Hello all. As you may have noticed, we leave no genre untouched here at The Inner Circle Games Network, and often, the games that cross the ethereal surfaces of our existential wooden desks are quite a bit different than the cookie cutter AAA titles that get the bulk of press. Antihero is one such non cookie cutter title.

Story

The story such as it is is pretty simple. You live in a town controlled by the rich and start a Thieves Guild to try and elevate your life. You have a rival thief who, in the campaign, you will be competing against directly. Rival Thieves Guild robbing and stealing and assassinating their way to an ultimate showdown. Really, the rivalry is just used as a device to have the campaign or quick single player matches have some sort of context.

Gameplay

Antihero is a digital board game. The map itself uses a version of Fog of War, meaning you can’t see what is on the various parts of the board until you have scouted out those locations. The board itself is made of roads surrounded by various buildings to rob, most of which being the mansions of the rich, but with specialty buildings such as banks and orphanages providing other benefits.

As you play, you will have the opportunity to upgrade on each map via use of gold and lanterns that you will acquire via looting and combat. additionally, no good thieves guild can thrive without street urchins to infiltrate areas, and in this game, that takes the place of them infiltrating the specialty buildings and upgrading the benefits of whatever specialty buildings are in your possession, giving you reduced costs, additional gold and lanterns, etc…you must be cautious however, as your urchins can be ejected by street gangs, other street urchins, and by truancy officers as well, all of which are available as upgrades. Note however that your opponent, whether AI or a real life person, has access to the same upgrade tree and is also earning gold and lanterns to pay for the stuff.

I personally find that Antihero, in normal or hard difficulty, is a bit unfairly balanced against the player. Easy mode is however easy. Does this mean you can’t win in normal or hard difficulties? No. However, you will not have much room for mistakes as you progress into the game and more gameplay aspects are revealed to both you and your rival. It will always make the best use of things automatically, whereas you will definitely have to incorporate trial and error despite there being an excellent tutorial.

A unique feature of online play is that there is no time limit to determine your move. This is similar to old school games of chess where both players would have boards set up in their homes and would move via parcel correspondence. Back in the day, a single game of chess could last for years, and while I don’t expect this to be the case here, you receive an email whenever it is your turn and can then enter the game, make your move, and wait until your opponent similarly sees that it is his/her turn….until the end of your match. In theory, depending on your level of online activity and access to Steam, a single match could last week or be resolved in a couple days.Unfortunately, as of today, given as how the game is only available for pre-purchase on Steam, matchmaking is obviously relegated to whatever press or developers might have the pre-release version AND be online at any given moment AND in game. I expect this will however be quite an innovative success once it sees full release.

By the way, and speaking of online matches, Antihero features both local and online multiplayer, so if you want to couch co-op, you definitely can, but you can also play to your hearts content against friends online, or take on matches against randoms as well. all is acceptable.

Graphics

Antihero is a really cool looking game with a great looking game board and buildings, funny looking and exaggerated characters, and just an overall interesting and pleasing visual dynamic. It actually reminds me a lot of a far more refined and colorful Don’t Starve or Skulls of the Shogun (perhaps a combination of the two) in this regard.

Audio

The musical tracks in Antihero are whimsical and somewhat airy while also paying homage to old fashioned, 1940’s and 1950’s era cop and robber films. Very nice orchestration that really sets a fun and as mentioned, whimsical mood to enhance your enjoyment of the game. Other than that, the sound effects are fairly basic but also effective. I quite enjoy the audio dynamic within Antihero

Verdict

Antihero is a game that I think people will really enjoy. Despite the touch on the unfair side with single player AI balancing, the game is good fun with quite a bit of RPG complexity and really just feels good to play. A lighthearted, pick up and play affair if you will. I personally can’t wait for the game to populate once pre-orders are accessible and more people become aware of Antihero. I’m looking forward to some days long matches with friends and contemporaries.

I would recommend picking this game up.