Please note all uncredited photos were taken by me, and are of the original Print and Play files. Additional pictures are property of Altema Games and are used here with permission, are of the latest version of the game.
Having a limited gaming budget often forces me to think outside of the box when trying out new games. In this case way out of the box, like no box at all. Of course I am talking about Print and Plays. If you do not know what a Print and Play is, you don’t know what you are missing. Some companies, like Button Shy Games, offer their games with a Print and Play option at a lower price point. Many Kickstarters offer Print and Plays as a way to “try before you buy”, or even making premium PnP’s available after the campaign, giving backer a chance to play the game before the hard copy reaches their doorsteps. Others start out as a PnP and morph into something bigger. I have a lot of PnP’s in my collection, but there is one that has always stood out for me, Unbroken. In my opinion, this game has been screaming for the full box treatment, and now it is finally getting that chance!
Unbroken, designed by Artem Safarov, and soon to be published by Altema Games, is a game designed as a solo experience, right from the start. This is a bit of an oddity in the gaming world. Many games are designed as multiplayer experiences with solo modes added on later. Unbroken started off as a single player experience, and has stayed true to that. The purely solo experience is one of the first reasons I was attracted to this offering. Once I saw the files, and played through the game a few times, I was hooked.
Unbroken is a dungeon crawler at heart, but not one with a hero looking for gold and glory. No, in this game you are looking for revenge. Your character is the lone survivor of an adventuring party, a party that went deadly wrong. Battered, bruised, near death yourself, you try to find your way out of the depths of the dungeon you find yourself in, while getting a little revenge on the monsters along the way. This game will test you at every turn, making choices at every turn, some for the good, and some for the bad. You may get ambushed by a monster, or get the drop on it with a bit of trickery. Will you have enough food to make it through the day, or even enough energy, or as this game calls it, effort, to make it to the end of this encounter? Should you trade your precious resources to craft better weapons? Or do you rest, getting ready for what comes next? Did you beat the monster but forgot to plan enough food for the recover afterwards, well guess what, you still lose! The choices are endless, and so much fun to make. There are times when you kick yourself for trading food to make a knife, only to starve later on. There are times when you pat yourself on the back for getting just the right card at just the right time!
There is a lot of content in this game. The file contains 4 characters to choose from, each with their own special abilities. There is no shortage of bad guys waiting to crush you either, 24 to choose from spread out over 4 different levels of the dungeon. There are trackers for everything, from health, to even the effort that you must expend to take your actions. The effort comes in three different varieties small, medium, and large, and can be used to power up moves in battle, or used outside of battle to complete actions. This was a mechanic that I am not used to seeing, but fits so perfectly with this theme. There are 88 cards providing the tough choices I mentioned earlier. These cards are used during the adventuring phase, and allow you to prepare for the upcoming battle. This game tracks the time that you have spent doing various actions, everything you do takes time, so you must manage it wisely. Waste too much of it, and you will find yourself facing a monster that you are definitely not prepared for! Some actions will take more time than others. There are also 24 skill cards, often given as a reward for beating a monster, and may just give you the boost that you need to overcome a difficult obstacle. All of this content is offered in a PnP, but wait! There’s more! The art on the characters and monsters are amazing, and not what I am used to seeing on a free download.
Unbroken is so complex that I often spend so much (real) time thinking over the choices, that I wind up overthinking, and making the wrong one. This game is also very simplistic at it’s core. Wait, I just said it was complex, how can it be simplistic too? To be honest, I’m not sure, but somehow Artem has managed to do it! The monster battles have an epic feel, with all your preparations leading up to it, but it also comes down to the roll of a die to see what damage, if any, the monster inflicts upon you. Simple, right? Your attacks can use effort, cunning, or even your own food to help you in battle, but if you use to much, you cannot continue. Complex, right? In between monster battles you character travels, drawing two card from an encounter deck. You must choose one of these cards. These are the choices that can make or break your adventurer. Unbroken gives the player so much control over what happens to their characters, helping you to immerse yourself in the experience. The more you play this game, the better you get at it. Learning what you really need, as opposed to what you thought you might need. It’s a getting to know the characters experience. This entire experience is a quick one too! A normal game plays in 15-30 minutes, depending on how well you plan.
I am very excited that Unbroken is getting the full game treatment. The pictures I have seen from the Kickstarter project are amazing, and that is saying a lot. I did not think it was possible to make Unbroken any more amazing than it was, then I saw the new art and layouts, and was astonished. This PnP has been in my collection for some time, it has seen many plays, and will probably see many more. I cannot wait to get a retail copy of this game, with all the shiny bells and whistles. If your interested in backing this game you can find it here. My limited gaming budget will definitely make room for this worthy addition to my collection!
Thanks for joining me this week as I singlehandedly sought revenge! Join me next time, follow me on Twitter, and please, feel free to leave a comment below!
Don’t forget, once I hit 200 followers on Twitter, I will have a giveaway of a copy of Mint Tin Pirates!!