Pharmakon – Review
Follow Genre: Indie, Strategy
Developer: Visumeca Games
Publisher: Visumeca Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Pharmakon – Review

Site Score
5.5
Good: Great puzzle game
Bad: Not a lot of variation
User Score
4.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (4 votes cast)

Venture to a new world were civilization is divided into different elemental factions. Become an agent of an organization tasked with the extermination of the elemental beast that terrorize your world. Pharmakon will have you engage enemies in a turn based not strategical but very puzzle like battle system. Upgrade your equipment using the research you get from defeating the beasts and complete your task.

Pharmakon_1Story

The community is split off into factions each corresponding to a certain element. There are 5 different factions in the game, meaning there are 5 different elements to work with. During the game you’ll encounter the earth, water, fire, ice and electric element. You are agent 509 and have been assigned with the task to go to an island, not listed in the database, and investigate the reports of electric beasts that have invaded the area. This is where your journey exploring the island starts. You are well equipped with the earth element which is the counter to the electric beast type. So, the mission should go really smoothly. That is the entire prologue of the game.

The story is delivered solely through text boxes that pop up after every encounter. They expand upon the story, providing you with more information about your mission. At first you are just talking to one person, the one that gave you your assignment. You also seem to be someone that thinks out loud so every time a thought pops up in your head a text box will let you know.  As you’ll progress you’ll find other agents, agents who left messages or were able to communicate with you.

Pharmakon_5Graphics

Pharmakon doesn’t have much to show for in terms of graphics. The game looks a bit outdated even. The colours are quite plain and boring. The use of colours is mostly related to the different elements you’ll encounter during the game But seeing as there are only 5 different elements you’ll likely to only encounter 5 different colours. Not only that but everything seems to be restricted to just a few shades of each different colour. The environment is pretty much just barren wasteland so don’t expect to see much detail. Even the UI looks simplistic, as only 2 colours are actually used. For the entire game, you will be looking at a green circuit board background and some grey frames. That’s your UI in a nutshell. The animation are pretty much the same as the rest of the game, basic and simple. You fire of the same beam of light to deal damage and so do the enemies. The only thing that really changes is colour of the beam, this changes depending on what element is being used.

Sound

This is where the game does a bit better, the soundtrack is well suited for the game. It makes the overall environment somewhat bearable. It does seem however that there isn’t too much variation in sound and music. The same background track keeps looping over and over. And the sounds used in battle never change, the same sound effect is being used for every attack. So, while the overall quality of the music isn’t too bad, the lack of variation makes it lose its charm.Pharmakon_3

Gameplay

Pharmakon is advertised as turn-based indie strategy game. So, you’d expect the game to require somewhat of a strategic insight while playing. However, the game doesn’t really feel strategic at all, you might have that thought at first but as soon as you realize that every move can be predicted and that the outcome will never change it starts to feel more like a puzzle game. The enemies don’t have any AI they just react when they are hit. Every battle can be solved, like a puzzle, before it even begins. As far as the combat goes, you are equipped with a weapon that will damage based on the type of element it is loaded with. You load the weapon by using the building blocks that are found on the left of your equipment. Your goal is to try to mix and match the blocks so you can deal the most amount of damage to a certain elemental beast. As mentioned before there are 5 elements and every element has its own strengths and weaknesses. The element fire for example is strong against ice but weak against water.

Monsters can be attacked from 4 different angles, either from the top, the bottom, the left or the right. When hit from a certain side, they will be pushed in that direction. Hitting them from the left will push them to right. When they collide with other monster they will deal collision damage based on their size. The huge monsters deal 3 damage upon impact, the big ones 2 and the small ones deal only 1 damage. When an enemy dies they will explode and deal damage to all surrounding enemies based upon their element. And that is how every fight goes. As soon you see what enemies you are dealing with and what position they are in, you can easily solve the puzzle. At the end of each battle you will be awarded with research points, once a 100 points are collected you are able to upgrade your equipment. The upgrades are abilities that can be used in battle from time to time. They either increase certain damage or put enemies to sleep.

Pharmakon_2Conlusion

Pharmakon isn’t a bad game whatsoever. It just feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. The game doesn’t feel strategic at all and might as well be called a puzzle game. Right now, people that are looking for a turn based strategic game might be disappointed as Pharmakon doesn’t fit their needs. Pharmakon is available for 10.99 EUR/USD on steam, which feels a bit much for the amount of gameplay you get. However it could very well be worth it for those avid puzzlers out there.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
Pharmakon - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Kiyo
Kiyo


Student, gamer, entrepreneur and life contemplator.

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