I received HOARD as a gift from a friend, which basically means that I myself wouldn’t have purchased it. This is basically true, since HOARD is a dangerously simple and small game. That said, it is also entertaining in small bursts. I’ll leave out adjectives such as “good” and “bad” because I believe HOARD accomplishes precisely everything it tries to accomplish.
I would consider HOARD a sandbox game if not for the mandatory, unalterable ten minute time limit. Gameplay is oriented around medieval dragons that quite enjoy capturing princesses, collecting gold, and murdering knights, rogues, archers, and towns. The goal is to gather as much money as possible whilst maintaining the maximum, x3 treasure multiplier. You can play either co-op or solo, with bot dragons or without, and either way, the guy with the most gold (or princesses, in the appropriate game mode) wins.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. WASD to move, left click to breathe fire from a slow to refill meter, right click to gather activate runes, and that’s all there is to it. As a dragon, you must burn the NPC buildings, vehicles, and denizens in order to obtain gold. You can only carry so much, and you must bring it back to your stash in order to increase your score. As time goes on, the multiplier increases from x1 to x2 to x3, impacting the amount of gold you receive when you drop it off. You lose the multiplier bonus if a thief yoinks some gold or if your HP tanks to zero and you have to return to base.
Levels are gained by accruing loads of gold, each allowing you to upgrade one of four stats. Speed can be upgraded, as can the damage and meter size of your fire breath, the amount of treasure you can carry, and the damage resistance your scales offer you. If you’re meticulous about keeping your multiplier, you may even gain maximum stats. This is unlikely because of the timer, however.
The map spawns windmills that send wagons to various places on the map to build towns. As towns grow, they send wagons to form other towns, and they also begin to spawn archers and thieves. If you damage the towns (but not destroy them) enough, they’ll begin sending tribute to your stash. Handy. There are also little castles that spawn and send princesses to towns. While leaving them alone may produce more valuable princesses to ransom, they also begin to produce more knights. Knights hurt. Believe me. The wizard towers are even worse. Even at their first stage, even if you have full defense, their first level can two-hit you. By their second, max level, they can hit you once and leave you with next to no HP. Killing the wizard towers yields a gem, a gem that causes you to drop all other loot you’re carrying and move slowly. If you drop it off, you get loads of money, however.
Anyway, that’s the gist of it. Or rather, all of it. Small game, eh? There’s DLC, but I honestly wouldn’t bother with it, considering that HOARD doesn’t have too much consistent playtime. I can only manage a few rounds before getting bored, but I can always come back to it. Overall, this game gets one “mostly yes” from me.
Steve Watts of 1up makes a point regarding HOARD’s greatest weakness: the ten minute goddamned time limit. It is the most restrictive crap in the game, and it makes me very sad. While HOARD does have Hoard, which is survival mode, it completely removes the treasure aspect and makes dragon upgrades cyclical, like the multiplier. So if you can stomach the time limit, it’s a good game. Here’s the link to his review: http://www.1up.com/reviews/hoard-review