Okhlos by Coffee Powered Machine feels like a game you’ve played back in the day. I don’t know if it’s the graphics or the mechanics or what, but it feels like this is a classic PC game – only it hasn’t been released yet. So, as I sat down to play the game in the Devolver booth at PAX South, I somehow knew I was in for a treat.
Imagine for a second you were back in Ancient Greece. You are a philosopher speaking to the crowds. Your speech inspires them. They begin to follow you. That crowd becomes a mob. What do you do? You attack the city and take down the god that provides its blessing, of course. In my playthrough, I fought Hermes and he wiped the floor with me using teleportation, mirages, spawning other enemies and dropping stone on my head.
Besides the concept for the game being fantastic, the mechanics are really where Okhlos shines. The left and right sticks on the controller drive your on-screen philosopher and the crowd-leading cursor, respectively. The buttons and triggers indicate to your mob what they should be doing: moving, attacking, using tools, etc. The mob itself is made up of all different kinds. You can collect soldiers, regular townsfolk, slaves and animals. Yes, you can have cats and cows be inspired by your words. The people in the mob are important as soldiers fight well and the slaves allow you to pick up objects to be used. Those objects may increase offense or defense or poison your enemies.
The size and activity of your mob is almost as important as the makeup of your mob. At the top of the screen, a mob indicator tells you the type of mob you have. The more frenzied the mob, the better off you are. Once you hit the max, your mob can do almost anything, include bring buildings to the ground. You can even recruit heroes into your mob that have special buffs to aid you in your endeavors. Balance was a big challenge for me playing Okhlos. How do I balance keeping the activity high and still complete objectives? How far can I let my mob be a part from me when I have my own health to worry about? What kind of mob makeup do I have to complete my tasks?
Okhlos is shaping up nicely. I look forward to seeing where these 2 guys take the final product. The weird, built-in sense of nostalgia and real time strategy game play elements kept me on my toes. Okhlos releases on PC in early 2016.