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Game Maker Games - Hovendall Tactics
 Hovendall Tactics by Sander Florissen
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Review by GamesPenguin
Hovendall Tactics is a story-based TBS/RPG game in a medieval setting inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics. Despite its flaws it is possibly one of my favorite Game Maker games. The game follows young Verlo, a new lieutenant at the kingdom of Hovendall, as he uncovers a plot to take the throne. At the start of the game, he learns from an armed group of bandits that a certain faction called the Red Banner Army is rebelling against the king, and is supposedly led by an old thief lord. Verlo, along with his childhood friend Leon, set out to put down the rebellion.

The story is the strongest part of the whole game, and what makes it what it is. It is not merely an excuse to put you on a foreign planet with a gun pitted against hundreds of aliens. Unlike most games, where the storyline is, ďAliens are invading the planet. Take this gun and blow them all upĒ, you donít know the whole story at the beginning. In fact, you donít know the entire story and the true villain until the very end. And it sure kept me playing, desperately trying to discover who really is in charge of this Red Banner Army. Believe it or not, the game actually has character development. You really grow to care about Verlo, just like with Cliffton Spoon. The only flaws I found here were the overuse of swear words and the ending, which felt climatic, but not conclusive enough. 8/10.

Gameplay is good enough to keep you playing until the end. Its genre is unique to Game Maker Games, and feels like something new. The game is played with the mouse, and the controls felt smooth, very similar to Final Fantasy Tactics. Basically, you and the computer take turns moving your soldiers around and attacking each other. There are three different objectives for the ten missions: eliminating all enemies, defeating the enemy leader, and defending a specific independent unit. Lose Verlo, your leader, and the game is lost. Besides the different leaders, there are five different soldiers at your command: the all-powerful but slow armored knights, the intelligent and long-ranged but weak wizards, the sharpshooting and fast archers, the well-rounded young squires, and the very fast and very weak brunette scouts. The AI is very well done, and is very hard to defeat. However, they mostly act independent of each other and donít defend each other, but rather go straight for your leader. There are some exceptions, and on one very hard level a group of defenders guarded the boss, and another group was sent to surround and kill me. The creator must have had a lot of work put into this AI.

The difficulty is very hard the first time you play, but I found myself using the same hit-and-run tactics throughout the levels. The nice thing about the game is that it requires much thinking. You are often vastly outnumbered, and by far more powerful troops. No matter how frustrated you get, you want to keep playing on. The game has a fair amount of polish, and one thing I thought was nice was that every soldier had a different name. This made them feel more like individuals and less like cannon fodder. Overall, very good. 7/10.

The graphics are just beautiful. They all went exceedingly well together, and look very striking. Very well polished, and it all looks like a good amount of work went into it. The game has its own style, and I like it very much. The only problem I had was that some of the soldiers looked a little like girls, especially the main character. In fact, when I first started the game, I actually thought he was one. I also noticed that the default message boxes were used, but dialogue was done differently, and it didnít really matter. Iíll give graphics 9/10.

One could almost say I enjoyed the music the most, out of all of the parts of HT. It set the semi-dark-dramatic-retro tone very well. Every mission has its own music, each one getting more and more dramatic. They were all very catchy, and I liked the one at the end of each mission when you beat it. All music from Final Fantasy and one other game, but it fit so well. The game would not be the same at all without music. Iíll just give this an 8/10.

Sound does its job, and thereís a sound for pretty much everything that happens. I liked the sword sound. However, Iíd have liked a little more variety (e.g. different death sounds for different soldiers). Ambience would have been great. But this creator did not underestimate the importance of sound, unlike so many other programmers. Iíve gotta give thumbs up for that. 6/10.

Unfortunately, this is the worst (and pretty much the only bad) point of Hovendall. Once youíve beaten the game, you have no reason to play it again. You may want to play the whole thing through again for fun, but thatís it. However, it is fun while it lasts. 2/10

+Very good storyline
+Good gameplay
+Beautiful graphics
+Great music
-Ripped music
-Poor replay value
-Too short

Overall, Hovendall Tactics is short but sweet, an exceptionally good game. I see no reason why this isnít in the top 25 favorites. Highly worth the download and the time it lasts. If Iíve ever seen a true GM masterpiece, this is it. Iíd love to see a Hovendall Tactics 2.

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Recommendations: The 8 people who like Hovendall Tactics also like the following games.
Comments (Add your own):
2006.07.13 mapler_zeus
Rating: 9

Hey, can i have the example on the engine on this game please......
I will put your name on the credits for thanks if you give me. This is the perfect game made in Game Maker for so long. If you can make a Hovendall Tactics 2, that would be really good. I give it a 9-*********
2006.03.11 Sci-Fi Knux
Rating: 10

Really good game, a bit of fast movement, a glitch here or there, but definitely one of the bast games of GM that I've seen.
2006.02.21 El Jozoren Games
Rating: 2

Good graphics and music. BUT WHAT DO I DO?! HOW THE FREAK DO I ATTACK?!
2006.02.17 NiCk HoMa GrOwN
Rating: --

its spells strategy.I think is more rpg then strategy.
2006.02.17 NiCk HoMa GrOwN
Rating: 5

forgot rated it 5 cos the graphic's r great
2006.01.15 Farn
Rating: 10

This is probally the best tradegy game made with GameMaker I can't find anything wrong with it. Great job!
2005.12.09 Zeka
Rating: 6

Well done, A little boring though.
2005.12.08 Pie_4
Rating: 9

I got to level 10 and then i could never win! its so hard on level 10 but the rest are easy.
2005.12.08 Chris Kolar
Rating: 10

This was the first gmg that i ever played back in 04, and it is the most amazing 2d game ive seen so far. It is a fan game of Final Fantasy Tactics, but this is way better than some guy going 'hey, that was a fun game, i bet i can make something like it'

Everything in this engine is perfect, from the storyline right down to the gameplay. apparently a servant is trying to take over the throne, and some thieves get involved on the way.

It was a very challenging game, and strategy always came into play.

This may sound insane, but i found this one better than the 'Suikoden Tactics' other than the 3d engine part :p
2005.10.23 LegoCrazy1
Rating: 10

This is probably my favorite gm game ever.
2005.09.09 Hootie hoo!
Rating: 9

This is one of the first GM games I've ever played and I still love it!

It reminds me of Fire Emblem.

Very cool.
2005.07.28 GamesPenguin
Rating: 10

This game is great, possibly my second favorite GM strategy game ever (after Purper). The graphics are great, although the main character and the squire look like girls. The gameplay is great. It actually requires thinking and strategy as you get into the higher levels (especially Level 8). The story was excellent, not just thrown in there. You don't figure out the whole thing until the end. The AI, although simple (they just go right towards your weaker units), is very challenging. On the last level, I beat the game with a wizard and my main character. It's a very great game.
-Take out the cussing. I don't think they used the 'S' word in Medieval times.
-Make the main character look more like a guy, because he is one.
-Make a sequel!
This game definately deserves to be in the top 25 favorites.
2005.04.07 Yoltaz
Rating: 9

huh there is a way to skip through the dialugue u press space,
cool game
2005.02.14 #19
Rating: 7

Nice game.
A bit dialogue intensive. Needs a way to skip through it all. Also it would be nice if they would cut out the swearwords. rather challenging AI, good graphics.
2004.09.03 joolselliott
Rating: 9

I think this game is brill
but it gets a bit hard
2004.08.20 ThePyro
Rating: --

Can I have a copy of the engine (engine only im not stealing), I want to make a game simialar to final fantasty tactics, but different in play and story line
2004.07.22 magnus
Rating: --

Its gets kinda boring after a while but you have to admit, it is a a pretty cool game.
2004.06.27 ChilliDog
Rating: --

Great game! Sometimes there are errors when you try to play a saved game. It's one of those games where it's hard but you can't give up, because you don't want to give up. Really fun, I recommend playing it.
2004.04.16 jazzuo
Rating: --

ok this game is a very responsible peace of work. The engine as people call it is perfect. Absolutly no critisizm of that, witch is a good point to start.

The game play is as any RPG strategy. Move players one by one, your turn and enemy turn. But it missis all RPG gamplay as level up, special moves atc. Only fact that it is in mideval times and it has some story, otherwise the gameplay is simplified so that u might even say it is almost as board game. Each levels are small very small, but dificult sometimes

To AI of enemy it has been made very well but it is simple calculation and dont symulate a thinking enemy. But its challenging always. As a programator im impressed with the result. But simply said it is same simple AI as any other RPG strategy game.

The graphix are nice but nothing extra apealing its just polished clean and full but i feel no soual in them. Probably taken from some RPG maker.I was only pleasured by the images of faces that vere nice original drawings.

Overall this is a nice game to play and very important thing to see if u are a gamemaker programer, it is a impresive work in this sence. As a game it is nice but it has nothing outstanding over plain comercial works.
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