It’s been a while since we published our last review, but this game just couldn’t be left alone. The moment we saw Antihero, we were instantly captivated by what it had to offer. We even decided to buy a copy out of our own pockets, just so that we could sit down with it.
Several exhausting hours later -we tried to play as much as we could- here we are with a thorough set of opinions. As usual, we’ll try to keep the whole text as spoiler-free as humanly possible. Its plot, in any case, isn’t exactly what this title pivots around.
Welcome Back To The Victorian Era
One of the first things you notice, even before the game boots up, is the peculiar art style one Tim Conkling decided to go with. Set in an undisclosed city that suspiciously resembles the British capital, Antihero lets you slip right into the shoes of a master thief. The heads of their own guild, your main characters face brutal competition and will have to bare their teeth if they want to come out on top.
The fog of war doesn’t quite manage to hide the beauty of the maps you’ll play on. While indie games often feel rugged and unfinished, plenty of polishing clearly went into this little masterpiece. Locations, sprites, and character sheets are all finely crafted, further adding to the immersion. The music is solid, but tends to get a tad repetitive when playing for an extended period of time.
To be completely honest, we also found ourselves fighting against the camera controls. When the mouse reached the edges of our screens, the view would occasionally refuse to pan out. Tim and his colleagues may want to look into it, but we’d hardly call that a game-breaking bug. The option to skip the tutorial would also have been nice. Performance-wise, Antihero managed to hold its own ground, running at a flawless 60 FPS both on laptops and gaming rigs.
Intimidation, Subterfuge, Cunning, and Sneakery
With such premises, you’d expect a side-scrolling beat-em-up or something more akin to an episode of The Elder Scrolls. Instead, the development team decided to go with a primarily strategic turn-based system. This choice is definitely one of the driving forces behind the feeling of excitement each match has the ability to convey.
Forget easy wins! Especially at higher levels, the AI is vibrant enough to put up a solid challenge. You’ll never be exactly sure of the outcome until you reach the end of the various chapters. Enemies and environments get progressively tougher, forcing you to adapt if you wish to survive. The idea to allow for different ways to clear a level deserves a special mention. Unlike other similar games, in this one sheer violence isn’t the only path to victory.
Antihero won’t miss the chance to give you the right tools for the job. As the adventure progresses, the guild will expand to keep up. New characters soon join its ranks, each carrying along a unique set of abilities. The protagonists can also be upgraded, teaching them how to deal with specific threats and buffing up their stats. Skill-trees and power-ups are just where they should be; whatever you do with them is solely up to your own playstyle.
So, Is Antihero Worth It?
If you read everything up to this point, you should be able to easily find an answer. The fact that we got a copy of the game on day one and published a review of it less than 48 hours later also shows how much we liked it.
Antihero is a tricky experience geared toward those who are looking for a constant challenge. If you’re planning to finish it in a fortnight, you’ll soon feel disappointed. The game doesn’t seem afraid to bash your skull in and will make you retrace your steps for a better plan of attack with each failure.
That said, don’t expect a grind-fest either. Tim Conkling somehow mixed the perfect concoction of trials and rewards, gifting his game a long and prosperous life. For that, sir, we salute you!
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