There are plenty of genres in video games that don’t really appeal that much to casual fans, but do resonate well with the more hardcore crowd. These gamers appreciate depth and challenge, and they don’t focus on quick gratification, opting more for gameplay that rewards skill and time put into them. Such games aren’t really in the must-make list of big developers and publishers though. The good thing these days is that there are plenty of indie developers who are passionate about them, like with Logic Artists and bitComposer Entertainment, who came out with this title.
Expeditions: Conquistador is an indie strategy RPG that seeks to add more depth and complexity into an old genre, fitting the tastes of gaming connoisseurs. Coming from a Kickstarter project, this is not really a big name, and it does look like the usual RPG fare with some elements of strategy gameplay. Despite the lack of marketing hype though, there is much more to be had in this game than what meets the eye. This game combines control of space like in Chess or Go, as well as group macromanagement.
If you’re into soaking up history through video games, then this should fit your fancy as it is about exploration and conquest around the 16th century that lets you become a conquistador and command an intrepid group in order to claim new lands for king and country. While it targets quite a niche, those people who do like such a game would be pleased. It’s not the usual tactical RPG gameplay most are used to, even though it’s still turn-based in a grid. First off, it uses hexagons like in Civilization V instead of squares, which makes for more movement options in positional play.
You have choice between unit types that you’ll have to depend on for the remainder of the journey, so anticipating what’s ahead will be important. However, it’s not just class that separates them, but also their belief structures. This game takes the human element to another level by incorporating each team member’s individual beliefs into account, like how it would limit your choices in your journey. Since you’ll be going into foreign lands, encountering strange people with their own religions and beliefs, your belief structure will affect how things will turn out. The other group members’ beliefs also come into play, whether they agree or disagree with a particular decision. This makes you have to compromise on various decisions throughout your excursion, and that’s what really gives this game its depth.
The difficulty and steep learning curve may not be so bad since in terms of presentation, this game does have a lot to offer to the senses. The in-game art is quite good, which lends a lot to the flavor and lore of the game. The design and artistry put into this game shows that it’s not just some cash-in, but a labor of love by the developers, and it does show. The interface is both thematic and comprehensive, which is good for a game like this that is about both depth and lore.
There are still quite a few problems though, like with the movement in the overworld and some game balance problems. The latter is always an inherent problem when it comes to strategy games since it takes a lot of playtesting in order to smooth such things out, so much that even MOBAs like League of Legends and RTS games like StarCraft II still have regular patches in order to get closer to that perfect game balance that pleases everyone, which is virtually impossible. The imbalance in this game is far from enough to ruin the gameplay, so it’s still all good.
So if you’re a fan of games like Fire Emblem and Heroes of Might and Magic, then this game should be quite a treat for you. This is quite a lot of quality and content for $20, making it a bargain of a game for RPG and strategy fans. For an indie effort, this is a jam-packed quality title that justifies the price point and more.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8.5/10