Note: this is a repost of an older text-older review, I thought a few gifs would spice it up.


Highlands is a light strategy game that revolves around capturing tiles using very simple turn-based battles. I've seen a few people compare it to the board game Risk, and strategy wise that describes the depth pretty well.

The battles are why I have very mixed feelings about the game - they do require some strategy, but it's a pretty repetitive process. Because all of the damage from the enemy is inflicted on a single unit, you just want to select the one with the lowest health capable of surviving the attack.

This damage is determined by a dice roll each turn of the battle, but as long as the unit you select to tank that turn has more health than the maximum roll, it's guaranteed to survive. Then next turn you select another unit to tank, using the same process.


This preserves higher-health units for future battles - since the only real danger is running into a battle where you can't soak up the first one or two powerful enemy attacks. As the enemy loses health their damage is reduced as well, and it really isn't a fair fight since you often kill multiple enemies per turn - and the most you'll ever lose per turn is your one tank unit - even if it only had 1 health left.

Occasionally the enemy also gets special tank units that can absorb all your damage for a single turn, but once the 2-3 tanks are dead the rest of their army is exposed and often dies in a single turn. You will take more damage when this happens though, since destroying a tank doesn't reduce the overall enemy attack power much - so you'll end up taking a few really big hits if they have a lot of tanks to kill.


Later in the game you get some items to improve attack and defense, as well as some special abilities that give you a random chance of pre-attacking - but the basic strategy remains the same.

The overworld is fairly simple as well, and mostly revolves around a fog of war that hides the massive number of enemy units. These also have a weak AI that tends to keep them in check so you don't get overwhelmed. For instance - if they own a tile that has zero guys, and it's the only path to your tiles, they will not move through that empty tile. They also won't attack a tile that has a higher attack power than the enemy squad. This includes multiple squads, they don't add their power together - so if your squad of 70 power is sitting next to 3 squads of 60 power each, they still won't attack.


There are some other abilities on the overworld like fortifying tiles and building outposts for resources, but you don't really have to use these much - it's mostly just move, fight, and wait a turn or two to heal once your squad gets dangerously low health.

So although it's not a bad game and kept me entertained for a few hours, I didn't feel compelled to play the other half of the levels - even though the writing was actually pretty good.


Synopsis:About as strategically deep as Risk, though the low number of units doesn't allow for any grand strategy. Battles are too simplistic and repetitive.