combat can be as passive or active as you prefer, but your basic level tasks you to overcome a number of enemies and sometimes their resources, to claim each level’s deed. If a battle lingers on, sometimes the structures can unleash reinforcements and you run the risk of being overrun, so you have to manage your horde on multiple fronts at times. You can also hunt down hidden treasures, secret passages, and side quests, given by imprisoned skeletons, who will shower you with gold, experience, and items for your assistance. There’s also the larger narrative arc, so with a host of levels to explore and conquer, there’s a good amount of content to wade through and the end credits don’t have to be the end. You can choose a new game plus mode, keeping your necromancer’s skills and items, but running through a more difficult version of the story mode.
As I said before, the combat in Undead Horde can be tailored somewhat to match your preferences. As you level up, you’re granted a choice between three cards with a variety of statistical enhancements. You can choose a balanced card or run up a specific stat to bolster your style, with your choices having a significant impact on how your battles will be waged. If you ramp up mana, you can use your items and magical weapon more often, which can turn the tide in your favor, but perhaps you’d rather have more damage or health, to wade in and handle things yourself. A host of melee weapons are available with stat bonuses of all kinds, so if you want to go hands on, you can make that work to your advantage. I chose to invest in command cap, which raises the number of thralls you can have in your horde at a given time. The more powerful allies use up more of your cap, so if you want to sit back and watch your minions wreck the world, you need some serious points. In addition to weapons, you can have two rings that provide a temporary bonus of some kind, but they use up mana to active, while an amulet will provide strong passive boosts. All of this allows for a good deal of customization and you can build your necromancer and your horde however you see fit. I found Undead Horde to be a super fun that might be a little short, but the new game plus mode balances that out and the ability to create varied builds ensures replay value is rock solid.