In typical Behemoth fashion, rather than remain comfortable within the genre of their immensely successful previous title, the studio has moved on to something completely original. Following the success of Castle Crashers and 2013’s unique platformer, BattleBlock Theater, Game 4 is Behemoth’s take on turn-based strategy.
As is a PAX East tradition, instead of setting up typical stations, Behemoth showed off their upcoming title via a handful of uniquely customized arcade cabinets, which is not a platform often associate with strategy games. Just by looking at the cabinet’s control scheme, it was obvious that Game 4 is not your typical, dense strategy title. Instead, many smaller tasks are automatically handled by the character AI, such as choosing which enemies to attack when in range of multiple foes. Instead of focusing on the minutia of the genre, Game 4 is more focused on unit placement on the battlefield, and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each unit type.
My demo opened with charmingly warped exposition of how a giant Space Bear’s collision with the planet plunged the world into hexagonal chaos. The Space Bear, who may or may not have also been the narrator, then reluctantly introduced the protagonist, who he hilariously resented and rooted against throughout the entire demo. After an easy-to-understand tutorial battle, I set off across the fog-laden over world, occasionally stopping to do battle and acquire more party members. Eventually, I reached the first of many towns which contained a shop, my home (where I could customize my individual party members with an assortment of traditional, Behemoth silliness), and an Arena. While they remained mostly tight-lipped about Game 4’s various modes, I was able to confirm that it will feature a “Questing” mode (separate from the campaign) where players can just fight and level up, a versus mode, and co-op. Currently, whether or not co-op will be allowed in the main campaign, or feature it’s own campaign has yet to be determined.
After slapping some funny hats and silly weapons on my units, I immediately headed back out into over world where, in my final battle of the demo, I was introduced to the recruiting mechanic. By using a net, the last enemy unit on the battlefield can be captured and recruited onto your team. This move, which can be tough to pull off, was extremely helpful after I was able to recruit a walking, talking cupcake, who heals units with it’s delicious, sugary magic. The ability to recruit any enemy unit added a fun nuance to battles and gave a feeling of personalized control over how my team grew.
Behemoth’s attempt at streamlining the turn-based strategy experience could potentially turn off hardcore strategy fans. Yet, this decision also lowers the intimidating barrier of entry to the genre and could attract those who have never considered playing a strategy title. Approximately 2 years into development, with a development team larger than any of their previous titles, Game 4 has no confirmed release date. While the only confirmed platforms for the titles are Xbox One and Steam, other platforms have not been ruled out. For updates on Game 4, keep your eyes pealed here at Bagogames, or check out Behemoth’s site.