Unholy Heights Review – (Un)holy Real Estate (PS4)
You’re the Devil. No, really, you play as the Devil. The Devil has decided he no longer wants to rule in Hell, but turn a profit for himself. The best way to roll in the dough? Why, it’s real estate, of course! The Devil has opened a brand new apartment complex just perfect for monster tenants. If he raises enough funds, he can add another floor to his building and bring in even more profit! Problem is, though, noble adventurers don’t like the Devil setting up homes for monsters. They like to swarm in in droves to kill all of the poor monsters and steal the Devil’s hard earned money. The only thing to do is to build even more floors, house more monsters, and employ a monster army to defend your turf.
Welcome to Unholy Heights.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Unholy Heights starts off quite simple enough. As the Devil, you spend a good majority of your life’s savings to build one floor of your future megacomplex. At this time, you can see what all is in your apartments and perhaps spiffy them up a bit for future tenants, or just wait. Monsters will come in and look at the notice board regardless if you have rooms available. If they want to rent a room, you’ll know. Once they are in, they will start making requests for furniture and better appliances. Some monsters need specific items just to avoid getting sick. Some monsters refuses to be in the same building with other types. At first I thought they wouldn’t be next-door neighbors or perhaps on the same floor, but nope, they don’t want to be in the same building as these other monsters, the racists. It’s not long before you’re juggling your tenants with their needs, adjusting rent with your upgrades, and deciding who gets evicted and who gets to stay.
As you set up your rooms, some prospective tenants will only move in if the rent is just right or the apartments have certain amenities. Even from the very beginning, when it seems like all of the monsters are clamoring to move in, the wolf monsters won’t be interested in the slightest. It wasn’t until I analyzed them in the Bestiary that I understood why. The wolves will only move in if the rent is reasonable (which is debatable at best, the cheapskates) and if the room has workout equipment. I added a jump rope to a low end room, and that’s all it took for the wolf clan to get interested. The Bestiary also taught me that the demons will only be satisfied with their apartment if plenty of tenants die on a regular basis. I stopped allowing them to move in rather quickly.
While most tenants are fairly good about paying their daily rent, some will fall behind. You can choose to kick their sorry hides to the curb, or you can be as lenient as you wish. Of course if you’re too lenient, the other tenants will catch wind and stop paying their rent as well. My favorite method in dealing with bad tenants was sending them to the front line first as soon as those pesky adventurers showed up. If they weren’t going to pay in cash, they would pay in blood. If they were killed in the process, eh, it happens. The room is now open for another tenant who will hopefully pay their rent on time.
All Monsters Matter
When adventurers come a-knockin’, the Devil will not fight them on his own. He has tenants to do that for him. Knock on their doors, and they will rush out to fight whoever dares to attack the Devil and their beloved apartment complex. The monsters are either melee fighters, mid-range fighters, or long range mages. The order you send the particular tenants out to fight will affect their efficiency in battle and battle prowess. Sometimes it’s best to wait until the adventurers have walked past certain doors before knocking on them, so you can order tenants to flank them. As such, where you allow the tenants to room will affect your strategy as well. You won’t want an entire floor filled with only melee or only long-range fighters.
Even though you’re the Devil, you still need your tenants to be somewhat happy. Increasing their satisfaction levels does three things that benefits you, the landlord:
- Makes monsters better stronger fighters with greater defense;
- Makes monsters more likely to find love and reproduce, which means more fighters per room; and
- Makes the Devil have a better reputation with that monster class, which in turn means better chances of paying rent on time and more of that clan will want to move in.
The game will seem simple at first, but as soon as you get that second floor built, the real juggling act takes center stage. As the Devil’s reputation increases, more monsters of a particular type will start to venture in as well, and they all have their own unique demands with furniture and accommodations. If you cater too much to one type of monster, the later quests will be next to impossible to complete. For that alone, it’s a good thing the monsters do die rather easily so you can start anew with your floor strategies.
Quests? Yes, There Are Quests
The Message Board isn’t just for announcing which rooms are open; they also post various quests for the Devil to trigger. It’s fine to let the apartment just sit, make money, and take on the random adventurers that will come its way, but the only way to make serious money, unlock more furniture options, and unlock some monster types is to take on quests. Most of these quests are instigated by the Devil himself, like he just happens to alert the local religious sects that Satan is a neighbor. The quests send waves of heroes to attack the apartment complex and rob the Devil of his treasure. If one hero escapes, the quest is failed and the player will have to try again after bringing in new tenants.
Timing is always crucial with triggering these quests. When I first started to play, I set a quest that was most likely too difficult to begin with, but when the mob arrived, only one of my tenants was home. The others had gone to work or went to run errands. Sometimes the tenants will return in time to catch the heroes at the back or on their way out, but you can’t count on it. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but you only need that lesson once.
Unholy Heights is devilishly simple, and that will turn many off if they only play it for a few hours. It’s when the second floor is erected that the challenge becomes apparent, and that’s also when the addiction really set in for me. I left the game running in the background pretty much all day for the last couple of days, only turning around when I heard the alarm bells of heroes coming. What I really wish with this game is that it was on the Vita instead of the PS4, because as it is the perfect game to have running in the background, I’d love to take this with me everywhere I go. I’d love it to sit on my desk, much like what I did in my dark Tiny Tower days. With the pointing and clicking needed for the tower defense portion, this game just begs for a touch screen, if not a mouse. But I’ll take it as it is, and fans of either Tiny Tower or Dungeon Keeper should take a look into this one too. I can almost guarantee you’ll be as hooked as I am.
Unholy Heights review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.