Unholy Heights Review

Unholy Heights Featured

Unholy Heights Boxart

Developer: Petit Depotto
Publisher: Active Gaming Media Inc.
Platform: PC – Playism, Steam (Reviewed), Xbox 360 – XBLA

When you first look at Unholy Heights it seems like an adorable version of SimTower. After all, it appears to have some of the same gameplay based around increasing your tower while providing adequate housing for tenants. Once actually playing the game however it is quickly revealed that Unholy Heights is far more devilish than its cute chibi artwork lets on.

In the game, players are the Devil. But instead of wreaking havoc, eating people or something generally evil, the Devil simply focuses on creating a monster-only housing unit. You take the executive role of letting new tenants into your rooms, redecorating said rooms to please your customers/attract new ones, and slowly expand the building to increasing heights.

Unholy Heights Screenshot 1

This is no easy task, even for the Devil. It’s a hard life for monsters which means human adventurers, townspeople, and heroes will routinely come to harass them. Sometimes, this leads to your customers being killed and other times they simply steal money. In either case, this is where Unholy Heights requires players to think strategically and fight back! If a tenant is home, you can summon them from their room to have them fight against the invaders. Each monster has their own health bar and they can be sent back home if it gets too low. Otherwise, the poor little monster will get killed.

How do you make sure your monsters are tough and healed? A monster’s attack and defense levels are based on their happiness levels. If they’re stuck in an ugly old room they won’t be happy at all. However, if you heed their requests and buy them what they want then they’ll have increased power. If and when the monster finds a mate and has a child, that child can benefit and be born with higher default stats than the parents. Unfortunately, there are some odd issues with monster happiness. The main one is that monsters have biases against other monster types and therefore won’t ever be completely happy if they share the building with one of those types. So far, I have found no way to counter this aside from restricting certain monsters housing.

Unholy Heights Screenshot 2

Battling is easy enough to understand but taking out enemies efficiently can be pretty tough. You’ll have to develop strategies to attack because each monster type has their own range. You have to unleash them in the proper order to make maximum use of ranged attacks. Secondly, it’s often useful to surround the enemy on both sides, or even crowd them by the stairwell (once you have a second floor). When there are a lot of enemies, it can be hard to tell who your monsters are. Sometimes I left tenants to die simply because I couldn’t distinguish them in the line of my monsters and enemy humans. Every so often, the game would also refuse to accept my click to send one back to their room. It’s likely this was caused by characters overlapping but is an annoying way to lose a character.

In order to build new apartments the player must first have enough money for each successive floor. The best way to gain money is by doing quests, but they increase in difficulty quite fast. Some of the best strategies for generating powerful monsters are ones you must devise yourself since Unholy Heights never goes to great effort to explain them. Basically, players should take things slow by cultivating strong children instead of immediately rushing through each mission. If you don’t, things quickly become rough and you have to hang back for a while anyway.

Unholy Heights Featured

Even though the game is quite tough it is still a lot of fun. Primarily this is due to the simplistic nature of the game as well all the charm it exudes. The graphics are adorable and so are the little bitty monsters who inhabit your building. Funnily, the translation is good but perhaps raunchier than would be expected. Items such as erotic cakes exist to make your monsters mate, and at times, the monsters will spend their free time in humorous ways. Definitely check out what they’re up to from time to time for a laugh.

Make no mistake, this is a difficult game. Still, the easy to understand gameplay, graphics, and music help make it a tremendously charming experience. Definitely give the demo a look to see if this is the kind of game for you. It’s also very fairly priced at $4. Normally I wouldn’t care about a strategic apartment sim but I’ve found myself adoring the vast majority of Unholy Heights.

Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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