Intense arcade action meets strategic multi-lane combat for a God-stirring experience.
The arcade experience has evolved as much as gaming itself. While the spirit of the classic coin-op experience lives on in games such as Killer Queen Black or most fighting games, it is no longer the focus of local multiplayer gaming. These social gaming experiences have largely been placed online, where lobbies and multiplayer gaming reign supreme. While Sons of Ra by Pharaoh Hound Studios is no different in this aspect, it leans into the arcade experience which gives the game a unique feel and personality.
Sons of Ra’s lane-based RTS combat is intense and methodical. There are 3 playable Egyptian Gods from the start and while they each share the same pool of troops, they also have unique attributes all their own. Isis has defensive abilities that can help push a big advantage into a winning one, while Anubis can use his Embalming Priests to make Mummy reinforcements. These features make it easy to jump in and try each God until you find a favorite that suits your playstyle. Combined with a handful of different towers that can be used to advance or defend makes the gameplay experience a deceptively deep one that is also furiously addictive.
The maps and base-building only add to this experience. Each map has a different layout which can have 2-3 lanes. Each player starts on either side and sends their forces down a lane to the enemy base, hitting them for a part of your life bar each time an enemy enters your fortress. Enemy forces will fight when they encounter each other on lanes and will be attacked by opposing sentry towers as they march towards the enemy stronghold. This can lead to brutal multi-man skirmishes and sneaky backdoor tactics that pick on less populated lanes.
Each troop type and tower type is unique and adds new dimensions to the battlefield. Whether it be catapults that focus down enemy towers and push aside infantry, or the archers whose arrows are able to pierce multiple targets at once, you’ll find yourself making impactful split-second decisions from the start of each fight. Sentry towers can be built on the sides of each lane and opens up the grid next to them when placed, allowing more to be built. This can lead to oppressive tower-rushing strategies that can devastate your foes. These elements make each match intense and you’ll learn to watch your opponent like a hawk to make sure you have the correct response for each move they make.
Add in a 3-sectioned meter at the bottom corner of each screen to unlock new units by paying one section, or a base upgrade for the whole meter, and you’ve got an experience that ramps up in pace until the intensity explodes. This makes the multiplayer shine as Sons of Ra’s best feature. A smooth online experience makes it easy to spend hours going back and forth against an opponent, switching characters and maps all the while. When it all comes together, it creates a unique and addictive strategy-arcade experience that is hard to put down.
This is especially true when you begin to earn the various unlockables in the game. When your player level increases, you’ll unlock extra multiplayer portraits and other cosmetic rewards. You will also be able to unlock more Gods to play as. This solidifies the unique personality of Sons of Ra, which feels like an arcade fighter meets a modern lane-battler RTS that you need to play to believe.
While Sons of Ra offers an engaging gameplay experience, it isn’t without its flaws. While the minimalist visuals complement the dynamic map presentation, the soundtrack easily gets lost in the action. The single-player content is also lacking. Aside from the gauntlet of arcade mode, there is only a skirmish mode for those seeking a solo challenge with no storyline or campaign to speak of. This is a shame, as each deity is packed with personality and throws quips at their opponents during battle.
Sons of Ra is a unique RTS experience. It takes the charm and speed of classic competitive arcade games and stuffs as much strategic depth as it can into it. The game has its own sense of personality and proves to be a fun and engaging lane-battler whose strengths shine through during the multiplayer experience. While it may lack single-player content, the addictive nature of the game and the robust offering of unlockables make the experience a rewarding one that anyone can enjoy. If you’re looking for a fun twist on the RTS genre, or just an addictive new multiplayer title, Sons of Ra is the game for you.
– Fun and addictive gameplay.
– Huge offering of unlockable content.
– Great multiplayer experience.
– Weak soundtrack
– Lacking in single-player content.
4 out of 5.
Review Key provided by Pharaoh Hound Studios. Sons of Ra is available now on Steam!