Chemical reactions are ways in which elements and compounds react when in contact with each other, and in Alchemic Jousts we take that basic concept and make it much more lighthearted. In this battle tower defence title you will be sending elementals of different make-ups down a path towards the enemy castle in order to take it down before they can do the same to yours. With over 180 skills and upgrades available to discover through trial and error combinations you will be able to max out the strategy element with what team of elementals you bring into the fight.
The game features a single-player campaign and game modes, as well as allowing you to take on your friends in local co-op. This provides for a good amount of replayability as the game has quite a robust set of modes for you to choose between, from King of the Hill to Endless. However, the gameplay loop is quite monotonous as things move slowly as you sit and wait for timers to finish for your abilities, and the battles are one and the same for the most part.
In each battle, you will find a set number of lives for each tower along with your chosen skills laid out for you at the bottom. From here you will begin sending the elementals moving forward at a snail’s pace to complete their objective, whether that be to gather up an item or attack the fortress across from you. The enemy castle will do the same, so you will have to counter those attacks with the corresponding elementals that overtake theirs. Akin to rock-paper-scissors, the starting loadout gives you fire, water, and rock elementals that defeat each other — think Pokémon’s starting trio. After getting the hang of which elementals defeat what then you just have to combo attacks until you get close enough to the castle to destroy it. The gameplay is simple and a pleasant time for the Switch’s pick up and play mentality, but overall isn’t exciting and lost my attention quickly. Things move so slowly that I never got overtaken by the AI.
After you have completed a few matches you will be given some points to spend on the experimentation phase. This is where you can take the elementals you already have and combine them to discover the new skills and creatures for use in the battle portion of the game. Combining your fire and rock elementals gives a lava elemental with additional abilities, and this trial and error discovery period allows you to find all sorts of different elementals for the battle. This is the only thing that breaks up the tediousness of the matches, as you can change your loadout with every match if you wish, but quickly this portion of the game loses its fun factor as well.
With a toy-like art style you will have a scene that is aesthetically pleasing, at the very least. Cutesy elementals hop along towards certain doom and carnage as pleasant as can be. Quite the combination, really. Alchemic Jousts is a decent multiplayer experience that allows you to have fun on the couch with friends. However, the gameplay loop as a solo player is monotonous and tedious and doesn’t lend a lot to the imagination. Slow-moving characters, a lack of diversity, and a blasé gameplay loop hinder what could have been a really imaginative title.
Alchemic Jousts £8.99
Alchemic Jousts offers a truly imaginative idea and makes it as monotonous as possible. Can be fun in short bursts or with a friend, but otherwise, you will find better examples of single-player titles elsewhere in this genre.