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Impire is a real time strategy game that takes you on a total role reversal. Instead of playing heroes out to save the kingdom, you play as a demon intent on destroying it. The game involves you in creating your own dungeon layouts and repelling invading heroes while also raiding the lands for supplies.
The storyline is incredibly comical and at times actually made me chuckle. Although you play as a demon lord, you are technically not in control of your fate as you have been summoned by a demonologist named Oscar van Fairweather. Oscar speaks bravado but is incredibly cynical as he doubts himself at every turn. You, the demon Baal, are incredibly sarcastic and have nothing but nasty things to say to the buffoon that is Oscar and typically speaking, Oscar completely ignores what you say. Oscar's goal is for total domination and is the stereotypical villain. He promises you the world but doesn't do much towards the goal himself as he has you do all the work.
There is also a skirmish mode (which you can play solo but it is clearly not meant to be) where up to 4 players battle it out in either a King of the Hill format or “Capture the Dragon” which is essentially capture the flag. The campaign can also be played multiplayer.
Great Concept – The idea of creating your own dungeon and playing the bad guys is not too often seen in games, especially lately. In fact, it is the concept alone that drew me to the game enough to let me walk into it blind. It is fun to play the bad guy for a change and the idea of killing heroes, which would be you in most other cases, is rather fun.
Unit Variety – The sheer amount of different units you can get is another plus for Impire. You have your basic grunts, to clerics, warlocks, and even minotaurs. Every unit has its unique charm and piecing units together into squads (consisting of 4 units) is also quite satisfying. Some of your minions are tanks, some healers, and even the damage dealers you have to think about balancing in terms of melee and ranged. A mass of units strung together will inevitably fail you, so you really do have to be strategic on your choices. Too much melee can be a mess, while relying on ranged will wind up with a lot of casualties. The same also goes for the enemy. Invading heroes, as well as other enemies you encounter, will have different combinations of unit types and some will be quite deadly and hard to deal with.
Leveling – Baal, is your hero unit, that in the campaign has a consistent, cumulative leveling process, while in skirmishes, levels much faster. As you level you get a fair amount of choice on how you want to build your character. At first you can chose between a skin, claw, or wing upgrade that has a unique stat tied to each. Once you pick one of these perks, your demon visually changes. Later on, you will grow into a large demon and will be given the choice of becoming a Warrior (a solo-focused fighter), a Warlord (a tank/buffing fighter), or a Mage (which is weak in combat but gains powerful spells). Each choice gives you new abilities and will change your play style slightly.
Dungeon Building – One of the cooler aspects of Impire is the ability to customize your own dungeons. Although in the campaign your layout will be slightly scripted, for the most part you have free reign over how you want to build. This doesn't just mean rooms and hallways either. You can set traps either on the floor or in the walls as well as having units patrol around certain areas. The building is a bit limited though and there is only so much you can do with it.
Interface – The interface is not terrible by any stretch of the imagination but it certainly can feel clunky at times. What I found fundamentally flawed was the tedious nature of switching between menus constantly. Besides the normal view, you also have an eagle-eye command view, a squad menu, a raid menu, a toggle between building units and buildings. I also found that it ended up being easier to play the game almost entirely in the eagle-eye view which takes away from the action for the sake of convenience.
Down Time – This is not necessarily a con but for some it may be. This game has a lot of down time, from taking your squads to the kitchen to heal/buff up one by one, to waiting for raids to return, or a sudden expedition into enemy territory being called short because of a hero invasion, you can expect to spend a lot of time waiting and micro managing. It makes it feel like an old school RTS in result of this but some times you may wish for a quicker pace.
Resources – This is a minor gripe but I felt it was worth mentioning. You have 3 basic resources: mushrooms, gold, and building materials. Mushrooms are gathered in a traditional manner, with a couple workers gathering them. Gold is obtained from treasure chests, killing heroes, and raids. While building materials are primarily obtained from raiding nearby areas. In concept this sounds fine but raids aren't what you'd think they are. In the raid menu you can send a squad out to attack nearby buildings for their resources but besides telling your squad to go there, you have no control over what happens. Sometimes they will fail, mostly they succeed but what bothers me about this gathering method is that it is just more needless micro managing. Normally resource gathering is a passive action that workers take care of but in this case, it is not.
To me, the pros outweigh the cons and I have been enjoying my time with this game. That said, it is a $20.00 game and I can see that alone turning people off from it and honestly I feel in its current state, the price they are asking for is a bit too much. The multi player aspect is also not that entertaining and definitely needs improvements. I would recommend trying this game out when it goes on sale down the line and hopefully by then, some improvements might be made.