PC/Mac, (mobile coming later this year) •
When I heard that Antihero had been released for PC and Mac it conjured up feelings of excitement for finally getting to see what the fuss was all about, and then sadness because all that fuss was generated by Owen way back when. In 2014, Owen was so excited about the promise that the first Antihero trailer made, I feared his head would explode and we’d be picking up bit of skull from all corners of Mt. Hexmap for weeks to come. Now it’s 2017 and things have changed, Owen is AWOL, and Mt. Hexmap is under new management. Why am I being so damn maudlin? Antihero is out, and so far it’s exactly what Owen would have hoped for.
Antihero is a strange, boardgame-like title that really doesn’t feel like any other game I can think of. The closest, after only playing for a short time, might be the classic zombie apocalypse title, Rebuild. Even there, the similarities are a reach.
In Antihero you play as a master thief in control of a guild. Unfortunately, you’re not the only guild in town and you’ll vie with other guilds for supremacy of a Victorian city that may, or may not be, London. You can recruit a Dickensian crew to your cause: urchins, thugs and more (as I said, I haven’t played much…yet). You then send them out into the city where they each have a different effect. Urchins can infiltrate businesses and generate money or other resources each turn, or they can be used to level businesses up which provides even more benefits. Thugs can act as roadblocks, preventing rival thieves from pilfering from areas of the city that are yours to pilfer. There’s also your thief, of course, who can enter buildings and steal coin which you’ll use to recruit as well as upgrade your guild.
The game is entirely turn-based and feels like a board game, albeit one where the rules are doled out slowly over time. There is a solo campaign that also acts like a tutorial, which means you’re given incrementally more difficult and complex things to do as the campaign progresses. Did I mention I haven’t played much, yet? Bribery, blackmail, and controlling the city’s prominent citizens is all part of the game as well, I just haven’t gotten that far. Yet.
There is also a multiplayer option where you can battle other thieves for supremacy. Online multiplayer can be played via Casual matches which are asynchronous, or Live which has timed turns and is played in real time. If neither the campaign or online suits you, there’s also a skirmish mode in which you play a match against the AI or another human via hotseat and forget all that story stuff.
Antihero is available now for PC/Mac, but will be coming to mobile later this year as well. The PC/Mac version is currently on sale for a special launch price, so unless you can get it via a 5-finger discount, now’s the best time to buy.