With its stunning graphics, challenging AI and substantially different gameplay, Golem Gates is a promising new entry in the modern RTS genre that is sure to satisfy veterans and newcomers alike.
Type: Single-player, Multiplayer
Genre: RTS, CCG
Developer: Laser Guided Games, LLC
Publisher: Laser Guided Games, LLC
Release date: 28 Mar, 2018
Golem Gates is a classic RTS combined with a collectible card game. Even if this is not the first game players have seen with this combination of genres, Golem Gates is probably one of the most successful to date. In this title the player will be a Harbinger, a powerful entity summoned to a presumably distant future by unknown masters and tasked with purifying all the corruption that plagues the world. To do so, you will be equipped with powerful Cards, enabling you to summon plenty of allies, defensive structures, and spells to aid your conquest. The game is divided into chapters, as far as the story is concerned, with a total of three acts composed of five chapters each, for a total of fifteen missions. What I really liked about Golem Gates is the possibility of customizing your deck, choosing what units you want to have in it, and gaining new ones after each mission. There are very varied situations which the campaign proposes, with a constant supply of new, fresh objectives in each mission. Trust me, it never becomes boring.
As said before, Golem Gates blends collectible card games and RTS, and does so in quite a successful way. In the main menu you will have access to the Archive, where you will be able to customize your deck freely by adding or removing as many units as you wish. Consider that having smaller or bigger decks each has its own advantages, as cards you play in a match cannot be used again until your deck runs out to 0. In that case, you can refresh it to have all cards again and wisely choose a more balanced number of cards. Other than the Archive, you also got the Forge, a shop where you can spend Bits earned from completing missions, challenges, and also online matches, to have new cards that change each day, for a price.
The available game modes are Campaign, structured in 15 levels of increasing difficulty and with unique objectives and situations each. Players will find Trials, a series of 30 challenges with unique conditions and banned/limited/free cards in them to test your adaptability, each of them rewarding new Cards and Bits, as well as Survival Mode, Solo, Co-op against an endless enemy horde, and finally Versus with online 1v1, 2v2, and so on PVP matches.
When a game starts you will only have your Harbinger as a unit, he is very strong but if killed, you immediately lose. New units and turrets can be summoned in any place where you have vision, as long as you have the resources. You click on a unit card, and then select where to spawn it, and instantly get it in that spot. There are no factories or production queues in Golem Gates, only Energy and Cards usable right away if you have enough of it. A used card will disappear and become available again only when your deck is reset, and this can only happen when you reach 0 cards in it. You can, of course, have multiple units of the same card in a deck, and cards are drawn randomly from it with a set amount of time.
Cards are divided several variations. There are moving, controllable Units that are your offensive backbone, Structure that are generally turrets and traps to defend areas such as Power Nodes, and Spells for consumable one-time offensive or defensive spells that can inflict damage or support friendly units.,
The key to victory is conquering Power Nodes, circular structures you and your enemies will compete for. These grant a higher threshold of maximum Energy and more energy per second. Basically, who controls the most of these will have the most resources faster and have a serious advantage in the game. However, a game ends only when the enemy Commander is slain.
Overall, the gameplay of Golem Gates is quite fast paced compared to other RTS games, very varied, stimulating, and generally quite well done.
Combat in Golem Gates does not differ much from any other RTS game, with the only difference being the possibility of summoning units in any place as long as you have vision on it. For the rest, there will be frontline heavy armored units, generic infantry units, ranged units, Hero units (only one at a time can exist of them), support units, and so on.
With a ton of challenges and cards to collect, endless survival mode, and PVP, this game has quite a lot of content to dig into and will take you dozens of hours to complete everything.
For what I’ve seen, the game is generally balanced, the only couple of things that do not entirely convince me are the fact that in the campaign, enemies have access to units you cannot possibly have gained yet, sometimes more advanced and powerful, but still beatable. Also, the spells are a bit too powerful against a large groups of units, many times I saw a great army being severely damaged or even wiped by only a few spells in the middle of it. Another thing I feel it could use is a tactical pause when vs. AI in single-player, because as you well know, AIs can micro and macro much faster than any human could, so a tactical pause to issue multiple orders simultaneously to your units would be more fair when fighting against a machine.
The game does not have difficulty settings, and is generally quite challenging. Utilizing a smart AI that will give you a good fight in each mission, sometimes even a bit on the unfair side.
For being an RTS, Golem Gates shows off some very good graphics with highly detailed models, high quality textures, effects, and very well done environments that really give players the feeling of a totally distant, futuristic world torn apart by war and desolation. Well done.
Narration and voiceovers regarding the story are quite good and feel immersive along with sound effects regarding units, weapon fire, construction. and several other sounds that are well done even if not particularly outstanding. The soundtrack is engaging and well composed.
I found this game being quite heavy on the GPU side, even with a GTX1080 I was forced to play on 1080p, (normally I play on 1440p) because of unstable frame-rates below 45 FPS on that res, some better optimization may be good but generally runs fine.
Nothing to report.
Enemy AI is very smart and will always give you a challenge.
Quality of Life
Nothing to report.
Bugs / Issues
Nothing to report.
Golem Gates is a new generation RTS that offers varied gameplay, engaging albeit quite minimalist story, plenty of various game modes and challenges, and very good customization of your unit roster. For any RTS fan, I recommend this game.