Five months ago, I took a first look at a comedic, card battling, RTS with roguelite features developed by Toge Productions. The title, Necronator: Dead Wrong showed signs of a promising and enjoyable game but was limited at the time by its lacking content. In the present, in late July, Necronator: Dead Wrong is leaving early access and preparing to launch officially. After spending some time with the title again, a considerable amount of content has been added, making for a much more complete experience, but how does it stack up against its preview build?
As a brief rundown, Necronator: Dead Wrong focuses on the story of a young leader who recently graduated from the Undead Academy - a veritable university for wannabe necromancer conquerors. Your role is to guide a growing army of the damned on an assault on humankind, pillaging villages and crushing opposing leaders, all by using card-based mechanics as the method of controlling the horde of undead. During a playthrough, it's your duty as a Commander to organise the troops into a competent enough force to overwhelm the defences of the humans, breaking down their forts and further forwarding the conquest.
Over the past months, Necronator: Dead Wrong has received several updates bringing tons of new content to the title, all of which are available in its launch build. Perhaps the one that caught my attention initially, would be the new playable Commander, who brings an entirely new style of gameplay. Known as Mirabella the Doll, or the Puppet Master, this ghoulish young prodigy can wield creepy yet effective trap cards such as explosive Betty mines, or unrelenting Bonnie dolls, all great when ensnaring victims. Likewise, with a new Commander comes new card decks and playable cards, of which there are plenty.
From a whole range of entirely new spells, utility enhancements and troops, the new card additions bring a level of gameplay that was missing five months ago. Now you can really build out a deck to the playstyle you intend to use, be it the brutish method of overwhelming numbers, or alternatively the more strategic method of buffing available units with unique utility charms. A new personal favourite card would be the Build-A-Teddy, which spawns three hardy teddy bears at a location, great for being a tank presence, especially when sieging a defensive structure.
Even more so, with this further developed version of Necronator: Dead Wrong, there are new enemy cards, bosses, and areas to conquer. Before, the extent of a playthrough would see a fight solely against the icy Baron, but now there are new human Commanders to face, such as the desert-based Sultana Al'Noobi. With the addition of new foes, a host of new enemy cards is also present that bring much-needed variety to the types of foes available to face. These range in quite an impressive scale from unique soldier types, all the way to overwhelming boss figures, such as the Baron's towering Yeti.
Perhaps the most noticeable change, however, is how campaign paths are created. Beforehand, the direction you could follow during a playthrough had to be quite heavily weighted toward the paths flowing through stores, or random encounters. Now, every path has an equal degree of encounter, meaning one direction could include a fight, a store and camp, but another could be a store, a camp and then a fight. With this alteration of the way the map is designed, the direction to follow really is your decision, compared to the disproportionally weighted previous version. This tweak is only accentuated by the new endless mode made to challenge the most skilled RTS, roguelite, card-building players.
Compared to the thoughts I initially concocted during the preview, the launch version of Necronator: Dead Wrong is substantially better, but it isn't without flaws. The difficulty spikes insurmountably between the first and second sector, going from barely a challenge to needing a well-balanced, designed deck to survive. Likewise, the limits in available Commanders almost forces a specific playstyle, although it should be noted a third Commander known as The Seductress is soon to be added.
Essentially, looking from where Necronator: Dead Wrong came from, to where it is now, it's substantially better and a much more complete and enjoyable experience, especially when looking at its campaign. Instead of being a short one phase adventure, it now spans 3 whole stages, and combining this with endless mode there are plenty of things to enjoy in-game. Any fans of RTS, roguelites or card-builders would find this game a great bit of fun, and as for the less experienced, Necronator: Dead Wrong caters well to the uninitiated to these genres as well as the uneducated in the ways of necromancy and global conquest.
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