Antihero by Tim Conkling is a damn near perfect game. The game released fully on July 10th on PC and mobile platforms but I was graced with an early code to access the game. Antihero has a wonderfully simplistic art style that does not detract from its narrative at all. It’s nice to see an indie game not have to make compromises on either front just to get the game out. The graphics look a little similar to that of Don’t Starve but manages to set itself apart through its top tier gameplay and its ability to not feel stale after a few hours of playing it. Not that Don’t Starve gets stale that quickly but to see a turn based board game like Antihero manage to constantly feel fresh despite how long it’s being played is quite the feat.

The gameplay for Antihero is amazingly addicting, and super simple to pick up. The game is turn based and feels like a free roam board game. Each player, or if you are in campaign the AI, takes turns doing a menagerie of different tasks during their turn. Leading their scout around the field to unlock new pathways, breaking in to buildings to steal gold, and allow newly unlocked characters to infiltrate buildings needed to win. Gold allows you to build up your thieves guild, but be aware every time you buy a new character the cost for that character goes up for the remainder of the turn. Take for instance if an Urchin is purchased, his prices rises from three gold to four gold for the rest of the played out turn.

The individual members that make up the players gang all work together and to make the game pleasantly strategic. Urchins infiltrate local buildings to do various things; trading houses get you lanterns each turn, orphanages lower the cost of getting newer urchins, which is useful for getting the required three Urchins in to churches to get a Victory Point. Thugs boost the strength of your gangs which makes evicting rival Urchins and taking down contracts a lot easier. They can also be used to block pathways around the map to protect your area. Gang leaders organize your Thugs and lead them around the map. Truant officers will kick your enemies out of orphanages and prevent them from coming back for a bit. The Assassins last one turn and can be used to take out high level gangs and contracts with one hit. The Saboteur plants explosive traps that will stun enemies, which is useful for protecting Urchins in churches. The bombs last for a few turns then must be replaced, which keeps the character from feeling overpowered. Saboteurs and Gangs can also do light burglary and help get money.

Each level in Antihero requires the player to build up their thieves via a skill tree during the match. The skill tree is accessible either by clicking the hut in the bottom right hand corner of the screen or by clicking on the base the player’s lead thief for the level spawns out of. The tree unlocks all characters the player buys with gold, various perks for the lead thief, and even a few bonuses for the purchasable characters. Each new perk is only unlockable if the player has the required number of lanterns to buy the item. Depending on the strategy of the player building to a certain point on each tree is vital towards the ultimate goal: winning.

Winning is achieved by gaining the required amount of Victory Points, which so far has differed from level to level. There are a few different ways to go about gaining Victory Points, saving up lanterns to exchange for bribes is easy, but keep in mind the price goes up each time you buy them in a match. Taking over churches is another route to go. sending a three Urchins will grant you a Victory Point, but keep in mind it is a good idea in later matches to set up traps so your enemy gang can’t use their Eviction attack and kick all of your Urchins out. If this happens you will lose a point! Thankfully that is the only way I can recall being able to lose Victory Points. The last way to gain Victory Points is to complete assassination contracts that pop up through the duration of the game. Those present their own unique possibilities if the contract manages to flee to a different part of the map. You could have a contract almost complete then they flee in to a clouded area of the map that you haven’t explored yet, from there the enemy can kill them and take the Victory Point or you could have to spend extra time and resources trying to chase the contract back down. It adds a pleasant level of controlled chaos to the game.

Later on the Antihero’s campaign gets even more complex when new challenges like “Rob The Royal Family” are added to the game. Rob The Royal Family plays like a normal match where you still have to complete the assassination contracts, get bribes, and take over churches. This time around though, the game requires players to break in to the specific castle near the center of the map. In order to get in to the castle the player must control all active guard towers on the map, which then allows entrance to the royal family’s castle.

There really wasn’t much of anything to complain about in Antihero. In fact I would venture to say that the only major problem I had was the nagging urge I had to stream the game. I am dying to play this game on my Twitch channel but I lack the ability to do so since there is no console version available. The developer teased me on Twitter about the possibility of a console version and I hope it comes to fruition someday. Now that I think about it there was a minor problem I experienced where if too many characters were too close together getting the exact action you wanted done could be a nightmare. At one point I struggled between clicking on characters for about three minutes trying to move my Saboteur away from my Thugs just because I couldn’t get the exact angle on him to click on him. That turned out to be my own ignorance, because the developer included a button down by the skill tree that allows you to cycle through characters faster. I just hadn’t bothered to figure out what it did until that point.

The online multiplayer is a breath of fresh air. It offers two different ways to play, either players can initiate a casual match which does not require both players to be online and you will get an email notification if you are away from your computer telling you it is your turn. The other way to play requires both players to be online at the same time and each player’s turn has a timer to it limiting how long the player can take. This is referred to as a live match. Players can also sync up to the Antihero Discord chat, which is really helpful meeting new players and arranging matches with friends.

Antihero clearly had a lot of time, attention to detail, and a developer that really cared about the final product that was given to the players. The controls are tight and easy to pick up, the campaign is interesting, and the graphics are enjoyably simplistic. I highly recommend getting a copy of this game on either PC or Mobile devices. It’s perfect whether you just want to kill time with a quick multiplayer match or want to kill an afternoon clearing the superbly crafted campaign mode.

Antihero Review
Thieves Guild
  • Little Finger's Story is a worthwhile one
  • The skill tree is really well put together
  • Addicting Game Play
Evictions
  • Kind of an odd difficulty spike (changing to easy fixed it for me and allowed me to get through the match)
9.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
9.9

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel