Review: Olympus Rising UWP
Right. Pick an era. Olympian gods, done. Pick a game mechanic (or two). Tower Defense, RPG, done. Pick a freemium style. Twin currencies, daily rewards, outrageously high in-app-puchases, done. Stick it all in a mixing bowl and out comes Olympus Rising, arriving in UWP form for Windows 10, slightly behind implementations on iOS and Android.
(It's somewhat heartening to see quite a few UWP games arriving still - it seems that developers are still pouring their talents into the Windows 10 UWP scene, buoyed up by laptops, tablets and hybrids, no doubt - but phone users get to benefit too!)
The storyline is 'simple enough' - you're a wannabe Greek 'god' and need to help rebuild Mount Olympus - the usual freemium building mechanisms in terms of buildings and resources, mixed in with tower defense construction and attack. There's, quite literally, everything but the kitchen sink thrown in here. Heck, there's probably one of those too, as part of the building options ("Add a kitchen")!
I'd call Olympus Rising a mix of RPG, Tower Defense and Arcade genres, but it's really all three at once. Sometimes you're managing numbers and resources, other times you're withstanding or managing attacks against fixed towers, then you find yourself tapping frantically and dodging a 'boss' character (Hydra, Minotaur, etc.)
It all flows well, as you'd expect given the play testing that this title has alread had on other mobile platforms, though I'd warn you that you don't actually get to play the game for at least half an hour after starting. The 'on rails' tutorial sections just go on, and on.... and on... The idea is sound, to make sure that the player isn't then left in the lurch too soon, but long before the tutorial was over I wanted a button marked 'Just let me play and experiment'!
In leading attacks, you'll have several types of support manpower, starting with spearmen and archers, just summon them as you need them. All the while you're weaving and dodging (while sticking to the 'on rails' pathways - no sneaking around the gates!!), a 'Powers' circle fills up and then, when full, you unleash a heavenly thunderbolt upon whatever it is you're fighting.
It's all a little frantic, with dozens of things happening on screen at once and much of the time you'll be relying on your own preparation (i.e. enough armour and resources) and then tapping to place your hero and (summoning) his men at exactly the right point. Arrows fly, lightning descends from on high, swords whirl, blood spurts, you get the idea.
Throughout it all, cut scenes try to keep the story on track and provide motivation - assuming you want to conquer the whole of the ancient world and not just sit back on your idyllic island being fed grapes by nubile young ladies. (Actually, you can't do the latter in the game, it's combat or nothing!)
Layer up on layer of building, of planning, of upgrading starts to take its toll after a while and it's fair to say that only gaming die-hards will make it far enough into Olympus Rising to need to buy gems and gold through the in-app-purchase system. Which is a problem for the developers - or maybe the die-hards are just the demographic that they're going for?
Although this isn't a Gameloft title, the freemium pitch is almost identical, right down to an unnecessary extra virtual currency (or two) and right down to stupidly high purchases - £77 each to buy gems and gold and then you'd be down by almost £155 in a matter of seconds. If you wanted to go crazy.
Hopefully, most players will be more sensible with their purchases, but as with many of these freemium pitches, the game's too heavily defined to really let rip and have fun. You equip and fight and plan and equip and fight and plan, and so on. Following the paths through gates, around towers, and onto identical fortresses to fight the same sort of battles over and over again. Taking up vast swathes of real time and - eventually - quite a bit of real money too.
You may have detected that, even though I welcome seeing it as a UWP game for the platform, I'm not a fan of Olympus Rising? Its production values are high - the music, the animations, the effects, the cut scenes, everything is wonderfully produced - but, ultimately, it's a huge, drawn out and expensive slog.
Am I wrong? Comments welcome!
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at