REVIEW: Unholy Heights

I like weird. I am a collector of odd things, I applaud the avant-garde, I don’t squirm in the presence of different. Somebody wants to stuff their dead pets and arrange them around the dinner table as guests, or loop a twenty minute video about Man’s obsession with masturbation and call it art, I’ll buy that ticket. When I heard the premise behind Unholy Heights ($2.99), I gladly stamped my passport to strange.

Part landlord sim, part dating network, part furniture shopper, part Pokémon, working under the label of Tower Defense and coming from Japan, Unholy Heights tries to tuck a little bit of everything under its roof. Rather than using the not-euphemism of ‘throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks’, however, developer Petit Depotto manages to include it all here in a way that makes sense and is entertaining.

As the Devil, renting out apartments to homeless monsters, while seemingly a good deed, is also your modus operandi, as you are merely doing so to build a massive, high HP / MP army of humanity’s worst nightmares. Your tenants unwittingly become soldiers, and missions take the form of varying quests, themselves just waves of enemies to outlast, tower defense-style, in order to earn cash, new furniture options, or advance the storyline.

Much more than window dressing, your monsters’ moods and opinions matter. As the old saying goes, a content demon is a useful demon. This will require you to invest in each monster’s particular brand of happiness, buying furniture and other items they crave, or having a compatible ‘significant other’ (ahem… erotic cakes, anyone?) move in to give a boost to your available infantry. The little things, too, like status messages and what each creature is currently doing, help to give you an understanding of your renters and build a relationship with them as landlord / overlord, one that will prove essential once the battles start.

Knowing who to place on the front lines is key, and changes based on the adventurers you’re fighting against. Even the weather can bring good fortune, as certain allies are stronger during certain conditions. Different aspects to each friend / foe, such as melee, ranged attacks and affinity for magic, will have to be considered, and the game does a mostly solid job in laying out the pros and cons to each quest you undertake, steering you clear of tougher missions until you’ve unlocked the ability to expand your building or attract stronger occupants.

Unholy Heights - Screen

In a way, this can make for a slow-moving crawl towards world domination, though you can speed through the more bland moments (largely) unimpeded, stopping to take on bigger quests or manage your roster of renters. The only real issue I found with the game was its sometimes uneven difficulty, with certain missions harder than others despite lower star / difficulty ratings. You can work around this by saving often, though, and testing the enemy waters before fully committing.

Otherwise, Unholy Heights is very well-done, a quirky, adorkable (yeah, I‘m using that word) game that manages to accent its personality rather than tower defense, a welcome addition to a genre that too often does the exact opposite, drowning players in trial-and-error and bland resource management / unit production. Here, it’s made to be fun and offer meaningful choices / customization. In that, it easily succeeds.

17 thoughts on “REVIEW: Unholy Heights”

  1. Well look at this. LOL Man, I’m 2 years late. LOL
    Sad part is commented on it over a year ago as well. One of them that I wanted but never got back to.

    Brings to mind an idea I think MS should do. Have a wish list. Due to the large number of games (not just Indie) it would be nice to put games you tried or read about or whatever into a wish list. Then when you are ready to buy you have those as an option.

    Tim, make it happen sir. LOL

    1. Tell you what; send me your ‘wish list’ of games AND your cell number, and I will periodically call you late at night to bug you buy old XBLIGs you once trialed. 🙂

      I think it’s a good plan! I’ll even put on my ‘winning customer service’ voice to really sell the whole thing. 😀

  2. How the hell <== Get it? did I miss this one? I even got a "Like" on the review but I skipped it for some reason. Well not today. (I bet the price turned me off because back then I never spent more than a dollar on an indie game)

    1. It’s that pesky price point! It strikes again! Unholy Heights is a charmer, that’s for sure. Plenty of time / content involved, too, so you won’t feel shortchanged. Another hidden gem that probably didn’t get as many sales as it should have.

    1. Among the many anagrams for “Erotic Cakes” is “Teaser Cock I”. I’m worried for Tim.

    2. @averystrangeplace: Erotic cakes are all well and good, but ‘Dangerously Erotic Cakes’, that’s a best-seller. Put it on the shelf next to ‘Erect Nipples Coke’.

      @andregurov: Oh man, don’t even get started on that. 🙂 You could rearrange everything on this site in ways I don’t dare fathom. There’s probably so many unintentional references to penises on here that I’d have to keep a psychologist on retainer for years just to begin to work through what I’ve put out here.

      Head over to Strange’s Place, on the other hand, and the references you find there are entirely intentional. 😛

    3. “Erotic cakes”? You’ll be claiming that was a mistranslation later I bet. 🙂

    4. That’s the fallback excuse for everything, and if that doesn’t work, then I say the site was hijacked and someone else has been writing all of this.

      ‘Erotic cakes’ has a long Google climb ahead of it, but the site is the #2 result for anyone searching ‘tree masturbation’ thanks to the ‘—> ‘ review. Clearly I’m doing important work here, and my parents would be proud.

    5. TheXBLIG is #2 for “tree masturbation”? This is unacceptable. How can we get it to #1? We need more tree masturbation around here, and pronto.

    6. As an update: this site is now #15 on Google for “tree masturbation” queries. Clearly we have failed Tim and I’ll make it my life’s work to visit this review daily until it reaches #2 again.

    7. Really? #15?1 Man, how the mighty have fallen! And I was noticing a dip in masturbation search queries!

      Well, there can be only one solution: the forceful addition of ‘tree masturbation’ in the taggings of all future reviews! Dammit, man, we’ll get to #1 by the time this XBLIG thing ends no matter what!

      1. Also, why are you googling this stuff? Do we need to schedule an intervention, my friend? :) 
  3. No business of boobs here, folks! It’s all about the erotic cakes. I was sold as soon as “erotic” popped up. I’m glad to read it is as entertaining as it sounded.

    1. All kidding aside, though, this is one of the better ideas for a ‘tower defense’ game I’ve seen. Kudos to the developer for working past the translation issues and getting the game out there. I just hope that people don’t freeze in their tracks at the $3 tag, and honestly give it a shot. There’s plenty of value here.

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