Goblin Harvest: TMQ is a turned based deck builder point and click text adventure strategy game. Yeah it’s that many things, but it doesn’t over reach. As kids my friends and I would enjoy debating what games we could combine to make an even more epic game. “Ooh ooh the Final Fantasy map exploration and airship with Mario RPG timed hits but in town it changed to side scrolling like Mega Man.” My favorite was when my cousin and I predicted World of Warcraft well ahead of its time while we were playing Warcraft 2, “dude what if we could play as just one of these guys and instead of controlling the whole battle you started as a peasant and worked your way up to being a knight.” Outside of that one awesome idea, that made Blizzard billions of dollars when they thought of it too, our ideas were pretty terrible and the games created from them would have been awful. Goblin Harvest TMQ on the other hand seems to have actually found a combination of games that work well together. Taking that childhood dream and making it a reality.
The game has two main modes, which you play simultaneously. In the first mode you are a king commanding armies across a battlefield trying to quell the goblin horde’s advance. You draw cards from a deck which determines what terrain your armies are able to move over. As the game progresses there are area effect cards that conditionally affect certain terrain or certain units on that terrain. You can also discard cards at any time, which is good because at the beginning of every turn your hand refills to full so you can try to plan out your moves, and if a card doesn’t fit you ditch it.
In the second mode you play as a commoner attempting to reach glory and honor through exploration and questing. This part of the game plays out like a highly updated version of a MUD. For those that don’t know MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon. Essentially back in the day before graphics (now I feel old) there were games that were 100% text based. You get a description on the screen and it gives clues to objects you can interact with and directions to travel. Then you type in commands to progress. I will give you an example.
You awake in a dark damp dungeon surrounded by stone walls with one exit to the north. There is a bed and a loaf of bread in the room.
/pick up bread
You obtained Item “Bread”
I don’t understand “Eat Bread”
<throws computer across the room>
The good news of course being the Goblin Harvest TMQ doesn’t have that issue. Instead of typing commands you use point and click to select parts of the text that you can interact with, and that way you get the correct action. The ability to explore or forage is a great addition to this style of game and makes it feel like you are accomplishing something in each area. Also you get an inventory list to your right that has traditional point and click adventure interactions for each item.
The epitome of the game is that both of these modes interact with each other. While exploring you gather cards that you can use to move your armies. This makes it so you can move your champion in a direction that also helps your army. Imagining later iterations where I talk to a maiden I found in a forest and she gives me a quest for an item that is actually a card that I can add to my hand that I can use as the king to change the battlefield is exciting. I don’t know if he plans on doing that, but it would be awesome.
I only have two real complaints, which I am sure will be fixed before it actually launches. The first is the transitions. If you decide to watch the video I made, you will see everything fades slowly. In my opinion, many of these interactions, especially champion travel, should be instant. No need to fade, but even the ones that should fade in and out need to be much faster. The second is I didn’t really see an end game. The game setup is in the style of a cyclical strategy game but it plays like a story driven game. I couldn’t get the feel for whether I was supposed to find a way to win and start another match or if I was supposed to save and play one match over many days. It’s also possible I just didn’t play long enough and I would have gotten the hang of it later on.
I am excited and this game is definitely going on my wishlist. If you want to help the creator Ian Williams get it greenlit, the link is here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=540986180
Tom Bishop is the Owner of Save Point Games, you can follow him on twitter @AlphabotGame.