Stone Age Square Battle demo released

Philip Neubauer of Gravel Train writes in to inform me of the release of a free, short demo of his prehistoric strategy RPG, aptly named Stone Age Square Battle. True to form, it takes place in what is ostensibly the Stone Age, and battles are turn-based affairs in which characters battle one another from adjacent squares. So, yes: it is indeed a series of Stone Age Square Battles, with short stretches of exploration in between.

The demo, unfortunately, raises more questions than it answers. We get introduced to the setting and the battle system quickly, but only get one character (Lion) to play with. This character has only one attack, and gets no damage advantage from hitting enemies from the side or the rear. The stripped-down, one-character play reminds me a bit of the free Flash game Strategy Defense, albeit with less restricted movement, no counterattacking, and some very limited exploration between fights. It is clear that more characters will join later on, but of the many features of good turn-based battle systems that do not appear in the demo, it isn’t clear to what extent most of them will (or will not) appear further into the game.

On the visual side, SASB features some quality sprite work undermined by jerky animations and an inconsistent user interface. Particularly annoying is the lack of a pop-up window when one mouses over or clicks on characters during battle. You cannot see your character’s health unless you select him and open up the inventory screen, of all things; and you never get to see information about your enemies at all.

It isn’t clear how far into development SASB is, but in my view, there is some potential here that can hopefully be teased out with a greater focus on interface usability and more advanced combat mechanics. I’m curious to see how the finished game turns out.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment »

  • Great review. Sorry that the Hit Point quick check method wasn’t evident. The Demo starts after the initial story and tutorials. Right-clicking on Lion’s face icon during your turn will bring up a small life-bar. This is my preferred method (it does save a lot of time):)


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>