There’s nothing I get a kick out of more than playing an Australian produced video game, this one catching my attention back at PAX Australia last year. So when it finally released last month, I was keen to jump straight back in. Queensland based indie developers, Humble Sage Games, had a fair few games in production when I last talked to them at PAX 2017, but one that really caught my eye was their sandbox real-time strategy game Veil of Crows. A challenging PC game that had me building my own empire and destroying those who dare oppose me. Just to clarify, gaming on the PC isn’t something a console heavy user like myself is accustomed to, but after having played games like Age of Empires and Civilization, I thought ‘how hard could it really be?‘. The answer to that question was ‘pretty darn hard!’
Veil of Crows certainly does a great job of easing you into the game’s many mechanics with its enjoyable tutorial. It had me chortling from start to finish, thanks in large to the tutorial dialogue which had some brilliant witty one liners, layered with a hint of dry humour to drive it home. It became clear early on that had I jumped the gun and gone straight into the main campaign, I would have been swiftly killed, my head mounted on a spear for all to see. The amount of information thrown at you from the beginning was a lot to process, and I found myself on more than one occasion having to stop, read the instructions carefully, and then proceed to plunder and pillage. Once the tutorial had me trained up it was time to test my hand at the real thing, a Game of Thrones-like showdown in which I planned to reign victorious.
As I mentioned earlier, PC gaming is not exactly my forte. So when it came to playing the campaign mode I made sure to take things nice and slow, opting to only select fast forward on the in-game timer when absolutely necessary. This was to prevent me from making any rash decisions which would cost me dearly, as fighting was not the only way to best your opponent. The campaign mode not only tested my skills as a gamer, but really challenged me to think outside the box with how I took on enemies as well. The option to actually negotiate terms for both battle alliances and trade with other nations became invaluable, as Veil of Crows rewarded players who were clever enough to admit that fighting wasn’t the only viable path for victory.
Despite its ease of play, Veil of Crows is a game you need both time and practice to excel at. I found myself dying multiple times, with my main character always somehow getting themselves offed pretty early on. However, once I had mastered the art of staying alive I enjoyed a number of hard earned victories, which in turn made both my main character and adjoining battalion much stronger. This also allowed me to strengthen my hero in other unique ways, improving my leadership, accounting (yes, you read that right), and diplomatic skills – all becoming very handy stats when running your own kingdom. The game really encouraged me to think outside the box, with sheer brute strength only getting me so far.
Veil of Crows is available to play on PC via Steam with its development team regularly updating the game to ensure it’s an enjoyable experience. If you fancy yourself a bit of a strategy based warfare then this just might be the game you’re looking for.