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24 August 2017

REVIEW: Beasts of Balance


You are The Creator

We'll be honest, we're not really ones for sit down board games. Waiting to see what the roll of several dice says is not all that exciting for us, and anyone who actually enjoys Monopoly is evil. However, our dislike of playing games ended a couple of weeks ago when we received Beasts of Balance; a game that takes place both in the real and virtual world. Here's what we thought.



So what is this? Well, Beasts of Balance was funded after a very successful Kickstarter campaign. The game comprises of three main elements: a battery-powered base, several plastic playing pieces, and your own phone or tablet running the games's free app. Playing either as a group, or on your own, you have to stack the oddly shaped, yet weirdly beautiful, pieces on top of each other, as doing so effects the world within the app.


Still not making sense? Well, each of the pieces features an internal NFC chip, so the base, or plinth, can detect what items are currently in play. This is then communicated to your device via low-energy Bluetooth, altering the gameplay in the app. Place the bear onto the plinth, and the bear will appear in the virtual world immediately. Add the octopus next to the bear, and he'll have a buddy. And then you can combine the animals to create hybrid creatures, but that is where it gets mental.


Yes, this is first and foremost a balancing game... but a bloody tricky one. The pieces are so oddly shaped that they hardly stack together easily. In fact, part of the fun of Beasts of Balance is working out how the spikes and flats and curves could ever possibly support each other in a tower, but after a while you learn what goes well into what.



But why are you stacking them together anyway? Well, the more beast, miracle, and artefact pieces you can combine at one time, the higher your score. This is where the die-hard, evil Monopoly players might not enjoy Beasts of Balance, as players work together, rather than against one another. We're fine with that, to be honest, and it was nice to actively root for each other for a change (instead of nudging and fake sneezing loudly during pretty competitive games of Jenga).


The cross and migrate pieces, which are large and white parts, are not only used to add some much-needed flat surfaces, but also to combine the animals in various combinations. However, no matter what you create, you'll have to care for it, and if your beast becomes endangered you can add an element part to the tower, energising the animal and helping it to evolve, earning you more points. Different combinations of beasts, evolving differently, and with different energies, all add up to a very varied game each time you play.


That is probably the long term appeal of Beasts of Balance. We've been playing it for a fortnight and still never tired of it, but being able to purchase new gaming pieces, and updates to the app, should keep your interest for years to come.


By the way, the pieces are gorgeous; made in a silky smooth plastic with a design aesthetic that perfectly matches, and is complimented by, the design of characters in the app. The octopus is probably our favourite in terms of looks, and because he has a nice flat head to stack other things on to - something we also appreciate in people.


We've never played anything like Beasts of Balance, and we're pretty sure you haven't, either. The seamless blending of the real and virtual worlds makes for an immersive and expansive game that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more. Right, we're off to smash our high score. You can write your own damn reviews from now on...

£69.99

Visit beastsofbalance.com




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