Army Corps of Hell certainly surprised me. Perhaps it was the straight out of the early 1980s heavy metal aesthetic, perhaps it was the simplicity of the whole affair, but I wasn’t expecting much of the game. As it turns out, if you can get past the screaming hair metal soundtrack (I’m a metal fan myself, but this wasn’t flavored to my particular taste), there’s a pretty fun little game in here.
The premise is simple: you’re a lord of the dead, and you REALLY want to dominate everything. To do this, you need to summon an army of goblin minions who come in three flavors: melee, spearmen and spellcasters. Each level is a series of combat arenas filled with traps and enemies, whom you must make judicious use of your minions to kill.
Combat plays out similar to Overlord, in that you select the type of minion you want to send out, and have them swarm your target. Get enough minions on an enemy and you can have them combine their strength for a kill move. Combine this with a sort of rock/paper/scissors mechanic against the various enemy types, and you’ve got yourself a game.
When you have a minion type selected, you may also call your army into formation, which differs per minion. If you need to squeeze into a tight space between traps, you’ll call up your spearmen, and collapse into a narrow formation. Again, it’s simple, but it keeps you on your toes.
Enemies you kill drop various components for the game’s crafting system, which allows you to manufacture new gear for your minions as well as various consumables to use while in a map. While there are a fair amount of options here, it’s presented in a very linear fashion, so forcing you to grind out ingredients for new gear is kind of a let-down.
As with all new system launches, you have your fair share of games that appear to be nothing more than up-rezzed games from the prior system, and Army Corps of Hell definitely appears to be in this camp. Other than a few tacked-on rear touch pad functions, nothing about it, graphics included, couldn’t be accomplished on the PSP.
There is local co-op play available, but due to my distinct lack of a PS Vita-owning co-op partner, I’m only able to cover the solo portion of the game, hence its appearance as a Beyond Co-Op review. If I’m able to get some co-op in, hopefully I’ll return to this review and get it done up proper. As is, it’s certainly a solid B-tier title for your Vita while you anxiously await more game announcements.