Empire – Tribal Rage review

Photo of Empire – Tribal Rage

Some of the recent crop of top-view strategy games are so far up their own construction by-product disposal chutes that playing them is simply no fun at all. You choose a team, dig for materials, build up an army, attack the opposition, and… either win or lose. The End. Somehow, the required amusement level just isn’t there. Tribal Rage is different. Refreshingly different, in fact.

Admittedly, it doesn’t look much different, at least to start with. You still have to choose a team, but this time there’s no digging for materials and managing all those tedious natural resources. Spend your cash on a selection of warriors, both mounted and on foot, then drag, point and click to reveal the areas of the map that are initially hidden. As you progress, you’re bound to eventually stumble on some of the opposition, at which point you simply drag, point and click again to begin battle. To add insult to injury, it is even possible to capture your opponents’ buildings and use them as your new base.

It still doesn’t sound too unusual, but the real difference lies in the teams. No hi-tech future warriors here, oh no. Think of a cross between Mad Max and Full Throttle (remember that?) and you’ll be close. There are Cyborgs, Amazons, Death Cultists, Trailer Trash, Bikers and Enforcers, each with their own idiosyncratic modes of transport. The Amazons, for example, ride dinosaurs (yes, really), while the Bikers… well, you can probably guess that one. There are add-on tribes planned for future release, too, helping to ensure that the game is fun rather than fundamentally dull. Even the buildings, like the Gates Motel and Greasy Spoon Cafe, have their own particular ambience, and this is definitely an ideal game for multi-player combat. Especially when at least half of the players are drunk.

Company: Empire

Playing Tribal Rage is like having a quick bout of Duke Nukem 3D after the concentration of a Quake Death-match. Yes, we know that there are similar games with better graphics, more in-depth gameplay and a slicker interface. But there aren't many strategy games entertaining enough to draw evil cackling laughter from their players. Praise enough, we think.