Nekro is a game being developed by darkForge Games who include games industry veterans from Blizzard, Sony, and Microsoft. When creating the game the developers wanted something akin to classics such as Dungeon Keeper, Giants: Citizens Kabuto, and Myth. Over on the Nekro's Kickstarter page, the developers describe the thought process when coming up with the concept, which went something like, "Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a game where you could just walk into an innocent town, raise a bunch of zombies, skeletons and monsters and watch while they rip the townspeople to shreds?" And they have certainly delivered on their initial idea, as Nekro allows you to do just that.
Nekro was fully funded on Kickstarter back in May 2012, so they've been hard at work ever since to get the game finished, and fortunately I've been given the chance to check out the current build of the game. The version I played let me sample 5 out of the total 25 levels included in the game, with about 80% of the features the final version will have.
Nekro is a top-down, randomly-generated RPG, where you take control of an alchemist-turned-necromancer. A necromancer who goes about raizing towns and slaughtering corrupt humans, out for revenge against the King who betrayed him. The art-style is immediately striking and unique in itself with a cartoon-style aesthetic that soon convinces you it's not just for kids.
In the build I played, I had three necromancers, or 'Powersets', to choose from; Alchemist; Grimm Keeper; and Outcast. The Alchemist is known as The Healing Nekro, so as you'd expect he is the squishiest of the three characters I had to play with. The Grimm Keeper is know as The Grenadier Nekro, who is an average stat character who could throw exploding skulls. The Outcast is known as The Brawler Nekro, who is the tankiest of the three. He has higher health than the other two and likes to get up close and personal by using a melee attack.
Personally I preferred the Outcast necromancer - he seemed like the most fun to play
As a necromancer you are able to summon demonic creatures to do your bidding - from the snake-like Scourge, that twist and turn around eachother, exploding on impact, to the fixed-position plant-like Darkseed that spits acid pods at your foes. Not only do you use your summons to combat your foes, you can also jump into the fray yourself to pummel your enemies to death.
The difficulty of the levels I played scaled up nicely, I didn't feel it was particularly hard at first, which was handy as I got to grips with the controls. But later on I really had to think about conserving my blood (used as a kind of mana for your summons), choosing the right summons, and when to use them to win my battles.
Before each level you can upgrade your necromancer, upgrade and unlock summons, and choose which trinkets you want to take with you. The upgrade system is nice and simple to understand - for instance the Scourge give you the choice of upgrading their damage, spawn rate, and maximum number of Scourge available. To upgrade your summons you use Sins, and to upgrade your necromancer you use Power, which are both rewarded at the end of each level, along with trinkets. Trinkets can be equipped, and used only once per level - they're kind of like a power up, some will give you extra blood and others can be used offensively in combat.
Nekro is super gorey, there's blood everywhere! Attack an enemy a few times and he'll be drenched in his own blood, running about in a panic. Put him out of his misery by finishing him off, before feeding on his corpse to replenish your health and blood.
A tame example of the gore in Nekro... and I mean tame!
The game doesn't feel like it's too story-heavy and super complicated, which is refreshing, as you can just jump straight in, massacre a bunch of townies, and then go about your business for the rest of the day. There is a multiplayer feature, but unfortunately I didn't get chance to try that out this time around. The only gripe I had about the game is that I didn't get to see any of the randomly-generated levels, which is a large feature I was looking forward to experiencing. But besides that, I had fun playing Nekro, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the final version of the game to see what other more powerful summons there are.
Take a look at the trailer, along with some more concept art and screenshots of Nekro below.
Going up against multiple enemies can get you in trouble, fast.
You can also control inanimate objects, like these pumpkins, to fight for you.
Nekro has also been greenlit over on Steam Greenlight, and is due to hit public Beta in April. It will be available on PC, Linux, and Mac. We'll keep our ear to the ground for the exact beta release date.
Have you been following Nekro since it's appearance on Kickstarter? What are you looking forward to about the game? Let us know in the comments below!
image: © darkForge Games