How are you feeling today Chauncy?
Have you ever wanted to be Kirk Cameron? Well, the answer is probably no, but The Horde is still a fun game. You character is in fact Chauncy, a bumbling servant who manages to save the king's life and become the bumbling knight Sir Chauncy. (He is played by Cameron in the video portions of the game)
The king gives you his sword, GrimThwacker. He also gives you some land, which unfortunately is infested by the Horde. Who are the Horde? Well, they are red, and bouncy, and will try and eat everything in your new land including crops, livestock, villagers and you.
The game has two phases. First there is a strategy phase: two minutes, real time. During this time you must build walls, dig pits, plant trees, move cattle around, and generally prepare for the Horde. Unfortunately all of these things cost money. Use your two minutes wisely, because when they are done, the Horde attacks!
In this second phase of the game, you must defend your village from the rushing Horde. You must run around, swinging the much-too-heavy GrimThwacker in all directions. In later rounds you will be able to hire helpers. On the down side: the Hordlings are fast, on the up side: they pop like over-ripe tomatoes when you hit them. If you and your village survive the round, you can go on to the next.
Then there's the money. It's pretty simple: a successful village makes money. Let the horde get too much stuff and you'll fall behind and you won't be able to pay your taxes. Did I mention the taxes? The king also has an Evil High Chancellor (of course). This charming fellow seems to have it in for Chauncy. But his delightful smile when he raises taxes makes it all worth it.
The graphics and sound are fairly average, but the game isn't centered around them. The FMV is actually entertaining. Especially when it pops up in the middle of play to report odd happenings in the kingdom. Unfortunately the game play is kind of average also. The controls are often awkward. The best laid strategies and the best fighting skills are too easily waylaid by bad luck (stupid, capricious Fate!).
This game is fun, but very difficult, and can be frustrating at times because you can only save the game every four rounds (once each year). The best part is that The Horde is a game unlike any other. If Crystal Dynamics can refine this new style of game to be more playable, it could easily get our highest rating.
Tired of platforms, shooters, racers and fighting games? The Horde has a lot to offer and can even be fairly addictive.