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Mordheim: Warband Skirmish review - A deeply wounded strategy game

For: Android   Also on: iPhone, iPad

Critically injuried

Product: Mordheim: Warband Skirmish | Publisher: Legendary Games | Format: Android | Players: 1 | Version: US
Turn-based strategy is one of the more thriving genres on mobile, from ports such as XCOM and Steamworld Heist to the indie fare like Templar Battleforce and Demon's Rise. Among such diverse fare, a new entry has quite a challenge in truly standing out.

Unfortunately, Mordheim: Warband Skirmish has neither the presentation nor depth to be anything more than a decent but flawed entry to the genre.

Warbands of brothers

Set within the Warhammer universe and its gloomy titular city, Mordheim pits your warband of rough weathered fighters against other factions, in clashes of blade, bolt, and bow. The gloomy streets, the recruiting of new warriors from the tavern, the inclusion of stat-affecting injuries gives Mordheim's combat the feel of brutal brawls. Battles here are of ambushes and charging blows, heavy muskets and crossbows, morale-crushing strikes that cause fighters to flee in fear.

While the tactical depth feels lacking throughout, Mordheim consistently nails that desperate dirty feel of combat, an inelegant street fight between rivals and mercenaries.

Mean streets

Mechanically though, Mordheim is simplistic, playing like a stripped-down fantasy take on XCOM's design. Each mission begins with your enemies hidden from view and you moving your warband through the map until seeing your opponents. Turns then play out based on each fighter's initiative stat, choosing to move, shoot, strike, reload, or use an item.

That you can only perform a single action per turn, that ranged attacks automatically attacks the closest enemy rather than manually choosing your target, among other frustrating aspects, means Mordheim's battles quickly become repetitive.

Your tactics never feel as though they expand meaningfully; stats increase, better armor and weapons are earned, and skills such as being able to fire twice in a turn are unlocked, but your first battle and later battles will be quite similar. Move up, take cover, hope your shots don't miss, try not to get stunned, charge with your melee fighters.  

The visuals and presentation are as much responsible for Mordheim's samey feel as its gameplay. Every battle area seems visually similar: the dark stone streets, the ramshackle wooden structures, the carts and crates and fences. 

This, combined with poor animations and less-than-stellar graphics, only serves to drain Mordheim of personality and lessens the enjoyment of longer play sessions.

Mordheim: Warband Skirmish may draw its setting and inspiration from an incredibly unique world, but its gameplay never live up to that promise and potential. Its basic mechanics might interest those looking for a quick strategic fix, but Mordheim never overcomes its flawed design and dull aesthetic.
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish review - A deeply wounded strategy game
Reviewer photo
Christian Valentin | 30 May 2017
Mordheim starts promising thanks to the brutal feel of its combat, but suffers from myriad flaws and a dull presentation
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