Golem Gates Early Access Review : RTS Meets Magic The Gathering

Golem Gates is an RTS which offers a unique twist.  Like most games in the genre, players control various unique characters and summon them onto the battlefield in order to defeat the enemy.  In Golem Gates however, the characters are summoned in a unique manner.  Players can create their own deck of cards representing unique unit types and during combat a glyph system will summon troops from randomly selected cards.

Golem Gates caters to those who enjoy RTS games and also the wide ranging appeal of card based games like Magic: The Gathering.  This game is still in early access, but is possibly a title which is about to change the face of your run of the mill RTS game.

The Story


Golem Gates is set in a post-apocalyptic environment. Players take on the role of "The Harbinger", A mixture of a general and a wizard.  As the Harbinger, you possess the unique ability to summon units via a long forgotten power source: Nanites, leftover from a previous race.  Ancient and terrifying beings appear from various Golem Gates across the world.  As you battle these machines, you being to unravel the mystery surrounding their appearance and their long-lost creators.

It's a simple storyline and a little cliched, but the introduction does a fantastic job of setting the scene and drawing the player into the world.  As the game progresses, the narrative begins to become more complicated and various unexpected twists occur.



This game deceived me at first. While the game was installing, I glanced at the screenshots and presumed that it was just another RTS game.  However, this game is anything but traditional. The developers at Laser Guided Games have crafted something truly special with this title.  The welcome infusion of the deck building system and deck orientated gameplay with traditional strategy elements bring a sense of innovation in what can be a staid genre.

The tutorial is a little confusing, but you will soon get into the ebb and flow of the game.  Golem Gates eases you in with a story mode which is fairly captivating, however the story is not where the game shines. The strength of the title resides in the PVP matches, Survival and Trail game modes.  

Controlling the Harbinger character, you will summon units through a card based system known as glyphs.  Every so often, a new glyph will appear in your arsenal (your hand of cards) and can be summoned once you build up energy 

Cards and energy are all time based acquisitions, meaning that you must wait a certain length of time before a new card can be drawn and over time your energy builds. Certain cards have energy requirements and it can be frustrating having to wait for a certain time period to pass before being able to play them.  If you hold energy-generating territory then your available energy increases with greater speed.  This adds a welcome point of strategy to the game, enabling you to play your more powerful cards faster than your opponent can.


After successfully completing a match, you will be rewarded with card unlocks which you have to click repeatedly to get.  This is one of the more confusing parts of the game, as the first time I saw this reward screen I was unsure of how to obtain the new cards.  Once you select your reward, you can then go into your archive and add the new cards you have earned, purchase new cards with your rewards or create an entirely new deck.

There's also some replayability, missions with secret objectives offer additional rewards and that's a great way to entice players to play through completed maps again.

Sound and Visuals


In terms of graphics, Golem Gates is impressive.  I loved the unique design that the development team crafted for the environment and the Harbinger character. The mood and atmosphere was truly one of the best post-apocalyptic Sci-fi settings I have experienced in the RTS genre.  The music really helped enhance the gameplay with thundering tunes that I pumped up my speakers to enjoy as I decimated the enemy forces.  The combination of epic soundtrack and impressive sound effects helped make every battle feel truly intense.


With Golem Gates being an Early Access Release at present, there are currently only a few maps and modes to choose from.  The best of these was the co-op survival mode - fighting off hordes of enemies for 15 mins and the dueling multiplayer mode (RTS deathmatch).  As of yet, there are few players available for the multiplayer modes, but I am confident this will change after the games release in March.

Golem Gates is one of the more fun RTS games I have played.  The deck building mechanic brings a unique and refreshing feel to this title and it's a strategy game which I would recommend for those seeking new challenges and innovation in the RTS genre.

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