17 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 2.3 hrs on record (1.8 hrs at review time)
Posted: Oct 18, 2015 @ 4:47pm
Updated: Oct 18, 2015 @ 4:47pm

So the Devil quit his job as Lord Of All Evil to build an apartment building for monsters, and as its landlord you have to manage the tenants and get them to defend the building against overeager heroes. If that premise sounds Japanese as ♥♥♥♥ to you, then you're right on the money because the monsters are adorable, the heroes are Dragon Questy, and there are erotic cakes. And under all the weirdness and design quirks, there's a pretty good game.

Unholy Heights is a mash-up of management sim and tower defense that's way, way heavier on the management part. You start with four apartments that monsters can apply to live in, and you have full control over the rent and furnishings. That means you can fill it with all sorts of beds, appliances, plants, PCs, board games, exercise gear, and other junk. Your tenants will often request specific things like a desk to study on or smutty wallpaper to stare at, but you can (and should) also furnish empty apartments a specific way to attract certain monsters. From the outset only a handful will want to take a room in your building, but with a little work you can catch the eye of powerful demons, elementals, beasts, and elder beings.

Apartments start as single residences, but your tenants can meet and bring home a spouse, and have a child. You can also add second and third floors after completing certain quests, ultimately giving you 12 apartments of up to 3 monsters each. Monsters have jobs that they'll leave part of the day for (unless they work from home), hobbies they'll indulge, and all sorts of weird statuses throughout like "staring at the wall" and "having a wet dream". They can get sick, they can be evicted, they can lose their jobs and not make rent, and on and on and on. The depth of the sim component honestly approaches something like Tropico with how fleshed-out each resident is.

All of this contributes to the tower defense portion as well, but not always in good ways. Heroes will come to your building in an effort to get to the Devil's office on the roof and steal your money. This can happen randomly, but usually it's triggered by taking a quest. Quests have all sorts of justifications and reward you with money, new monsters, new furnishings, or the ability to expand the building, but they all play out roughly the same. Heroes appear from the right side of the screen and wind their way up towards the Devil's office. You can knock on the doors of your residents to get them out and fighting the good guys. Monsters can be melee, ranged, or magical, with different resistances and speeds to track. They also get bonuses from being content, favorable weather, and so on.

It's a smart and entertaining combination that's only held back by a few gripes. If the heroes reach your office, they steal a bunch of your money and you fail the quest. Quests can be several waves long, so failing on the boss can be pretty discouraging. Losing monsters in battle can be a pretty stiff setback, since you generally don't have time to replace them between waves. You also don't really know what you're getting into until you see the heroes in action, so it's really easy to screw yourself by unknowingly taking a quest you can't win yet.

The absolute worst, though, is getting attacked while your monsters are out. Remember how I said they have jobs and hobbies? Well, when they're out, they're out. And once you start a quest, you don't get to pick when the waves come. So if your key melee tank is waiting tables when the heroes show up, you're screwed. I had one building where every single monster worked the night shift, which made quests almost impossible to complete. I've learned to work around it, and now I have a group with several housewives and home-workers, but it's a big issue you have to look out for.

All that said, I've having a lot of fun with my kooky monsters. I don't even care for tower defense games that much, but the management side is engrossing and the combat doesn't get too in the way of my enjoyment. The learning curve is a little steeper than it should be thanks to some questionable design, but once you get past that it's an adorable little package.
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