I can be a pretty picky player sometimes when it comes to certain genres. Having been spoiled by a number of great titles over the years, RPGs are probably the strongest example of this. When I run into a subpar title, such as Adventure Manager, it grates on me more than it should for this reason; if I’m not having fun with a game because of how it’s designed and what it’s trying to accomplish, then I feel like that game is failing on a pretty fundamental level. While not all games need to be about fun, I feel like aiming for that and missing it is a crucial breakdown.
The premise behind Adventure Manager is part standard turn-based RPG, part hands-off simulator. Your created character takes the role of the ruler of a kingdom, hiring adventurers to complete tasks around the land and rid the world of dangerous monsters. Adventures themselves come in two forms; first, the active-involvement standard dungeon crawl with an assembled party, as well as “auto adventures” for your champions to complete in their own time while you busy yourself with other things. Success means hiring a good number of adventurers of different races and classes, building up sets of powerful allies to do your work.
Easily the game’s weakest common point, the RPG elements are bare-bones at best. Single-direction movement animations accompany a basic map and compass-directed exploration, and battle commands are likewise minimal, with simple inputs to attack, defend, or use special class-specific skills. Party arrangement allows for two each in the front and rear lines, with position and equipment dictating viable targets for assault. Characters can be customized with unique looks, names, and equipment after hiring.
Auto Adventures in Adventure Manager require the same setup as the more involved quests, requiring that you put together a party to send on whatever mission you’ve selected. After this, it’s a matter of simply waiting for them to complete the task at hand. In the meantime, you can go about other things; hiring more from the various cities, checking quest boards, or speeding time up to allow your other champions to rest, which they must do to remain effective from mission to mission.
There’s actually quite number of cool ideas packed into Adventure Manager, which is a shame since the execution comes off sloppy and clunky. With some polish and a more tuned-in RPG system, it could create a fun and engaging world, but the difficulty of levelling up your adventurers and keeping everything running smoothly while actually having fun is tough. Since it’s so stripped down, there’s no real depth or engaging play to support the interesting quest-manager concept. Still, for a $4.99 early access price on Steam, there could be enough here to be interesting to those seeking something new, if not quite great, from the genre.