Rise of Humanity game preview: Turn-based tactics terminator

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Key notes

  • Rise of Humanity is a turn-based deckbuilding game in a futuristic setting
  • The post-robot-apocalypse setting is interesting but needs some fleshing out
  • Building a better deck and upgrading your cards and characters is very fun and addictive

Rise of Humanity is a post-apocalyptic turn-based deck builder set in a world that somewhat resembles the setting of Terminator: humanity is on the run for the robots that have taken over the world and it’s time for them to strike back.

The game was released in Early Access on Steam so this is not a scored review yet, but the 6 story missions present in the current build already offer a good insight into what’s to come.

Next to the single-player campaign, the game also focuses on competitive ranked daily challenges, where community members can face off against each other while trying to get the highest score on the leaderboard.

Come with me if you want to live – Story

Rise of Humanity is set in the aftermath of a robot apocalypse and when a group of humans gets together, they realize they may have a shot at setting things right.

Through character dialogues that happen in the game’s hub, which is interestingly an amusement park, and some during the story missions, you learn more about their motivations and what their goals are.

The Roboworld Hideout

The writing itself is fine but could use some improvement, as their emotions don’t always come across the way that I believe it was intended. There is no spoken dialogue and only static avatars, so most of that emotion needs to happen through text, something that is very possible, as recently shown by Midnight Protocol, but that will still need some work here.

That being said, simply taking place in this setting is already a step up for me and I’m very curious what kind of world-building and character developments we’ll see in the 14 added story missions that will be in the full game.

Hasta la vista, baby! – Gameplay

Rise of Humanity combines two well-known game mechanics: On one end it has the tile-based movement we’ve seen in a lot of tactics games, letting you move X amount of tiles and then executing an attack. Careful placement of your characters is key to survival, especially on harder difficulties.

Hex-based movement

To actually deal out damage, you’ll need to use cards. Whereas most other games in the genre would use one action per turn or use MP/stamina for bigger moves, each action you can choose is represented by a card in a characters’ deck. Each card does use a set amount of energy though, but most of the starting ones cost one energy and you get 3 to spend each turn.

There are offensive moves like a melee swing with a crowbar, but you also have a ton of ranged attacks coming from guns, grenades, and everyone’s personal favorite (I guarantee it): a pink exploding bunny. It packs a real punch!

Clever players will also learn to rely on cards that activate during their opponent’s turn like blocking, evading, or drawing extra cards when you get damaged.

Block 4 incoming damage next turn

You only get to draw a single card every turn, so it’s very important that each card in your deck is useful and optimized, but luckily you can customize your deck and characters in the game’s hub.

I need your clothes, your booths and your motorcycle – Upgrades

During the game, you’ll discover chests that contain new cards and earn money that can be used to upgrade your cards. As soon as you have two of the same card, you can increase its level which will have an impact on the damage output or the range, for example.

What I’ve not seen before, is a required sum to eliminate a card from your deck, but it does make sense: you really want to make sure that every single card you draw has a practical use.

Each character has their own deck and specific job-related cards. Your healer will have the option to restore health, the Engineer can deploy turrets or mobile explosives and how well you do in combat will largely depend on the choices you make.

Battle Goals – a nice touch!

One interesting aspect is that at the start of each level you get to pick character-specific battle goals. This adds a bit of additional challenge, like moving to certain tiles or using your restorative health spray three times. If you reach the goal, you get tokens that can be used to upgrade your character.

In the hub, you can spend those tokens on new passive skills that will have a huge impact on the gameplay. If your Engineer is already good at placing deployable, you can imagine that drawing a card each time you do vastly increases your options during your next turn.

Upgrade your character

It’s wise to save those tokens for the abilities that really matter and it also helps that picking those battle goals adds a bit of longevity to the campaign missions, requiring you to act in a certain way.

Also of note: you don’t automatically restore health after combat and it costs money to heal up. Making the Medic my preferred character in the game as she gets around that limitation.

I’ll be back! – Daily challenges

The Early Access build only has 6 story missions, with 14 more being added in the full release. It only took me around 2.5 hours to beat those but there are a bunch of replayable levels and even daily challenges that will give the game some extra value.

The team behind Rise of Humanity is aiming to make this a community-based game where players try to get higher on the leaderboards, even offering physical prizes like a free T-shirt as incentives. I don’t know about you, but for me, this works really well as motivation, especially because it features the pink exploding bunny.

You can just check the game every day to stay tuned on the challenges, but I recommend hopping into their Discord server so you can discuss tactics with other players.

Shake hands?

I’m looking for Sarah Connor – Possible improvements

The game is fun and looks great, but I can still see a lot of room for improvement. Luckily this is an Early Access version and they are still accepting feedback, so be sure to send your opinions their way via the Discord link I mentioned earlier.

As for my personal feedback, I’d love to play more story missions and see the world and characters fleshed out more with improved writing so we actually care for them.

The game also looks great, but because of the forced perspective during combat, we don’t get to see the graphics up-close and I’d love to see more combat animations like the one where the hunter runs up to the enemies and slashes at them: this brings the player closer into the action.

I’m not sure if there will be human opponents in the final game or other builds of robots, but I only saw 3-4 different enemy types in the Early Acces build and a bit of added variety could go a long way.

Crusher. Crusher. Crusher.

Final thoughts on Rise of Humanity

Great turn-based combat
Lots of ways to improve your characters and deck
Fantastic soundtrack and superb voice acting
Interesting post-robot-apocalypse setting
Not a lot of story content yet and the writing can be improved
Looks great but doesn't showcase this enough
Could use a few speed-up options

Rise of Humanity does a lot of things right: the turn-based tactical aspect of the game gives you plenty of time to plan out your next moves whereas you can gradually make your crew stronger through character upgrades or better deckbuilding.

It’s also got an interesting setting but doesn’t give away that much yet so people invested in the story may be left hungry at this point in time. Graphically it looks great, but due to the nature of the top-down perspective, you hardly ever see the visuals up close, something I hope they remedy by adding more combat animations and cutscenes.

Rise of Humanity is currently only available on PC, it costs $19.99 in Early Access on Steam, and buying it at this price will give you access to the full game at launch, which will be sometime next year. There is a launch discount until 28 October that you can still use if you’re quick!

*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Windows 10. Steam review copy provided by the developer.