Overlord Minions Review «

Ever have an unfulfilled passion to boss ugly creatures around? Overlord Minions lets you fulfill it by letting you, er, overlord over four tiny minions. Each minion possesses a unique ability: the brown one moves or picks up objects, the blue one walks on water and ice, the red fellow runs through fire just fine, and the green goblin can saunter through poisonous gas. You need to use these minions correctly to overcome puzzle-like obstacles scattered throughout the six stages of the campaign.

The game’s main hook is that it’s entirely played with the stylus. If only said stylus mechanic was actually responsive. My major gripe with Overlord Minions stems from the inability to actually give my minions specific directions via the stylus; I would frequently attempt to do things like pick up a key or move a box, but to no avail. Let me warn you: your patience will often be unnecessarily tested by continuously poking the screen with the stylus and having nothing to show for it. Because of this general unresponsiveness, working towards completing a stage becomes dull and irritating.

Click the image above to check out all Overlord Minions screens.

Directing multiple minions towards a destination can also be nerve-wracking. As you progress through later chapters, timing and speed become vital when navigating the little creatures to safety. Because they follow each other in a line, navigating around a corner becomes tricky; the third or forth minion tends to run into the wall as the group changes direction — thus leaving them jogging in place. Levels with moving platforms are especially challenging — it’s often better to just direct one or two minions at a time instead of worrying about losing one behind a corner or down a bottomless pit.

In case you were picking this game up for its hack-and-slash appeal, keep in mind that the combat is mind-numbingly simple; you just rub the stylus left-and-right over an enemy. The faster this movement is, the swifter the minion’s attack. And while each minion has a special attack (with an accompanying charge meter), combat still just isn’t all that exciting.

Also, while multiple respawn points for your fallen minions are scattered throughout each stage, there aren’t any checkpoints around. After leading the brigade through a drawn-out process of unlocking doors, slashing enemies, dropping drawbridges and blowing up walls, it’d be nice to have the piece of mind of never having to redo the same process again (especially since a stage can take about thirty minutes to finish). This gets particularly aggravating with stages spanning multiple levels; once everyone dies, you have to start from the beginning. Even though health is scattered throughout the stage, it just isn’t enough sometimes. You do have the luxury of unlimited respawns, though, so making sure one minion is alive at all times can be crucial.

The game’s most redeeming quality is easily the boss battle for each chapter. These manage to be mildly entertaining, and also ease the irritation of progressing through the repetitive and boring stages. Each battle requires you to figure out how to use your minions, their skills, and the environment to exploit the boss’ weak spot — which is just more interesting than the regular moment-to-moment gameplay. Unfortunately, there are only six of these battles, and they just aren’t enough to make you want to sit through the rest of the game.


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