Review: ‘Goblins of Elderstone’

LOST GOBLIN | Photo Courtesy

When most people think of Goblins they think of gross, ugly, mean spirited creatures that are only alive to wage war and destruction. What if I told you there was a game out there where all of what I just stated can be proven false? Well there is. Goblins can be peaceful traders and faithful worshippers just as well as fearsome warriors. “Goblins of Elderstone,” available on the early access page of the Steam Store, allows players to do just that. Developed by Lost Goblin and published by Crytivo, the game gives an interesting twist to the real-time strategy genre.

The game starts out by giving players the option to pick the story of their goblins and their village. The story at its core is just a way to pick the skills, way of life, what gods your goblins will have to characterize their culture and what special abilities they will be capable of.

The beginning of the story asks for your goblins alignment. This is to say if they will be good, neutral or evil. In my story, I picked neutral because I do not believe that goblins are evil or good by nature. In books and movies, they are normally being used by an external force.

The next section of the story is called the Path. The Path is the choice to focus your goblins on war, trade or faith. I chose to be warlike because I want to be neutral until someone angers the wrong goblin ruler.

Next up in the story is Magic. The three magics available are Divine, Nature and Arcane. I didn’t want my goblins to be religious fanatics nor did I want them to be in a cult. So, I decided I wanted them to be at peace with nature and defend the trees or something like that.

The last part of the story is who your Enemy will be. Your options are orcs, dwarves, elves or humans. I chose elves, but in the game I am currently playing I have not met them just yet.

After finishing the story, you get to pick where your goblin village will be based, the name of the village and what the goblin clan residing in it will be called. There isn’t much to say about this except that you have the options of either living in the mountains, a forest or the plains. Each have differences in what resources there are and the number of enemies in the environment.

By far my favorite part about this game is the charming graphics and adorable goblins. I know in previous articles I have stated that graphics do not make a game, gameplay does. However, this game’s graphics really do increase the fun.

One thing I think everyone should do is watch the goblins gather sticks and use hammers to construct the many buildings a stable goblin village needs. The adorable green minions keep the game interesting as they go about their lives doing whatever you ask. Now I have said it before and I will say it again, graphics do not make a game, gameplay does. Even for a game as graphically charming as this.

The gameplay of “Goblins of Elderstone” as compared to other RTS (real-time strategy) games is not, for the most part, anything new. I will say that there is a lot of automation and variety when it comes to resources. Other RTS titles make you build specific buildings for a certain resource. This is a standard practice for most RTS games.

“Goblins of Elderstone,” on the other hand, has thirty different resources. That many resources to collect would be exhausting and off-putting to many players. This is remedied with an automation resource collection from your cute little goblins. Any resource you need, if you have the right equipment, will be automatically found and gathered by your goblins. Along with this automatic collection mechanic, there is also an automatic construction mechanic. After collecting a resource, your goblins will go to whatever building needs that resource and put it in the building pile for construction. As cute and productive your little goblins are, they are not without enemies.

Combat is a big thing in this game because you need to protect what is yours and fight for goblin kin. With wraiths, skeletons, marauding armies and the need to expand, the goblins need a military. In the game I am playing now, I have not yet tested out the combat and I have been trying to avoid spoiling it for myself. I do know that there are war buildings that you can use to protect your village and attack others. There are also guard towers that shoot arrows to harass nearby enemies. There are also barracks where I believe you can create goblin warriors and archers. I’m not sure what else there is, but there is much more I have not done yet.

Now there are a couple downsides to this game, but this is mostly because it is still in early access and does not have everything fixed or released. Some of the buildings are not functional, meaning a player can build them but they will not work as the game stands. There is no way to access the world map, diplomacy or the clans button. There are also a few glitches that I have experienced.

One of them is after placing a building, normally bridges extend from it to the nearest building but I have also been seeing random bridges show up in the environment not connecting to anything. Another problem I have had was two separate crashes after immediately starting the game. Other than those, I have not seen anything that is game breaking.

I do not play many games that are simple with a softer atmosphere, but “Goblins of Elderstone” is quite intriguing. “Goblins of Elderstone” is a beautiful and charming game that has some great potential.

Almost anyone could find something enjoyable in this game. It could be the goblins that waddle around with a purpose and helping in any way they can. It could also be the soft art style that is cartoonish and mystical.

I hope “Goblins of Elderstone” stays in development and is eventually worked on to completion.

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