Necronator


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Rating: 4.2/5 (99 votes)
| Comments (18) | Views (185)

JamesNecronatorBeing bad is hard to do! Tasked with raising the monstrous horde and overrunning the kingdom, it might seem like a done deal. After all, the stories you usually hear is about how hard good has to work to overcome evil. But it's clearly not as clean-cut, a lesson imparted by Necronator, the latest game from Infectonator developer Toge Productions.

Serving as the invisible overlord, as is often the case in strategy games, you summon monsters from a portal that has spawned near a local town. Using mana as the currency, you have to raise an army (or at least a sufficiently armed gaggle) and storm the locals, butchering peasants, stomping on guards and tearing down the buildings. Ah, evil: it's hard work, but the hands-on nature makes for great job satisfaction. Unlike Infectonator, which essentially involved dropping a bomb and hoping for the best, Necronator is a proper strategy game. You have different monsters you can spawn, ranging from skeletons to orcs and zombies, as well as a few hero units that unlock as you progress. As an evil overlord you are also armed with spells to unleash more devastation from above, a part that becomes pretty crucial later on.

Play all the Necronator games:
NecronatorNecronator 2

The monsters and spells can be upgraded, as well as the amount of mana you have, how fast it recharges and the strength of your spawning portal. If the latter gets destroyed, you cannot spawn more monsters into the map and might soon be overrun by angry locals. You can also buy additional spells and the various unit types, once unlocked, also need to be purchased. But at least it is easy keeping your bottom line healthy. You make cash from attacking villages; even if a raid fails you keep the cash and can invest in your army, making it larger and more potent.

Analysis: Before we get to its flaws, I'd prefer to gloss over them first. Necronator is a lot of fun and worth at least a minute or two of your life. Usually we would start a review on JIG with a breakdown of the controls, but befitting of any strategy title there is a bit more under the hood here and playing the game is by far the best way to wrap your head around things. Some keys are crucial, such as the [Z] short-cut to select all units, but the entire game can be played using only the mouse. Progression is linear: you only have one village you can ever attack to move forward, but you can attack villages previously destroyed for more cash or to defeat the little challenges. Progress to other villages and provinces are unlocked by destroying the town in front of you and as you overrun the kingdom, you encounter hero units in certain locations. Killing some of these unlock hero units on your side.

NecronatorInvesting in your unit upgrades is crucial, as the game slowly rolls out ever-more dangerous guards, not to mention the odd hero (who can be very devastating). Thanks to the single spawn portal and being only limited by your mana supply, you can easily spawn a new army and keep feeding monsters into the battle. More than once a fight has gone bad for me, but I managed to turn it around with some quick unit spawning and a meteor shower (or two) to level the playing field. That will teach the locals from trying to put a stop to my slaughter!

But this is a pretty ambitious use of Flash (it even has a decent soundtrack and sound effects), so a few annoyances surface. Foremost is the navigation around the map. You can use the WASD keys or click on the mini-map: either is fine, except that clicking on the mini-map removes the mouse from wherever you are focused, while the WASD keys means your fingers are slightly removed from the other shortcuts (for example, making [Q] the 'Select All Units' would make more sense). This might seem like a petty suggestion, but Necronator is very heavy on micro-management.

That exposes another flaw. Your units are simply not very disciplined and some easily break away from the main group and wander after a threat. Such initiative is usually rewarded with death as they get ambushed by some log-dragging peasant - even the dark spawn benefit from safety in numbers. When told to target something the monsters are great, but left to their own devices and they are a bit unruly. Initially this isn't a problem, as you only look at them. But later it becomes necessary to drop a few destructive spells on pesky archer or magic units to help even the odds. Essentially you spend a lot of time making sure your army doesn't get out of hand, which is tricky when you are assaulted from all sides in later battles. It's also nearly impossible to control specific units. You can select them individually or grab a bunch by dragging a rectangle over them, but the small play area and lack of a mouse scroll makes such maneuvers tricky and perhaps beyond most players. In the end you just constantly launch all your units at one spot, hammering the 'Select All' key to keep netting the new monsters you have spawned.

But when you look at the big picture, these are more nitpicks around a game that is actually well-executed (bar a bug that sometimes locks up a battle or some scenarios that are simply ridiculous to fight - taking on three heroes at once? Seriously?!). Necronator is a fun game and there is a lot to relish between the unit upgrades and surveying fields of gore and dead peasants. It's always a good sign when a game beats you over the head and you simply keep going back for more.

Play Necronator

18 Comments

I really, really hope it had nothing to do with the game, but in the middle of playing I got hit HARD by a trojan that did a lot of things in a very short span of time. Nothing running but the game, and it happened during a level load of the game.

[Flash is actually fairly secure, so I highly doubt your trojan experience was anything other than a coincidence as far as playing this game is concerned. -Jay]

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Nimdok, I'm really sorry to hear that. The game ran fine on my end.

Just a couple of thoughts:
1. A combo of archers and orcs were my go-to strategy. (maxed both of them early on in the game)
2. For the later rounds, a lvl 10 Diablo spell is almost unstoppable.
3. I didn't find zombies or the infection spell all that useful (had them at lvl 10 and 8 respectfully)
4. The only hero I thought worth summoning was the dark archer (at later lvls she'll start shooting 7 arrows at a time)
5. Other then that, I upgraded, my mana limit, recharge rate, and upkeep to 40-45.

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Flash has nothing to do with trojans whatsoever. If you could install a trojan via Flash, 90% of the planet would get instantly infected.

As for the game, I went full zombie, it was a blast until the third world where I'm completely helpless.

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None of the melee units are very effective against anything that is running away (which is half the things you'll face). Melee units will chase after them, swing at air, and chase some more. However, arrows curve to home in on their targets. For that reason alone, I stuck with archers (successively upgraded) and that was pretty much enough to get me through the whole game. This includes the final level, where I made short work of the

nine heroes.

With the maximum upgrade to 50 units, I barely even needed any hero units. As for any enemy hero units, 20+ archers concentrating fire took care of anything pretty easily. The only major threat was when a whole bunch of enemies would gang up in a small space against my archers; but then I would just unleash a meteor at the cluster.

My overall strategy was to scroll over to buildings, let loose a meteor, queue up a bunch of archer units (auto on) while I was waiting for the meteor to recharge, and repeat. I'd only ever need to scroll back over to my units if I noticed their numbers dropping precipitously, and it was always only due to a cluster of enemies which I'd send a meteor to clear out.

This is no doubt the best game of the series, but I was still disappointed that there wasn't more variety in units and spells. I think I built up too much of an expectation from each previous version being so much better than the one before, but this one is only a moderate development from World Dominator (which is still saying a lot). One thing I liked more in World Dominator was that there was some unpredictability in unlocks (I had to track down Santa in the last few levels; unlocking the Thriller/MJ zombie came from destroying a grave rather than killing a hero unit). However, World Dominator didn't let you replay cities you had destroyed, and I really appreciated the ability to replay (and retry for Massacre/Time awards).

However, is it just me, or do the Massacre awards become almost impossible? The maximum number of humans just never come out! Has anybody figured out how to coax them out, or what the deal with pacing is? I've tried maximum speed slaughter, and excruciatingly slow slaughter, but in both the villages stop spawning short of the Massacre goal. A medium speed seems to work the best, but has anybody figured out how actually works?

I'd echo the complaints about the difficulty of micromanagement, and also add that the upgrade menu, where you have to flip cards around to see stats (and a mouseover on "upgrade" for units doesn't tell you what it will do) is really slow and tedious. But it's a minor thing.

Overall, fantastic game! I thought World Dominator had an air of finality about it (what do you conquer after the whole world??), so it was a wonderful surprise to see this. I liked the ending, too, connecting this to its prequel.

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Wait, what happens at the thrid world??!!??! Im all zombie! What will happen :*(

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Evergreen May 18, 2010 11:45 PM

Just a comment about the review and its presentation: I can't tell what kind of game this is without loading it up myself. I get that it's a strategy game, but that could mean an RTS like Starcraft or a turn-based game like Civilization. Or even a menu-driven game like Travian.

The analysis section makes it sound possibly Starcraft-y, but I don't think I should have to read all the way through the review before I even know whether the game is in a genre I like. Neither screenshot shows me any gameplay. If this is a game worth playing, I think you may be shorting it by not giving people a reason to click through.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 10:57 AM

I concur with most of what's been said here. This game is a lot of fun, though it gets a mite repetitive once you've figured out your upgrade strategy. Not too bad, though.

The guy does need to fix his Massacre achievements, though, as they ARE verifiably impossible for over half the target villages & cities. Some are agonizingly close (max 92 out of 100 spawns), while others are in the realm of "Are you kidding?" (102 out of 250 spawns). Each town seems to come up the same number short over & over again, so it does not seem to be anything the player can control. A pimple on an otherwise nice game.

It would also be nice if the sound effects were up to the same standard as the music, and if there were a global setting to turn off the "hijack the game for 30 seconds to show you the heroes" thing.

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I had fun with this game, and also agree that the massacre awards are impossible on the last few regions of the game. On some of the levels you can wait and wait for the last few knights to come stumbling out as long as you don't blow up their spawn buildings, but for some either the knights stop spawning or I got tired of waiting (I'm not waiting 10 seconds per spawn for 75 more knights to show up).

Like m3psi I also got through with

hordes and hordes of cheap archers which just shredded everything, although I never had them wander Auto ON, but had then walk around in a tight cluster which would erase any enemy within eyeshot distance pretty much immediately.

Most of the fun I derived from the game was after I won it, and having "sandboxy" fun replaying levels. e.g., limiting myself to a single, highly upgraded zombie, or limiting myself to the Banshee and the meteor spell, or limiting myself to just the Wizard.

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Escapist Author Profile Page May 21, 2010 12:20 AM

This one is pretty fun. I agree that the impossible massacre bonuses are quite annoying (especially for a completist). Maybe we're missing something that can get more people to spawn? Does maxing out our own upkeep limit the respawn somehow?

I will say that trying to micro manage this game is insanely difficult. My strategy, even at the end, was to just pump out all my heroes with a decent force of all the other units, set them to autopilot, and start fireballing buildings while necroing and infecting.

I agree that it would be nice to be able to turn off the "hero introductions" that pull the camera away. It would also be nice to have the pause hot-keyed to make micro managing easier.

Fun game overall, though. =)

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page May 21, 2010 4:41 AM

I'm really enjoying this game and its really a great improvement to the virus/zombie predecessors, yet given them tribute.

About the units running of problem - hey it are undeads and orcs, how smart do you think they are? As evil wizard of course you have to put up with their limited intellect!

I too have the issue of not being able to do some massacres. Good to see that I'm not doing something wrong, as everybody has this issue.

Oh and we never say no to screens with gorgeous pixel babes for pixel phantasies ;-)

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Jörmungandr Author Profile Page May 22, 2010 4:16 PM

This game is a little too repetitive for my liking. a big part of strategy games is the variety of objectives, events, strategies and personal goals that this game is lacking. Simple game play like this was good for fast paced games like Infectonator but this hybrid isn't working for me.

P.S. I *love* the random facts generator =P

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Otto Hottentot May 23, 2010 1:56 PM

Critics about bad screenshots is justified.
It is a recurrent problem here at jayisgames.com.
If by the slightest chance one person from jayisgame.com is reading this post, please add more screenshots for the reviewed games.
It can really make people stop from coming here, if they found another website with a similar content (top quality reviews of casual games) but with better screenshots.
Good luck ;-))

[Thanks for the feedback. I am proud of most of the screenshots we have provided for the games we have reviewed over the years. Some have been better than others, though, I'll agree. I've passed your comment on to the review team. -Jay]

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This was kinda fun but got monotonous quickly. In the 4th continent it got too slow to be controlled, and since the units require constant micromanaging that was it. I booted up warcraft 2 to recreate the experience.

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I got all the Massacre achievements the first time I attacked each city. Maybe I'm playing a newer version?

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I love the game, but I have one question: What does the resurrect spell do?

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Anonymous June 15, 2010 2:44 AM

The resurrect spell gives you units (skeletons), but you have to cast it over a body - over a blood stain does not work. Try to cast it over multiple bodies at once. Note that one of the heroes auto casts it.

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How do you turn off blood.I can't play unless blood is off. PLEASE HELP!

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i'm on the first island now, after the continent, but so far i easily got all the massacre first try. I usually bomb the houses, they give you "kills"

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