There is Only Power
for PC (Linux)

Mr Creosote:
Company: porousnapkin
Year: 2015
Genre: Strategy
Theme: Fighting / Sword & Sorcery
Language: English
Licence: Freeware
Views: 433
Review by Mr Creosote (2024-03-23)
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Did you ever wonder what actually motivates the stereotypical bad guys in those cliché fantasy realms to try and take over the world? According to this game, it is only about power. No deeper meaning. It's just what the bad guy gets his kicks out of. Which may be an accurate description of our real world as well. Though this game is not concerned with making political statements.

There is Only Power is a nice take on the sort of tactical wargaming D&D originated from. Inspired by classics such as Julian Gollop's Chaos (summoning monsters and leading them to battle) and the fondly remembered King's Bounty (leading your army from one city or lair to the next one), the task is to take over a randomly generated world. Starting out as a small-time bad guy doing mischief here and there, growing stronger while still flying under the radar of the upstanding authorities, until it's too late to be stopped.

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The game is split into a rudimentary strategic map and tactical battles. The former allows picking the next target. A farm may be easily robbed, but there not so much to be gained, either. Approaching a monastery, you could pay for the monks' healing services or kill them all. Maybe there will be a magical artefact found in the ruins. Artefacts, as well as newly learned magical spells and of course new monsters joining the ranks, increase the tangible power.

All this is then to be applied in the turn-based battles. Roll initiative, watch hit points, use special abilities… it doesn't look like much at first glance. Not even movement is allowed. The only spatial distinction is frontline vs. back. Though going through each creature, turn by turn, there are a number of options. Each by itself seemingly simple, but putting them into a bigger plan, considering what the other soldiers and the enemies may be able to do, it emerges with a level of complexity just waiting to be mastered. Understanding that behind the fairly simplistic sprites, no matter whether they are human soldiers, magicians, dragons or undead, what counts is what they can do. What each is good for, what each is particularly vulnerable to.

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The key strategic challenge lies in the constant balancing act of taking on increasing danger levels, but not jumping too far ahead. Answering, time and time again, the question: will attacking this target increase my power, take me forward towards my final goal of conquering the ultimate fortress, or will I be defeated? Or, even when emerging formally victorious, maybe the cost was just too high – e.g. when it took the lives of too many soldiers. All the while keeping an eye on the global notoriety level (conveniently displayed on top of the screen), which determines whether and how strong armies the lord of the land will send to hunt the player. Which fulfils the function of a global countdown – like the food clock in roguelikes.

There is Only Power is fun, because it is well-balanced. Keeping you on the edge at all times, never letting you reach that tipping point where you can essentially do whatever you like. There is always a challenge ahead which cannot be circumvented through grinding. It is a constant forward movement. As in any game with randomly, there will be occasionally maps which you will not beat. Accepting this is part of the experience. An intense experience.

Comments (1) [Post comment]

Mr Creosote:
Soon, this land will be mine! In today's indie gaming world, there are so many things to discover. The issue being to find them. Or, from a developer perspective, to receive any attention. Having discovered this humble little game through semi-random browsing on itch, and having enjoyed it, here is a recommendation for you.
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