Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Unholy Heights - PC

Satan, Beelzebub, Old Nick - the Devil has many different names but no matter what people have chosen to call him across the millennia, he is usually portrayed in exactly the same way, with cloven hooves, forked tail and horns and is usually wreathed in dancing flames. However, I think it's safe to say that he's never been portrayed as a mustachioed, middle-age landlord with a receding hairline before. Yet, that is exactly what Old Nick looks like in Unholy Heights, a neat little game available via Playism.
    Yes, the economic downturn that has forced nations to their knees and brought misery to millions has even reached the fiery depths of Hell. Bankers, I'm sure you'll agree, have a lot to answer for.
    Forced to leave the warmth of home behind to become financially secure again, the Devil has packed his belongings, crossed the Acheron and built an apartment block slap bang in the middle of fertile countryside. But he isn't looking for students to rip off or an average Joe to reside in his block. Instead, he's looking to cram monsters of all shapes and sizes into his otherworldly development - Unholy Heights.
    Not only do these demons and mythical creatures pay rent, they also rally to the Devil's call and will fight brave adventurers who would love nothing more than to steal the Devil's wealth.
    Monsters wander to the apartments, take a look at the noticeboard and either decide they want to stay, or toddle off to find somewhere better to rest their weary heads. If they are interested in staying, a simple click sends them into one of the available rooms.
    A rag-tag collection of misfits, demons and mythological creatures come and go, each with their own fighting style and having a decent mix is always advisable because it doesn't take long for the fighting to begin.

Once an intruder is spotted, the player has to knock on doors and rouse his demonic army. However, sometimes, this motley crew are out and about doing their own thing, leaving the player short-handed and with limited options. Once engaged in battle, it's wise to keep a close eye on things, because if your tenants die, they are gone forever. Luckily, a simple click sends them scurrying back, while another creature takes its place. Defeat the forces of good, and you'll be rewarded with cash.
    Missions are also available on the block's noticeboard. These are colour coded and completing them unlocks items, new monsters and bundles of cash, which can be spent upgrading rooms, buying items for your tenants, or increasing the size of Unholy Heights.
    Your residents aren't shy and ask for improvements in their rooms, which obviously comes at a cost - but keeping the little blighters happy is certainly worth the extra effort. Of course, you can evict them if you like, or even crank up the rent if they are being particularly bothersome.
    It gets deeper, too, with some monster breeds disliking others and there's even a romantic angle to proceedings, with couples getting together and having baby monsters. The benefit of this is that rather than just one demon residing in a room, you can have multiple bodies - a larger fighting force - and increase the rent as a result. However, more demons means more demands and keeping  everyone in Unholy Heights happy is somewhat akin to spinning plates but it is an essential component of this cracking little game.
    All of the single screen action is wrapped up in a quite splendid soundtrack, which strums and whistles away beautifully in the background and gives things a light-hearted feel, even though battles are anything but.
    There is plenty of depth here - although not everything is crystal clear - and it's one of those titles which effortlessly sucks away hours of your time and quick 10 minute sessions regularly turn into hours of futzing around with your merry band of raucous creatures.
   The game is cheap - less than a cup of coffee - and you really do get a lot for your money. There's also a demo should you wish to try before you buy. Visit: the Playism website for more information on this accessible and entertaining little game.

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