I picked up King’s Bounty: Armored Princess at the Steam holiday sale.  It’s rather charming.  You play a princess named Amelie who is sent on a voyage to find a knight to save her kingdom.  As you can see, the graphics are cute rather than cutting-edge.

Amelie hanging out. Thighs don't need to be armored.

It’s a turn-based combat game, and Amelie doesn’t fight– she leads!  When you’re going around the world you just see Amelie on her horse (or in dungeons, on foot), but she has an army, and it’s her army that fights.  You can have up to five types of creatures, the number in each stack being dependent on your Leadership, which rises as you rise in level and find special banners.

In a sense the combat is just the sort that I didn’t like in Dragon Age Origins… but that was because I expected that to be more of a real-time fighter.  Armored Princess is an honest move-by-move combat game.  My favorite creature types so far are royal snakes and the polar bears.   You also get a baby dragon who has various powers; I rely heavily on his tail whomping.

Kindly Ham is a bit of a bastard, but no match for Amelie

It’s really well done; everything is easy to figure out even though there are a lot of options, such as many many creature types.  But you get introduced to them slowly, and you have enough fights that you can experiment.  There are some interesting strategic choices… e.g. you can go for a small number of really good creatures, or enormous stacks of cheap ones.

You can explore as you like, but enemies are fairly carefully graded, so you end up slowly clearing one island of a time of mobs.  It’s quite satisfying to see an island which was at first packed with armies marked “lethal” or “invincible” slowly get tamed.

Anyway, I’ve put a lot of hours into it and I’m not even a third done.  I’m not sure I’ll finish, but it is definitely a lot of entertainment for the dollar.

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