We were fortunate to be given hands-on time with Jet Set Games' upcoming game, Highborn; a medieval turn-based strategy game with a blend of the traditional 2D map gameplay and a great looking 3D combat engine. To give some context, Jet Set Games is led by the original creators of the immensely popular Command & Conquer RTS.

Much of Highborn clearly draws inspiration from popular PC titles such as Heroes of Might and Magic. From the very first map Highborn's richly painted levels catch the eye. In fact, all the artwork we saw was exceptionally well drawn, from character designs to unit icons on the combat map-- all had a grand cartoon-like style that we've really taken to.

This is true of the combat engine too. When you engage in combat, the screen transitions into a focused battlefield, akin to other popular TBS games such as Rogue Planet. Where Highborn differs is that attack moves are played out in full-3D. These 3D encounters are just as detailed and are terrifically animated; units are brought to life to look just as great as their 2D counterparts. The many different battlefield environments we saw were crafted to the same high standard, too.


The rich world created by Jet Set Games doesn't stop at the visuals though, as each character we encountered in our brief time with the game were larger-than-life and very self-aware. We appreciated the (often very funny) well-written banter between characters and the many instances where dialogue segues right through the fourth wall. It's been a long time since a game made us laugh, but Highborn promises to do just that.

Highborn also promises asynchronous multiplayer via Facebook, where you can send challenges to your friends and play against each other on selected multiplayer maps. We had a chance to test this, and we're pleased to say it works really well. You can even have multiple games going at once, meaning time spent waiting for your friends to move can be kept at a minimum. Thoughtfully, the game icon also displays the number of multiplayer games currently awaiting your attention.

Highborn is shaping up to be an excellent turn-based strategy with a storyline worth caring about. It's a breathe of fresh air to see time and effort devoted to good dialogue writing, and it seems to pay off in what we've seen so far. We're eagerly awaiting Highborn's release (which is still slated as 'Coming Soon' by the developers) to see what more fun Jet Set Games have in store for us.

In the interim, whet your appetites by checking out our video above of the opening mission. Be sure to watch it in HD, as you'll get a better feel for the game by reading the mission dialogue.

  • Jsrco

    This looks very promising.

  • Jsrco

    This looks very promising.

  • JCat

    This looks fantastic - love these types of strategy games; the battle mode looks awesome.

  • JCat

    This looks fantastic - love these types of strategy games; the battle mode looks awesome.

  • dave

    looks great

  • dave

    looks great

  • tetrisgrammaton

    hmm i've been in my yearly mood for a strategy game of late

  • tetrisgrammaton

    hmm i've been in my yearly mood for a strategy game of late

  • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

    Oh, no. For some reason I have to have all strategy games on the iPhone, but I never play them. Mecho Wars, Rogue Planet, Battle For Wesnoth, Unowars... now this!? I can't take it any more, my brain is full! Aaaaagh!!

  • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

    Oh, no. For some reason I have to have all strategy games on the iPhone, but I never play them. Mecho Wars, Rogue Planet, Battle For Wesnoth, Unowars... now this!? I can't take it any more, my brain is full! Aaaaagh!!

  • RaZeR

    This looks like a must have for me and I am an RPG TD gamer not RTS

  • RaZeR

    This looks like a must have for me and I am an RPG TD gamer not RTS

  • thebleeptruth

    Finally, this may be the perfect turn-based strategy for me. Can't wait! IMO best TBS ever for any platform is still Final Fantasy Tactics.

  • thebleeptruth

    Finally, this may be the perfect turn-based strategy for me. Can't wait! IMO best TBS ever for any platform is still Final Fantasy Tactics.

  • arr4ws

    one question.... WHEN?

    • http://www.driph.com Chris A

      arr4ws: Very soon!

  • arr4ws

    one question.... WHEN?

    • http://www.driph.com Chris A

      arr4ws: Very soon!

  • trystero

    Great news... now I just need it to come out around the same time as the new iPhone :)

  • trystero

    Great news... now I just need it to come out around the same time as the new iPhone :)

  • Altrez

    iPad version?

  • Altrez

    iPad version?

  • Deewin

    instant buy

  • Deewin

    instant buy

  • marius

    Damn, they even used the Wilhelm scream.

  • marius

    Damn, they even used the Wilhelm scream.