With the arrival of the new generation we seem to have gotten more sophisticated and only the titles with the big improvements are the ones that overshadow the covers. Fortunately, not everything is like that. Death Crown is here to remind us that a good idea, no matter how simple it is, can provide us with a great title if it offers us some originality in a development that cares about the details.
Death Crown proposes us to embody death which, after being humiliated by the king for escaping and stealing the death crown, must wipe out all of humanity to remember the arrogant and tiny human who gave the kiss of death will never escape. Only then can you get back what is right for you.
As if it were a board game, we have a board full of hexagonal squares that make up the map and on which we place our buildings within the original perimeter. The goal is simple: we must destroy the rival base before it destroys ours.
We have three types of buildings that we can use to build and expand our empire. Although the gameplay is easy to learn, mastering it will not be so much since we will have to take into account the arrangement of the squares, the orography of the map, as well as the proper management of our resources. The layout of our buildings will mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Our base will generate resources, but only slowly. The best thing is that we start by building a mine that will allow us to get more resources, taking into account that each mine we build produces a little less than the previous one.
Although we said the goal is to destroy the enemy base, we need tombs that our skeleton army will make. Soldiers ready to bring death wherever we tell. And the latter is important. When we build it we have to assign the building we want to attack and be very aware that we always have an assigned target, otherwise they will sleep without a target, without generating troops but bearing costs.
But be careful, our enemies will attack us too, so we need to be prepared to defend ourselves. We will do this thanks to the towers that will protect us from the enemy waves approaching from the adjacent fields, trying to destroy our constructions.
At the beginning in Death Crown we can only build within our original perimeter, but during the game we can expand our territory by adding the appended squares, starting with the construction of towers or tombs, but always taking into account the terrain of the map.
As I said, apparently it’s simple or maybe limited, but it offers more than it seems at first glance. First of all, we need to consider our enemy’s strategy in order to know where to find the buildings we have. But we also need to consider the environment in our strategy: if there are mountains or other geographic features, we may not be able to build or they may not be accessible. Something we’ll also use to protect our sources of supply. We will also have others who will give us bonuses or withdraw us, and we will even have some games where special buildings will appear with effects that will surprise us and that we will have to adapt to or die to.
We must remember that although all races have the same type of construction, the environment does not affect them in the same way, so some fields will benefit or harm a faction, thereby reducing or increasing the cost of construction. Knowing how to distinguish the special squares and their different effects will be crucial if we are to achieve victory.
Expansion is something we have to take into account, and not just in order to win. On each map we can find three black crystals that will improve the overall production of our army. To control these crystals we must build a tower or a tomb in the adjacent square. If the opponent also builds on the opposite field, it is considered neutral territory. But that’s not all, with these crystals we can permanently improve the production properties or the times of our structures for the game.
Death Crown offers us three game modes. First we have the tripartite campaign: the first and most important is that of death, in which, as I have already explained, we must recapture our crown and destroy humanity for its daring. In the second campaign the roles are reversed, we have to be part of humanity, fight at the side of the king. Eventually we will have the demonic army campaign with which we will face the army of death.
In second place is the domination mode, a kind of horde mode in which we have to overcome as many levels as possible on different maps in the shortest possible time, while the level of difficulty increases. As in campaign mode, we can also improve the productivity of our buildings after each game.
Finally we will have a confrontation mode to play quick games and a practice mode where we can practice our strategies. In addition, Death Crown has a local multiplayer mode that we can use to challenge our friends.
But let’s talk about what really caught my attention in Death Crown: the one-piece black and white art department. I have to admit, black and white combinations generally call me. But here it’s not just that, it’s the art of the game, its characters, its buildings, the animated scenes, and its dark touch. Everything attracts and almost surprises – forever – that you chose an RTS for this minimalist aesthetic.
While I was seduced by these aesthetics, sometimes in the middle of the action of the battles, I found it difficult to distinguish the elements, at least when playing on the Switch screen, as there is no way to zoom. Perhaps the game should be played on a PC where this problem no longer exists.
Death Crown also has an incredible instrumental soundtrack composed by Konstantin Knerik. Cold melodies, which we could also call minimalistic, which perfectly fit the framework and theme of the game and this feeling of wanting to exterminate humanity. In addition, it is fully translated into Spanish, which is always very much appreciated.
If you like strategy games, you should give Death Crown a chance, a title that reminds of “less is more” with its minimalism. Although it is more challenging than it seems at first glance, in the long run it is less complicated than you might expect due to these basic mechanics and their repetition that becomes routine, that feeling of familiarity on every card. This adds to the simplicity of understanding the basics of the same, makes it an RTS easily accessible for those who have not tried this genre, and most importantly, very different from the usual suggestions, especially for this artistic section, the is so original and risky for the genre. If we also add that these are quick and fun games, an essential title is to have it installed and play whenever we have a while.