By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
CodeName Entertainment’s Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is a game designed by fans of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) for fans. This product is basically a hack and slash, and it has the potential to be a whole lot more. If only there was an “Advanced” option ….
From what players can use, ranging from dwarves to hawk-headed demi-humans, the diversity is quite good. Each of them is unique in their own way, and I’m not quite sure if they all need to be unlocked. That will depend on the player and this game is all about experimentation. Not all of them needs to be in play. Only up to nine slots are available in the game to position these warriors. Usually, in a table game, seven is the maximum before a Game Master feels overwhelmed micro-managing. Marching order is important. Typically, players will want their best at the front, berserkers second and stealth at the back.
My favourite character is Jarlaxle, a drow who can do sneak attacks. On screen, he disappears from one side and reappears on another to stab monsters in the back.
Newcomers should be careful though. The first scenario is a tutorial to get used to the relatively simple interface and how this game works. This adventure can be finished quite quickly and afterward, the character’s level resets.
Bruenor (the first character you start with) is back at level one. Given time, these characters can be leveled up to the triple digits if players decide to remain in one scenario, but who would want to do that? Just how a character’s level scales is very different from the pen and paper version of the game.
A manual is almost required to comprehend all the details offered in this game. These numbers show how powerful or weak each character is relative to each other and it’s used to calculate the attack rates and damage inflicted. As bosses are defeated while roaming around the Sword Coast, they will drop treasure chests where more coins and magic items can be found. The latter will help improve each character’s hit or damage potential. Spending real world money will allow for quicker finds to make storming the castle a walk in the park. Fortunately, these items do not disappear when a lengthy mission is finished.
The adventures offered are relatively simple. Players have flavour text to describe the scenario and what they must accomplish. All they have to do is to arrange their team to its best ability to inflict damage to finish a mission.
Because this game is billed as a clicker game, players might want to be careful. Trackpads and mice designed for non-gamer use can potentially get worn out. Humour aside, this game is best played as it’s made, to wait patiently until enough in-game currency is accrued so characters can be improved to ungodly levels.
After the tutorial and first adventure, the narrative branches so players can choose which challenges they wish to undertake. Some of that love for the original pen and paper product shines here. Depending on the road taken, the rewards are better or worse. While my game has not gone deep enough to inform me if I have to play each scenario out to advance, hopefully not all of them have to be done in order to continue on.
Expansion products have kept the world of Dungeons and Dragons fresh since its release in 1974, and if history is to repeat itself, I feel this game will have to see improvements too. I like to see this game become a little bit more like the role-playing game. One aspect missed is with how groups of players have to talk among one another to solve a problem. This game is all about fantasy escapism, which this game has in abundance with its cartoon graphics and bestiary.
At least a chat window is offered to allow players to talk to one another to discuss best formations and communicate anything else. I can appreciate the possibility of these folks discovering the fact that they live in the same city. This group may well say let’s meet up to play the RPG. Perhaps this aspect of the game is what the developers are secretly hoping to accomplish: to have idle players eventually want to check out the pen and paper game.