In the war between man and vampire, only the strongest and most bloodthirsty will survive. When the dregs of humanity are ruled over by an immortal race of monsters, vampire hunters fight their way across the darkness. Immortal Realms Vampire Wars is, to put it simply, a turn based strategy game, though there are a number of systems and mechanics that make it much more difficult to categorize. You follow the stories of a number of factions as they battle for control over the realm of Warmont.
Visually, Immortal Realms Vampire Wars makes a real impression. The nights are dark and eerie and tiny medieval villages dot the land, both protected by, and in constant fear of, their vampire masters. Fans of Van Helsing or even members of World of Warcraft’s Revendreth covenant will feel right at home in the dark forests and desolate ruins of Warmont. The units, environments, and battlefields are well polished and really distinguish Immortal Realms from similar turn based games.
I personally recommend completing the entire tutorial before even thinking about the campaign. Immortal Realms features a huge variety of interconnected systems and mechanics. You’ll need to manage your empire’s blood and population while also overseeing battles from an XCOM like perspective. In between you’ll have opportunities to collect cards that can be used to enhance your armies or boost your resource production. Having this many systems to manage can get tedious and annoying, but can, at times, offer rewarding gameplay opportunities.
The main story features a campaign for each of the three main factions, each with four playable missions giving you a pretty good sense of each faction’s lore and abilities. Strangely, upon moving between levels and playable factions, Immortal Realms often seem to abandon some of the mechanics they just spent so long teaching to the player. This often results in a confusing or oddly paced experience as you must frequently forget old strategies and learn brand new ones.
There are two main focuses in Immortal Realms: army management and troop combat. Each mission provides unique objectives, but you’ll need to follow some basic principles regardless. During the management phase of your turn you’ll recruit units from your team’s Keeps, use these units to capture new territories, and attack enemy units and territories in order to expand your resource pool. Combat, on the other hand, is turn based and takes place on a grid-like battlefield. Melee units can move and deal damage to adjacent enemies while ranged units are able to deal damage from multiple tiles away. Most units are also able to counterattack in some way, making some decisions more crucial than others. You can boost your army’s power by having a lord command them and other buffs, like special units and environmental factors, keep the battles fairly interesting.
The UI is often the most challenging enemy in the game. There are numerous menus and statistics that need to be managed and it can be frustrating to click through the many poorly labeled options to find what i’m looking for. During battle, you aren’t able to inspect enemies to understand their strengths better forcing you to learn through trial and error. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t feel like such a chore every time.
Overall, Immortal Realms Vampire Wars feels like a solid concept that could have used more polish. Any fans of more popular turn based strategy games like Total War and XCOM will likely be disappointed in the excessive simplicity of the game, and players new to the genre will be put off by the confusing UI and confusing mechanics. Where Immortal Realms really succeeds is in its aesthetic and world building. The realm of Warmont is interesting enough to have kept me playing through the main campaign and I found a lot of enjoyment in building my armies of vampires, werewolves, and hunters.