Last Day’s of Old Earth puts you in command of the Skywatcher clan on a cold and desolate Earth in the distant future. You command your people to wage vast battles against other indigenous clans to make yours the most powerful.
I went into Last Day’s of Old Earth with certain expectations after scanning through the Steam page – this was going to be a Civilisation clone with a different art style and I would be bored to tears within minutes because, in all honesty, nothing compares to the Civilization series for me. Then the game shocked me and in no way attempted to simply be another clone. It drew reverence from the games I love and built solid ideas on top of them.
With a hex-based overworld, you’ll command armies across a randomly generated map to battle other players moving along the same grid. You build outposts and harvest resources which increase your supply reach. Supply is a key mechanic in the game and you’re forced to stay within your own territory at all times or be hampered with movement and combat penalties. This is made far easier than it sounds with armies and hero characters all being able to build wherever you feel is necessary so never truly felt like the hindrance I initially thought it to be.
Then things get a little bit different. Your armies are made up of units you generate by drawing cards from a deck and then consuming resources to put them into play. You’ll draw hero characters, resource and combat buffs as well as a whole host of units to play with. This deck mechanic seemed slightly daunting at first, giving you the ability to get in and tinker with a deck building mode helped throughout my experience as I was able to tweak the deck I took into combat for my exact play style. The hero characters add bonus’ and buffs if they are in command of your army and as the only named characters in the game I found some fond attachment to some who followed me throughout my skirmishes.
Combat doesn’t take place on the main hex-grid as an automatic process. You are put into a combat scenario with your units and directly command them to victory. Dice rolls determine attack and defence and even who attacks first at the start of each turn. Combat is very dice heavy throughout the game which can seem unfair and become an incredible annoyance. I could take a far superior force into battle and be nearly wiped out because the dice hadn’t rolled the way I’d like. There is a system in place to help with this – your hero characters are given a ‘Fate bonus’ which allows you to change the dice roll, but this is limited and feels almost unnecessary because of the lack of benefit it has.
Currently only a handful of modes exist in the build available and players will spend the majority of their time in skirmish or multiplayer. Both these modes are incredibly solid, however doesn’t offer a great deal of variety right now for people looking for something a little more fleshed out.
At its most reductive, Last Days of Old Earth brings together successful elements from other franchises and puts them into a single product – the overworld is a hex-based Civilization game, the combat feels like Heroes of Might & Magic and the deck building elements has shades of a Hearthstone clone. Each core element of the game is so solid it’s easy to look past these comparisons. The mechanics of these previous franchises are simplified and streamlined in such a way I found it much easier to pick up and play than a new player would to other games of this type. The game chooses a singular focus in its expansion through combat and espionage rather than culture and population management and this in turn streamlined the entire gameplay loop. Last Days of Old Earth feels more like a board game akin to Risk than it does a pure video game with its dice roles and differing styles amalgamated into a single product.
Although currently content is a little lacking the promises made at the start of Early Access are already coming to fruition only a few weeks in and I can see Last Days of Old Earth growing into a solid entry into the pantheon of turn-based strategy titles.