Big Gulp – ‘Massive Chalice’ Review

Double Fine’s multigenerational turn-based strategy game is finally on Xbox One – but is it any good?

For the first time, Bear Claw Gaming has a video to accompany the full text review! Both versions are nearly identical, so feel free to check out whichever you prefer!

The Review

As many of us have learned over the years, combining gameplay mechanics from several different games into one single title often results a mediocre experience without much personality. And then there’s Massive Chalice. Somehow, this game managed to take several great game designs and apply them to a turn based strategy game with rogue-like elements – and it’s an incredible experience. Lets break it down!

Gameplay

As I mentioned, Massive Chalice plays like an amalgam of several fantastic games that you’ve probably already played. In fact, much of the game reminded me of two of my favorite games: Rogue Legacy and Civilization 5. While those two games are extremely different from each other, the way developer Double Fine created a world where character traits are passed from generation to generation while also featuring compelling multigenerational storytelling never ceased to hold my attention.

The core gameplay of Chalice surrounds developing a strong nation to hold out against monsters known as the Cadence. While combat is the central focus of the title, in between bouts of exploratory turn based missions, you’ll find yourself handling weddings, solving marital problems from arranged marriages, funerals and even handling deadly disease outbreaks. After dealing with allies and enemies alike, you invest in building new structures for your kingdom or doing research to better your army. As the player, you are referred to as an immortal being, so you’ll find yourself managing your realm for literally hundreds of years.

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With my days spent playing the game, there were countless moments where I’d think to myself, “Just one more round!” and proceed to play a dozen or so more. Massive Chalice is chock full of fun, satisfying and addicting gameplay that will keep you entertained hours at a time.

Graphics, Audio & Performance

From a visual standpoint, Chalice has a low-poly design that fits well with the game. Characters may not look as stunning as they do in similar titles like Civ 5, but I dare say it didn’t stop me from enjoying it more. The graphics may not be the best you’ve ever scene, but it’s easily the best Games with Gold title ever offered to Xbox gamers.

The sound in Massive Chalice is also solid. Gameplay is fueled by two characters that act as narrators for the player. If your kingdom is under siege, they’ll keep you posted, if one of your rulers dies, they’ll let you know. Simply put, without the masterfully executed voice acting in the game, I’m not sure I would have given myself a chance to get over the game’s learning curve.

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Lastly, I’ll briefly touch on performance. Although the game has only launched in Steam Early Access, the game plays buttery smooth on Xbox One. In my roughly dozen hours with the title, I never experienced obvious framerate drops or any visual glitches. On top of that, loading screens are infrequent and when they do happen, they last only seconds. Things looked and played fantastically, so I’m happy to report no issues with the Xbox port.

Verdict

Massive Chalice masterfully connects several game designs from the past and combines them to make a turn-based strategy game that plays excellently on console. Without even a hint of doubt, I can confidently tell you that Chalice is the best strategy game I have ever played on a console.

The gameplay is simple yet addicting, the narrators are humorous as well as helpful and it performed perfectly. So long as you don’t mind the simplistic yet stylish visuals, you have no reason to not play this game. Massive Chalice is out now on Xbox One and Steam Early Access. Play it now!

Have you already played Massive Chalice? What’s your take on the latest Games With Gold title? Let me know on Twitter!

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