REMORE: INFESTED KINGDOM is an early access title developed by Black Anchor and published by Webzen’. It is a story-laden, squad-based tactical RPG set in a fallen kingdom. An infection has ravaged the Kingdom of Remore after a rift opened up, infecting the population into grotesque zombie-like creatures. Players will control a squad of survivors of various backgrounds. Players fight their way through the fallen kingdom, scavenging what resources they can if they hope to survive.
My REMORE: INFESTED KINGDOM preview will cover:
During gameplay, players utilize multiple characters to control, each with their own unique passives and abilities. The knight character William, can use a shield to gain extra armor to tank hits when not attacking. But the barbarian character, Diurmand, can give up his movement points to gain more points for combat. Allowing him to attack twice functionally.
Characters’ attacks and what tiles those attacks land on are determined by their equipped weapon. A Greatsword may sweep every tile in a corner next to the player, but a pike could hit an enemy two spaces away, or push them away if close.
There’s also no penalty for swapping weapons; it can be done anytime during play. There were moments when I pushed an enemy towards one of my compatriots, then shoved them back to their original tile, only to switch to a new weapon and finish off the infection with the first character. Being able to augment any character with any weapon allows players to make load-outs for any scenario they encounter on the fly, as well as unique moments of figuring out the most effective way to break free from an infected embrace before their turn to attack, which is a necessity since when infected land a hit, characters are locked on that tile.
While characters have armor that degrades to 0 before going towards players’ health, the infected can kill a character in a handful of hits, making each encounter feel like a life or death fit for survival. Characters do get some breathing room, where if they’re downed, they can be revived, but only once per run, allowing for some breathing room but not much.
Players are also given a handful of tools to use. Rocks for luring enemies, coins for distracting, knives for low-damage ranged hits, and more. At least from the kit that I used, I felt as if the tools had minimal uses. Luring in one undead wasn’t always good because the maps are so small that when one enemy is alerted, they will alert all the others. And the coin only affects the enemy in the very next tile where it lands, but only in the cardinal directions, not even diagonals. And all it does is change which direction enemies face.
There’s also a grappling hook, but it only moves a character one space forward, so if an undead is five spaces away, you can move them one space closer, which also alerts them to your presence. This makes these tools incredibly situational, and I felt like I only really needed the throwing knife and rocks in my playthroughs.
There’s also a diegetic timer in the level in the form of the infected. During each level, the infected will begin to spawn at the back of the entry point and gradually move up. While this certainly creates tension, the slow-paced nature needed to utilize some of the above-mentioned tools to stealth past some of the infected ends up being pushed aside for a more rushed sense of urgency lest you get swarmed.
This means I ended up just trying to push my way through with brute force instead of thinking of better ways to handle the infection. Either levels need to have wider layouts to allow for more movement, or the tools need to be buffed to allow for wider types of play that could encourage more diverse play than just being swarmed so easily in the game.
In between levels, players will have a safe point to manage their party and allies. Here, players will utilize the loot they’ve been scavenging between each level. Initially, there are only two NPCs, a blacksmith and a tavern keeper/cook.
Between runs, players can level up and increase their skills or unlock new ones. They can craft and upgrade weapons at the blacksmith and eat with the tavern keep. Eating is incredibly important as it grants buffs, heals, and prevents debuffs from starvation, as your party needs to eat an adequate meal between scavenging runs. But be careful; food rots, so you can’t hoard an unlimited amount.
As players progress through the story, more NPCs appear, and more upgrades become available that I won’t spoil here. What I will say is that this meta-progression influences the combat during missions and encourages looting and taking that extra risk to find more food and more resources, which is often hindered due to problems mentioned earlier. There’s also the ability to talk to NPCs and your squad and cover the events in the story to build up the narrative. The meta progression here is well done and offers a safe location to reset your save if you’ve completely botched a mission and need a safe place to reload from.
In its current state, REMORE: INFESTED KINGDOM is still rough around the edges. Lots of things need tweaking and balancing, as well as quality-of-life improvements. One thing that bothered me was that I could not change the difficulty after selecting one in story mode. And while I didn’t get to see much of the story with my preview, what I read wasn’t very impressive in giving fleshed-out characterization, especially to Diurmand and Edwin, our other squad mates.
But I can’t hold too much against the game while it’s still early access and only so many areas are available. Remore has enough character and atmosphere to create tense situations where I was holding my breath and crossing my fingers that I would survive that very next turn. Remore: Infested Kingdom is a mixed recommendation and is currently for sale at 14.99 on Steam, in early access.