Ancients Lands: The Tsar Awakening


Ancient Lands: The Tsar Awakening is a turn-based strategy card game where you’ll take control of three heroes as you fight against the darkness throughout the land brought to you by Anatoliy Sidorov.

Upon starting a new game you’ll be taken to the world map, where you’ll be shown the first starting point. Clicking on this will take you to the tutorial which will take you over the basics of the game. Once you’ve done the tutorial, you’ll be able to move on to the next level and the tutorial will disappear.

You start with the character Bogatyr Mikhail in the tutorial, after which you’ll be able to select the next mission on the world map. As you enter the next mission, you’ll be greeted by Snappy Mushrooms, one of many weird creatures that you’ll cross paths with as you travel the lands. You also notice someone else here who doesn’t seem to be a weird creature, but instead it’s another human. She explains that you’re the first human she’s seen in a while, these filthy creatures are everywhere. Her name is Sorceress Vasilisa, and you suggest that you work together in getting rid of these vile creatures.

It turns out that the sorceress is quite handy with powerful magic, something which isn’t seen very often in your homelands. Witches are normally killed long before they reach their prime, so you ask her how is it that she has survived for so long to be able to perform such powerful magic. This isn’t something she wants to share right now as you need to defeat the creatures surrounding you.

As you make your way you’ll come to a village overrun with the creatures; here you’ll find your third character who will join your group, if you can set them free. Alexei the Ranger has been jailed for stealing something (which he denies, of course). However, you can’t leave him locked up in the empty village, so he joins you. Alexei isn’t as strong as Bogatyr or as powerful as the sorceress, but he is able to heal your characters, also providing some minor attacking abilities.

Each mission is divided into squares with various obstacles here and there, such as trees, logs, shrubs, haystacks etcetera. Each character has four action points that can be used to either move around the map, or to be used by one of the cards in your deck.  Each square you move will cost you one action point.  Moving happens by selecting the characters you’d like to move and then clicking on the square or squares you like to move to.

You can see the whole of the area you’re currently on, although there is a “fog of war” which hides monsters. These will be revealed as you move closer to these areas, so use caution when moving. Once the creatures have been revealed, they’ll make their way towards you and start attacking. Just like your characters, they also have four action points which they can use to move and attack with.

To attack you’ll need to choose a card which is currently in your hand; you can have a total of twelve cards in your deck at any one time. Each card will have its own description of any additional properties, and the number of action points it will take to use that card is indicated in the top left corner of the card. The attacking power of a card is in the top right corner, while the attacking distance is indicated in the top centre of a card. The attacking range can vary from one to four squares, meaning that a card that has an attacking distance of four can attack four squares from the character’s current position.

Some cards will have additional properties which you can take advantage of, like the Barrel. This can be used four squares away from a target, but will also deal two damage to any adjacent squares. This is great for when creatures are close together.  Other cards, such as chained lightning, will deal damage to multiple targets as well. Once a card has been used it gets removed from your hand. As you only have twelve cards in your deck, you can soon go through them. However, with each new turn of yours, a card will be placed in your hand until you have a maximum of five cards.

As you complete missions you’ll be rewarded with some gold, or maybe a new card. Gold and other items can also be found as you make your way through a mission. Once you have enough gold, you can then use it to buy card packs. You can buy these by going back to the main menu and selecting Packs. Each pack costs one-hundred gold and will give you three random cards.  Which of your characters receives those cards is determined by the style of card, as each character has their own different type of card.

You can select your deck from the main menu screen, where you’ll see the cards you currently own for each character. Here you can also swap out any card you don’t want for any new one you may have just collected. You can only have two of the same card in your deck; if you have more than two of the same card then you can sell those cards for some gold. Also, on the main menu screen you’ll find Bestiary; here you’ll find information on any creature you’ve crossed paths with and the types of cards they’ll use against you.

In the settings you’ll find Music, Sound and Background Sounds volume sliders. There are check boxes for a Themed Cursor and Full Screen options, along with Graphics and Language buttons. Selecting the Graphics there are four options: Antialiasing, Bloom, Shadows and Chromatic Aberration. To enable these options, you’ll just need to check the box to the required option. In Language there are four options to choose from: Russian, English, German and French. On the settings menu are Credits, Quit Game and Close.

In the top left corner of the screen, while on a mission, you’ll notice a Question Mark next to the options. Clicking on this will give you the details of the current mission, information on how to use the camera angles, as well as card information in case you’ve forgot.

I’ve really enjoyed playing this game so far, even though I’ve now pulled out all my hair (Summer’s here anyway, so saved a haircut). The game looks like it’s easy to play but it’s deceiving; it’s quite challenging, which isn’t a bad thing in my mince pies. It will certainly get you rethinking your strategy which may also be influenced by the random cards you collect as you progress. Overall a great little game.


Review written by Piston Smashed™ for! 


+ Easy to learn but challenging
+ Nice graphics, music and sounds
+ Good story
+ Achievements


- Frustrating at times
- No cards

Review Summary

Have you got what it takes to lead three heroes in the fight against the darkness which is spreading through the lands?

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Zeepond Rating: 8/10