The titanic fight between the living and the undead has been written many times and with different interpretations. Hordecore tells the story of this fight for survival, between two distinct groups of survivors against zombies and even against each other. It presents itself as a sidescroller shooter with depth, which means it is possible to move away from the screen and consequently get closer, which helps to give a little more dynamism to the Papercraft-looking characters.
There is not much depth in terms of the story and well, the main objective is to survive. However, there are two distinct endings. Without wanting to unravel too much, both storylines follow a different group of survivors that converge at a certain point. Of course, each one has different individualities. The whole story is told in a fun way by its interpreters, both by lines of text before each mission and in a very peculiar way between missions, with comic strips that help the player to adapt to everything that happens around him. Who will be the bad guy in the midst of all this?
The player has the possibility to choose several types of missions, through a map with distinct points that ultimately converge on the main mission points. The mission types break down into distinct main objectives such as Main Mission, Treasure Hunt, Scavenging, Ambush, Extermination, and Tournament. The last one, introduces a new aspect, the card game. It was a point that personally surprised me a lot. Although with simple mechanics, it tickles the taste of who likes to collect cards, allowing the player to build his own game Deck. Unfortunately, it is only possible to play this mode if there is the possibility to choose this specific type of mission. Pity, since it’s quite fun, but as the Devs themselves say, there is not much depth in this aspect. Maybe in the near future, there will be a Hordecore card title or even an expansion to this title that introduces this possibility to players.
In addition to this, there are survival mechanics, such as water and food. In this sense, it is important to collect all the items left behind after defeating each enemy or exploring the map in specific points such as car doors or suitcases. Undoubtedly, wood is by far the most scarce element and, by the way, the most important, since without it, there is no fire for cooking. In the survivors’ camp, there is the option to “craft”, where it is possible to proceed to the confection of meals, or to boil the water, to obtain the best stats of its consumption, and finally to “craft” new equipment.
Each element of the group is assigned a class, in this way it is only allowed to equip a specific type of weapon to the survivor. This contrasts with defensive equipment, where you can equip any type of equipment you want. Who doesn’t want a pizza slice-shaped helmet?!
Each survivor brings with them a special ability, and of course, specific to each class. There is also the possibility to upgrade this skill, with a “skill modifier”. Although I only found 3 different types of this modifier, it introduces the premise of new animation for the skill and consequent type of attack. For example, the Engineer who places a minigun on the ground has the possibility to use the Pyromancer modifier, which changes the attack type to fire, or change the minigun to a drone that follows him until it self-destructs after some time. The player has control over each survivor’s abilities during the mission. So the survivors attack alone leaving the special abilities up to the player, as long as they are available to be used.
The inventory is presented in a limited way, so it is important to recycle equipment that is not needed. This is an important procedure as the destroyed materials allow the craft of new and better equipment.
Regarding the skill tree, it allows the player to choose a range of options that unfold between three main branches: Courage, Leadership, and Survival. Each new experience level is equivalent to an experience point that can be equipped in one of these 3 options. For animal lovers, the Courage branch allows adopting a four-legged friend.
The group of survivors can have up to 7 different elements. During story mode, they are automatically assigned to the group, without much choice on the part of the player. However, in post-campaign, it is possible to continue the adventure in Wastelands mode which is essentially a roguelike mode. New missions, the opportunity to collect better equipment, and the prospect of finding and recruiting new survivors. If desired, it is possible to exchange a survivor for a new one. Of course, I had to trade a survivor for a doggo.
In terms of gameplay, it is quite fluid and intuitive. There may be some confusion at first when it comes to enemy positioning and where you are shooting. However, the enemy in the line of attack is highlighted in red. As the adventure progresses, it becomes quite intuitive, as the notion of proximity and aim at the enemy is developed.
Finally, there is the multiplayer mode, although, with some problems in terms of online connectivity, it can become an interesting mode to be played with friends on the couch.
It’s a small title and even though it’s not Hardcore it has some replayability, even if the player only wants to know the other ending. Its peculiar style of graphics stand out positively and the way the story is told appeals to comic book lovers.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PC provided by META Publishing ]
You can also check the podcast interview to this project when it was still called “A Horde Too Many”