Rising from the dead and deciding to conquer the world of the living is not always such a good idea. Those guys don’t usually win their fights, but in Undead Horde you can flip the switches and get into the boots of an honest-to-goodness lord of the evil undead. Command legions of undead peasants, orcs, giants and… chickens? As you sweep across the land, with the seemingly endless waves of minions and make everyone pay the price or better yet, join your cause.
Once you’re freed from your trapped vessel, thanks to a thoughtless chicken, you have one thought on your mind – revenge on the paladin who trapped you. He needs to pay and so does the entire kingdom. But it can’t be done alone, you’ll need allies — a lot of them. It does not take long to get the hang of controls; raise minions, command them where to go, and move yourself around and attack. Find some graves or fresh corpses and raise them, use them to kill more and expand your army further. You will have a command limit, and you’ll only be able to raise a certain amount at a time, but constantly wiping out villages and homesteads will mean you are continuously losing and enlisting more troops on the go. Although you can eventually raise this limit, stopping you in your tracks to raise more. It’s a fine balance and you’ll occasionally need to pick your battles carefully. Taking on a large well-equipped force with raised peasants is probably not the best tactic, and you’ll find your forces will deplete much quicker. Maybe find some off-guard archers or some patrolling swordsmen to bulk out your forces for certain encounters is a better strategy.
Just because you command legions in Undead Horde doesn’t mean you can’t get into the thick of it yourself, you’re not some pushover necromancer. You can collect various pieces of gear along the way with different stats and abilities to help making raise hell easier and more entertaining. With the right combination of rings, weapons and off-hand weapons, you can prove yourself a worthy necromancer capable of mass-destruction. Also, saving particularly ghoulish allies will allow them to set up shop in your headquarters in the mountains to the north where you lair is. Once they’ve set up shop, you can buy different gear or upgrade their shop to get even better equipment to help you along the way.
Your headquarters will prove essential throughout your playthrough. In the lair, there are lots of statues of enemies you will slay along your quest, and once you’ll killed a certain amount, you can enlist as many as your command limit allows. Without any cost, you can go back and forth and try out various minions to see if they help you out when pillaging villages or perhaps getting past a particularly difficult defense.
I really enjoy the gameplay in Undead Horde, it’s so easy to get to grips with quickly that it barely needs any instruction. As you move through different regions, making links throughout the world to fast travel back to your lair, causing utter destruction and fighting various bosses, you’ll eventually explore the whole world, but you will end up doing a fair bit of going back and forth to your lair. I wouldn’t say it’s a hard game to learn or master, but sometimes you may find it somewhat frustrating when you are at a particularly difficult region, that’s perhaps crawling with hardy orcs, who won’t be bullied around as much as peasants. Most of these problems can be overcome with some creative thinking and determination. Are there some large defense towers in your way? Do they keep wiping out your army of undead soldiers and archers before you can do real damage? Well, perhaps summon a few hundred undead chickens, as a buffer between yourself and the towers, whilst you, as the powerful necromancer does some real damage and takes down the towers yourself.
Now, I never really played the Overlord game series years ago, but I think if I had, I would have most likely been head-over-heels to get stuck into any game that even slightly resembles it. It feels like its own game genre, although I’m not sure what it would be called. Evil Empire? Take-over-the-world style game? Wicked management sim? It feels like an RTS game in a lot of ways, and in fairness it bears the likeness of an RTS in most ways. But something about it makes it feel a bit different from the typical shape and feel of what would normally constitute an RTS game. Perhaps that the price of becoming the ultimate evil.
I’ve not quite conquered the kingdom yet, I’ve not made all the paladins pay and not quite got an undead legion I’m happy enough with size wise. Yet. But there’s still time. Eventually, I’ll steamroll my way across, enlist undead giants and worse into my ranks and make them all pay. Perhaps I should remember to take a break and have a cup of tea, just to make sure the evil necromancer vibes wear off and don’t end up sticking. If you’re into RTS games or just being an evil maniac, you are bound to lose your head over Undead Horde.