Some readers may remember the days when you'd once pay $50 USD to play a turn-based fantasy adventure RPG like King's Bounty on your computer at home, and with good reason. The unique creative concepts prompted a plethora of remakes, and even the occasional boardgame. Flash's Bounty is a streamlined, pared-down approach to what has now become a franchise of games derived from a single classic title, which only shows how much there is to be said for developing an original gaming formula. In Flash's Bounty you play a knight of King Maximus, keeping West Liberon safe from monsters and keeping the barbarian attacks at bay so the average peasant can go about their ordinary lives in peace. Maximus has promised to give the King's Bounty to whomever can retrieve the Unicorn Sword, which provides a convenient pretext to adventure through the landscape putting down surreal critters, restoring civilization, building forces and generally living it up with honor and valor.
Adventuring with your apparently-clockwork steed takes place on land, in caves and eventually — when you can buy a boat — sea. (Don't worry about those all-black ships angling ominously towards you, I'm sure they're just friendly sailors with a love of quality gothic-industrial music.) Defeating the bad guys will gain you gold and experience, and you'll also get paid each week at a rate you can increase by exploring. You'll encounter various recruitable unit types here and there around the map, and with enough gold you can hire them up to a limit defined by your leadership ability. Each week a different unit type is featured, and their numbers replenish automatically. Chests will typically offer you money, or the option to distribute it among your troops instead for a significant leadership buff. Leveling will present a choice between two different buffs, and refreshingly if your level blatantly outclasses the forces you encounter they're likely to surrender without a fight and you'll gain experience regardless. Movement is with your preference of [WASD] and [arrow] keys, while clicking selects from menus. We found the maps large enough to keep things interesting, with more added through the course of the game. While Flash's Bounty does seem to overemphasize on the power of ranged units like pixies and archers and think that seventy peasant farmers wielding pitchforks are of no consequence — we beg to differ — we were delighted to find the diversity of all the martial units mundane and surreal, friendly and otherwise, available. And the ability to teleport the opposing ranged units directly into the thick of your heavy-duty bruiser melee forces is an unrivaled opportunity for irrepressible giggling not to be missed. With plenty of maps for adventuring and even an Endless Play mode, now is the perfect time to discover the Bounty.