Animal magnetism: First screenshots of Armello27 Mar 2013 0
I was enraptured by the trailer for Armello that we saw last September, and by creative director Trent Kusters' promises of a tabletop-inspired tablet game that blended Magic: The Gathering with Settlers of Catan. Tantalizing though it was, it was prudent to be skeptical -- just about anybody can make a trailer with no gameplay in it and talk about unlikely game juxtapositions. But judging from the screenshots that Kusters sent me early this morning, you can start believing. Armello looks special.
Armello casts you as a Hero of one of four animal clans: Rat, Rabbit, Bear or Wolf. You explore a procedurally generated 3D hex board, questing to build up your character until you're strong enough to attempt to storm the map's central palace to become the queen or king of Armello and end the game. Online and offline multiplayer ensure that you're not the only talking animal with monarchical aspirations.
The gameplay elements that Armello devs League of Geeks have detailed sound like a greatest hits collection of game mechanics. You can capture settlements that will generate resources for you every turn. Your character has a stealth rating and the game has a day/night system, which help you remain hidden on the map from other players. Duels with your opponents are played out through a card-and-dice system. There are promises of productive ways to occupy your off-turn time whilst waiting for your asynchronous opponents to sent their turns in. This is just a sampling, mind: I started to feel drunk when I read too much further.
If Kusters & Co and make that enormous melange of gameplay elements into a cohesive whole, then Armello will be rubbing elbows with the very best games on tablets. League of Geeks are demoing Armello at GDC today; if you're there then I figure you ought to find a way to get into the demo.
Armello is due out in 2013. You can keep tabs on its progress via Facebook and Twitter.