Video games go through many stages of life, from concept, to design, to builds, to alphas, betas and then release. Each step is important, and each one can help make the game better. With Champions Of The Mountainhomes, they’re currently in between beta and final release. They’re aiming to release on Steam in about six months, and they even have an Indiegogo page to help raise money for the game. So, how does the beta (for lack of a better term) hold up? Not too bad, but it definitely needs some work.
The core of Champions Of The Mountainhomes is actually rather clever, it’s a soccer game, but one that’s played by Dwarven Wizards. If you’re wondering how that makes a difference…you clearly haven’t had much fantasy stories in your life. For these wizards aren’t afraid to use their own magic and spells to get the job done and mess with opponents, and each character has four different abilities that can be used. There are simple attacks that can be done to push opponents back, creatures can be summoned to screw with foes, you can even trap an opponent in place or even swap places with them. There are currently six different characters that you can play as, multiply that by four abilities each and there’s a lot of ways these matches can go.
The wizards are rendered via sprites, and yet, it really works here, each one has their own unique look and feel, and it’s going to be interesting to see if more are brought into the game.
Now, unlike actual soccer, the game doesn’t have a time limit, rather, you have to get to a certain amount score to end the game, and that’s fine. For not only does that give you a set goal (no pun intended), it gives you a lot of time to experiment with your character and what they can do, which is both a plus and a minus. The game doesn’t have a tutorial mode, so you’ll need to make sure you find out what you can do fast when you start a match, else you’ll be down by multiple points before you know it.
The game itself is built to be played on one monitor (at least in the current version), and while you might think this a bad thing, there’s actually a lot of versatility in the control schemes. Both sides will have many different options to choose from, including using a controller instead of the keyboard. But, if you do want to use the keyboard, there are many different permutations of the movement controls and ability controls so that you can figure out which one best suits you. It’s very clever, and much appreciated.
Once you get into the gameplay, the matches can be really fun, especially after you get your feet wet and understand what all the different wizards can do.
That being said, once you dive in, you’ll immediately notice things missing. Now, to be fair, we were alerted ahead of time that certain things will change and such, but, that doesn’t excuse everything.
One of the biggest flaws in Champions Of The Mountainhomes is that there’s no music or sound effects. While maybe not a dealbreaker, and it will clearly have both before the full release, it feels odd to release a build without any kind of sound in it. It just feels wrong in some ways. Another issue is that if you don’t play the game (in its current build) in the right screen size, you won’t be able to see important aspects, like the game score or the abilities you have left to use. Again, this can be fixed, but we found it odd that they would offer so many resolutions capabilities and not all of them work.
Finally, there are some interesting flaws like not being able to quit the game, certain UI quirks, and more that bring the title down more than we would have liked.
Again, it needs to be said that this is a beta, and we’re hoping that this review will give some guidance on what needs to be fixed and added before release. Champions Of The Mountainhomes does have potential, and it can be a really fun game that mixed magic and soccer. It just needs some more details to truly make it shine.