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Are you giving me the evil eye?
Hailing from the same studio that brought us the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms and also the followup to the decent Gemfire, this is an intriguing isometric turn-based strategy game that is well worth a closer look. It combines a unique setting with some deep tactical gameplay to produce a thoroughly rewarding experience that makes a fine addition to any collection which includes Heroes of Might and Magic, Populous or Age of Empires. The story takes its inspiration from Celtic legends, and sees you travelling the world in the guise of one of nine champions with the overall aim of reuniting the land and saving it from the titular Balor, a chap of no good reputation. What follows is a classic mix of strategy which plays out in turn-based fashion and sees you building up your army, which entails creating a strong province through farming and mining, before training up your troops. You also have to trade and build up diplomatic relations with your neighbors, while combat also rears its head when all else fails. Celtic Tales is certainly unusual enough to warrant taking a closer look, and while it might not quite be a classic, it remains a compelling experience. There's quite a lot of variety in terms of activities, with a good sense of adventure as you explore both the world and your options. The visuals are quite nice too, with some well detailed characters and environments, while the interface is pretty easy to navigate and which makes the whole thing a fairly pleasing experience. This one is perhaps not for the hardcore strategy gamer but if you're after something more casual, this fits the bill.
A good enough turn based strategy but not a classic
Being a turn based strategy in a Celtic mythological setting, the game was KOEI's way of diversifying, of trying new lore and new ways to attract turn based lovers to their creations. While Romance of the 3 Kingdoms was intended towards more hardcore strategy lovers of Eastern provenance and lore, Balor of Evil Eye is branching out and keeping game interaction a bit more simple. You will be tasked with fighting a war and keeping your kingdom together and you will have a lot of troops at your disposal. You will have champions, which will be ordered to fulfill a task and they will have a month to see it fulfilled. Each turn is a month of in game time and a year has 13 months/turns. It's not all about fighting and conquest, this game is also a resource manager, a city and farm builder. The key to your success in the game is managing your champions well, as they are key to recruiting fighters for your armies for later in the game. Thus, you will be tasked with striking a good balance between strict ruling and making sure you don't overburden your champions. Overall, if you are not going to mind the somehow restricting game structure, there is a lot of fun to be had with this game, but don't have too high hopes. This is no HoMM, it's just another good but ultimately flawed turn based strategy game.