Hello, sir or madam, do you have a moment to spare? I would like to tell you about a new movement that is quickly gaining influence in social, political and economic circles. We are called the Society for the Advancement of Under Represented Mythological Creatures or SAUR MC (pronounced: Saur M.C.). We feel that vampires, werewolves, goblins, trolls, unicorns and other creatures get too much press. What about the cockatrice, the Jack-in-Irons, the forest bull or the basilisk?
Well, brothers and sisters, the basilisk is finally getting some attention in the new game Oliver & The Basilisks. It's a turn-based strategy board game in which you'll take control of the wizard Oliver in his quest to destroy the basilisks. It's not the most pro-basilisk game, but there's no such thing as bad publicity.
There are three game modes: simple, normal and deluxe. The rules for simple still apply for the other modes, but with each mode additional rules are put into effect. Here's the basics: the basilisks are trying to kill Oliver and vice-versa. Each turn Oliver can move one space in any direction (buy either hitting the numerical keys or using the mouse to press the directional buttons in the top right corner), the basilisks also only move one space and will always move straight for Oliver. You can kill a basilisk by making two basilisk run into each other, making a basilisk run into a stone or by using one of your spells. Kill all the basilisks to beat a stage.
Normal and deluxe add a few things, most notably golems. When playing these two modes you'll notice little pink orbs moving around the board, these are magic spirits. If Oliver grabs one of these it'll recharge his spells, but if one of them hits a stone they transform it into a golem. Golem can destroy stones and kill basilisks, but the only way to kill a golem is with your disintegration spell or by getting two golems to run into each other. Don't worry though, you don't need to clear the golems to get to the next level.
Analysis: The first level of any mode in Oliver & The Basilisks is kind of slow and doesn't really show the challenges of the game and the strategy needed to beat a level. But it doesn't take long for the difficulty to ramp up and the fun to begin. The rules are very simple, which makes the game accessible, but you'll need to put on your thinking cap and your strategic planning pant suit. There is one annoying downside to the difficulty. The biggest one is that there's not way to select what level you want to start out on. It's a bummer to get to a level with a ton of basilisks, make a misstep, get killed and go back to a level with just four. However, in some modes this is necessary because there's an experience system for your spells and if you're having too much trouble you can always switch to an easier mode.
The three modes give the game a lot of variety and not just in terms of difficulty. In simple mode you only get three spells, but in normal there's seven available and in deluxe you get a whopping 14 spells. In normal mode, you'll be able to change spells in between levels and it's a lot of fun to test out the different kinds of spells. In deluxe, your starting spells are randomized. Not only does this give you the fun of exploring spells, but it also creates a bunch of different game scenarios of different difficulty. You might end up with spells that just move you or the enemies around and you'll only have your wits to rely on.
There are some annoyances, the most noticeable being that after awhile my game started being interrupted by in-game pop-up ads. It'd also be nice if you could just click on a space to have Oliver move there. These small problems aside Oliver & The Basilisks is a great choice for folks who like their games with a nice helping of strategy. Even if you're not up for a big challenge you're sure to find a mode that you'll find comfortable. Once you get into this game, you'll be into it. You'll find your time being gobbled up as you try to out-maneuver your foes and find the right set of spells that will serve you best.