A Classic D&D RPG Brought to Digital in Warlock of Firetop Mountain
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Tin Man Games releases the video game version of the 1982 Warlock of Firetop Mountain. The game uses the best aspects of video games to re-imagine the original game book, board, and battles. It’s a fresh look for a digital tabletop RPG.
The game starts relatively simply. You first choose between four initial characters. I spent time reading each character’s bio, comparing strengths, and carefully choosing who I wanted to use, only to later realize that each character has their own quest. If you want to experience the whole game, you’ll be playing with all of them. And “gathering souls” (aka killing beasties) in order to earn enough to buy additional characters. After picking your hero, you go through a brief tutorial on how to play and how to battle. Then you enter the beautifully illustrated world of Firetop Mountain.
Hopping In To a Colorful World
The heroes are figurines from Otherworld Miniatures. Each one was digitally scanned into the game. The heroes have a game piece feeling as each hops from room to room on the 3D map. Each hero is very detailed, with a backstory and playable characteristics. I loved this aspect, as it felt like I was taking my game piece and moving it along a board. I enjoyed reading through my options and encounters at each turn. Unlike a tabletop board, though, there’s no going back. The game limits which way(s) you can move. Sometimes this is helpful, like when you’re told to only go east to fulfill a quest. But other times, it can be quite frustrating, as you know there’s a save/restore point just a room or two away and yet you can’t reach it.
The artwork is based on the original art from Russ Nicholson in the 1982 game book. I loved how you can click on each page illustration to change it from a full-color version to a sepia-toned one.
The battles take a little bit of strategy. You take turns with your opponents, trying to either attack or move into a better position. After a few rounds, and paying attention to how and where an enemy can attack (like knowing what each chess piece does,) it becomes easier to predict your foes’ moves and where they can and will strike. Winning these battles results in gathered souls. Losing, well, results in having to either regenerate at the last save point or start over.
Will I Ever Get Past the First Quest?
After a few hours of playing, my largest problem with Warlock of Firetop Mountain is the fact that I can’t seem to get through the second half of ANY of the initial character’s first quests. Now part of this was my own fault, as I was having fun exploring each character, seeing my options for each and every room I encountered, and the realization well in to playing that I could consume provisions from my backpack and regain stamina and most points in the game. However, my luck and/or stamina seem to run out well ahead of a save point after getting through the first half of a quest. I’ve drowned, been poisoned, beaten by a hoard of orcs, cursed, and a number of other deaths that were rather amusing at first. You can choose to regenerate at the last save point, or start over as any of the heroes.
Here’s where it gets a bit repetitive. If you choose a new hero, you do get different options, but on the same 3D map, with the same rooms. These choices start getting boring, as you know what to do and just try to click through as fast as possible to something new or, maybe, hopefully, finally picking the right path to get through the first quest. If I ever get there, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, though, I’m going to keep trying. I’m enjoying the adventure!
Warlock of Firetop Mountain releases on Steam today, August 31st, 2016, and for Linux, iPhone/iPad, and Android later this year.
A Fun D&D Adventure Awaits!
An easy to learn, D&D style game by Fighting Fantasy authors Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The game is a great representation of a D&D board and books, complete with "figuring" characters hopping through a beautifully illustrated game board, encountering orcs and other foes on their individual quests.