Stunning art direction, and a beautiful visual appeal makes Armello the kind of game you really want to love, but its questionable game mechanics and mediocre board game styled gameplay that does not add up in the end, is ultimately its downfall.
The kingdom of Armello has been corrupted by Rot, a substance that has caused the King of the realm to turn his rule against the people of the land. Four heroes have now set out to take the crown because clearly things is are in disarray, and something now needs to be done.
The game plays out in a board game manner, in which the winning conditions will be met once you have taken the crown by assassinating the king, or completing every quest on the board. As you go about a typical game, completing every quest is far more logical and easier than any other winning condition, and after a while you will only be focusing on this mode of play as the results are far more rewarding than anything else.
Each player on the board represents an AI player and takes the form of an animal. They are on the same quest as you, to take the crown and complete the quests, which could mean a fight between you and them every now and then. Each animal looks different and ranges from a mystic bear, to a pompus rabbit with an umbrella. The character design is beautiful and ties into the game’s art direction, which again, is rather spectacular.
Each of the playable animals have their own unique passive ability that makes every game you start different to the one before. Each of the four attributes on each character makes up he strengths ands weaknesses of the match. Body is your health, spirit, coin, and rot all add to the mechanics of a game that make up your chance of success. Cards are also implemented that add different effects to different situations. You can cast spells, boost attack, or play tricks on other players.
Although all these features are implemented into Armello, many of them don’t get a chance to full realize. The game does a great job at allowing you to take the path you want to victory, but usually you will just end up doing your own thing anyway, ultimately avoiding any conflict eliminating half the features of each board game match. Often players end up exploring the map by their own, without any interaction with each other. Each quest that you an choose from grants you a buff to an attribute, which is vital to success of the game, this causes players to scurry to complete quests rather than doing anything else.
This “feature” is one of the game’s biggest flaws. It causes three quarters of the game’s features to be neglected and never used as you are not close to anyone to battle, use a spell, and when you do use a trap card, its often takes a couple of turns before a player has a direct effect from it. The way I want the game is a contestant struggle of power, not a run around a map for 3o minutes. It all just automatically turns into something it should not be in the first place.
Although Armello looks great, really, it is a pretty game. It just all falls flat as the mechanics are not fully realized. What is meant to be a strategic game, turns into a chore of running around a board collecting quests. As for multiplayer, even that suffers from the same downfalls, plus there is no voice chat which causes issues among players. Armello looks great, and is not a bad game if you can look past the questionable mechanics. I wish everything was utilized and fully realized as it would be a great experience.