PAX Encounters: Hoard Multiplayer Dissected in New Videos

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After a successful showing of Hoard’s multiplayer modes at PAX, developer Big Sandwich Games wanted to share two new videos with PlayStation.Blog readers today showing off a full match in both the cooperative and competitive models. Watch them in HD, if possible, so you can get a good look at the details that make up Hoard.

Hoard’s gameplay is simple on its surface, but strategic to its core. In classic dual-stick shooter style, the left analog stick maneuvers your dragon while the right stick activates your fire breath. The goal is to accumulate as much gold as your dragon can carry by burning structures and enemies, then returning to your treasure hoard to safely deposit your loot for big points (with multiplier bonuses if you’re on a spree). Collect enough gold and, in an RPG-style twist, you’ll be able to level up your dragon’s speed, gold carrying capacity, armor, or fire breath power via a quick tap of the D-pad. In a competitive match, choosing the right upgrade path is a key to besting your opponents. If an enemy dragon is using a Hoard Thief power-up to steal your gold, for instance, you can counter by pumping up your speed rating and chasing him down.

So far, so good. But playing Hoard reveals subtleties that are easy to miss at a glance. The surrounding kingdom for instance, is teeming with details: tiny wagons carrying grain from the mill to town, carriages shuttling princesses from building to building, and stealthy thieves scrambling around your treasure pile. What’s more, the surrounding kingdom continually evolves around you, with defensive structures such as Wizard Towers that erect in response to your destruction. In fact, it pays to allow the kingdom to grow and thrive before swooping in to collect your ill-gotten gains.

Hoard is packed with play modes, including Treasure (collect as much gold as possible in single-player or co-op), Princess Rush (a competitive mode where the only goal is to capture 15 princesses), and a classic survival mode where you try to outlast ever-increasing waves of enemies. Both couch and online co-op play are supported as well, in any combination of up to four players, with some competitive modes for good measure.

Hoard will land on the PS3 this fall, and a separate, handheld-optimized version will also appear on the PSP. What do you think of Big Sandwich Games’ debut PSN title? Leave your questions and comments below.

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