The trend is to mix the best basic ideas from different genres in order to create a completely unique gaming experience. This must also have been thought by some of the former employees of Epic Games, who combine the best of real-time strategy, MOBA and card games in their latest game project. It came out Golem Gates, a graphically impressive title that entered the Early Access phase a few weeks ago.  We got from Golem Gates took a picture and report in the following post about our impressions and whether the purchase of the Early Access version is worthwhile.

In addition, Matt Oelfke, the head behind the developer Laser Guided Games, was available to answer a few questions. 

RTS + MOBA + digital card game

Real-time strategy has been dead for at least as long as the PC itself - and yet new genre representatives make it onto the market at regular intervals. No wonder: no other platform is as well equipped for real-time strategic video games as the classic gaming PC. And anyway, the home computer is currently experiencing something like a second spring. The analysts and experts who comment on the eternal discussion can hardly be believed anyway. In 2012, the head of Crytek, Cevat Yerli, predicted that consoles would become extinct and that no large consoles would reach the market. The result was powerful game consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One or the hybrid Nintendo Switch. In the end, the PC did not displace the consoles, nor did the consoles displace the PC. All platforms exist side by side in a kind of parallel world and many passionate gamers use more than one platform anyway. 

This is partly due to the numerous subgenres of the digital game world, whose representatives usually run particularly smoothly on a specific platform. Ubisoft, for example, recently described the PC in a promotional video as a "leading platform for innovation in the gaming sector". Speaking of innovation: the concept that former employees of Epic Games use with the genre mix is ​​also innovative Golem Gates present. The mix of card game, real-time strategy and MOBA is available as early access on Steam. Far from being published Golem Gates but not anymore: the release is planned for March 28, 2018. So the Early Access version gives a pretty good impression of what players can expect when the full version is released. 

Based on the game modes of Golem Gates that's quite a lot. In addition to various multiplayer variants such as 1 vs 1, 2 vs. 2 or games against bots, the developers have already submitted part of the single player campaign as a patch. Anyone who dares to take to the battlefields alone can play the "first book" of the campaign. developer Laser guided games presents two of the playable heroes (called Harbinger in the game) within the first five missions. In addition, the Trial Mode is now also available, which comprises a total of ten scenarios with special rules of the game. You can see the current changes to the respective patches in Change Log ...

Golem Gates Early Access Trailer


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Complete waiver of basic construction

Golem Gates should not just be a classic RTS game, but rather draw players into the action through a direct and quick introduction. Sprawling basic buildings or the creation of powerful defenses are just as undesirable as the constant replenishment of units. In order to reduce the gaming experience to the essential factors Laser guided games the best aspects of different genres. While units and heroes can be moved across the field in real time in order to attack opponents or to capture energy nodes, a card game principle ensures that units are replenished. For this, players use individually customizable decks (glyph decks), which in turn consist of active combat units, stationary guns and offensive and defensive tech skills. 

Above all, give glyphs to the latter Golem Gates an additional tactical level, because your own units can be healed or opponents can be sent into nirvana with the help of powerful fireballs, for example. Golem Gates does not completely do without micromanagement. The focus of the video game is clearly on the countless combat situations that a player has to deal with during a game. 

And it actually happens Golem Gates incredibly intuitive - apart from a few bugs that are currently sometimes making things more hectic than necessary. A certain luck factor should break up rigid deck combinations without endangering the strategic component of deck building. Some of the glyphs therefore develop random effects that, although not predictable, make the individual games unique. The developers of Laser guided games deal cleverly with the influences of the different genres and have with you Golem Gates created an incredibly humorous strategy game that invites fans to entertaining cooperative or competitive matches.

Visually impressive. Playfully exciting.

The graphic quality of Golem Gates. Given the history of the development team, that's not really surprising. Laser guided games was founded for the development of Golem Gates and consists of former experts who have already been involved in games such as Gears of War or Unreal Tournament. Matt Oelfke, head of Laser guided games, is a real shooter expert - it goes without saying that the visual presentation is not neglected in a project under his leadership. In order to create the best possible graphic construct, the developers use the Unreal 4 engine and also rely on competent support. The chic look is created in cooperation with the company Hollow Inc., whose founder Josh Nizzi already worked as a concept designer on films such as The Avengers or Spiderman: Homecoming worked.  

Early Access: Golem Gates - The RTS MOBA card game for PC

Despite the first-class graphics, the developers still have to readjust a few points. Sometimes it flashes, flashes and flickers so intensely on the battlefield that all overview is lost. In addition, the color scheme of the units does not always seem to match that of the map environment. If your own combat units merge with the map due to their coloring and thus become almost invisible, a few precious seconds pass before the human eye has rediscovered the characters involved. This can be quite frustrating at times, especially in heated battles. 

The playful structure is solid and is reminiscent of classics such as BattleForge, which back then was based on a similar game idea. The fact that Golem Gates is in the Early Access phase is still noticeable in many corners: some graphic effects work like placeholders, the interface is far from being optimal and the number of maps and glyphs is comparatively small. The soundscape is also not very extensive, so that repetitive sounds are annoying in the long run. When Laser guided games it manages to work on the construction sites, but nothing stands in the way of hours of entertainment. 

Interview with Matt Oelfke from Laser Guided Games

Projects that are still in development often do not show all of the elements that designers envision for the final game to be released. For interested gamers, it is particularly exciting to see what plans the developers are pursuing and what content and ideas you can expect as a player.

We therefore took the opportunity Matt Oelfke, founder of Laser guided games and head behind Golem Gatesto ask some questions. 

About Matt Oelfke: Matt Oelfke started programming simple software and games at a young age. He made his first breakthroughs as part of the Unreal Tournament modding community. The creation of popular mods finally brought him to the attention of the development studio Epic Games, which hired him as a full-fledged employee. Over the years he has become a respected expert on AI and networking code. After many years at Epic, Oelfke decided to start over in order to be able to implement his own ideas. (Source: Laser Guided Games)

When asked about the specifics and target group of Golem Gates Matt Oelfke emphasized primarily the return to a simple gameplay:

"Our guiding principle was to create an RTS that was easy to play and required less micromanagement than comparable titles without sacrificing game depth. By wrapping some mechanics in a kind of deck of cards, we were able to give players their own unique choices without having to follow complicated plots or implement fixed build orders.”

Oelfke is not afraid of the well-known competitors in the field of strategy and card games. He sees Golem Gates as unique enough to survive in the market:

“Our unique glyph mechanics result in a completely different gaming experience than most other games. As already mentioned, we aim for easier accessibility than similar strategy games. As an independent development studio, it's much easier for us to communicate directly with the community.
In addition, many other games from major development studios are free-2-play, which can be quite negative for players. With a full-price game, players can be confident that their engagement will give them access to the full scope of Golem Gates without having to spend hundreds of hours grinding new content.” 

On average, the first ratings were from Golem Gates extremely positive on Steam. This was enormously motivating for the developers:

"It was a boost of confidence to see that players who have already played Golem Gates were enjoying the experience. But for us that's only half the victory. The other half is now making everyone else aware of it.”

What happens if Golem Gates is successful? Matt Oelfke looks carefully into the future of the game:

"There's a lot of creative freedom to explore gameplay variations, such as alternate win conditions, special rules, and so on. Subsequent content will include some of these, and if we have additional resources, we'll be experimenting with more ideas. Of course, there will also be many other glyphs that players can use to build their decks.”

Microtransactions, paid expansions, loot boxes or free content are some of the ways to make a game profitable in the long term. Matt Oelfke speaks out clearly against loot boxing:

"If Golem Gates is successful, we might release a paid expansion for a fixed price. We don't intend to introduce microtransactions and we certainly won't jump on the bandwagon of using loot boxes."

In addition to multiplayer modes, Golem Gates also offers a pure single player campaign. The developers see the content as equal for solo players and pay great attention to the wishes of the fans:

“The single player mode is just as important as the multiplayer modes. We focused on multiplayer content during Early Access, but will be heavily focused on single player at launch. Much of the new content will be built around solo play, including some cooperative maps.
Many users have told us that what they want most is more solo content, so we've accelerated development in this area and increased the scope. In addition to the first part of the campaign, the first major update includes a trial mode with many new challenges for single players.”

Golem Gates is currently only available for PC. When asked about possible porting, Matt Oelfke is open but cautious. It just depends on the players.

“Currently there are no plans for a release on other platforms. But if there is enough interest, it can still happen.”

We were sure the developers of Golem Gates would like card games or board games. That deck building games are favored came as no big surprise:

“Some of us like deck building games like Ascension or Legendary. The idea of ​​cramming a full trading card game (CCG) experience into an hour or two of gameplay is quite interesting and entertaining.”

When asked if Matt Oelfke would like to say anything else to the fans, he of course put the thanks to the players in the foreground:

"Thank you for playing! We're excited as we think about developing the rest of the title so that everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy the game." 

For us, the hours of play were quite entertaining. We are also looking forward to an early release of Golem Gates. At this point we would like to thank Matt Oelfke from Laser guided games for his time and wish the entire development team every success.


Number of players: 1 player (single and multi-player)
Age: from approx. 14 years
Playing time: 20+ hours
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: high

Publisher: Hollow Earth
Developer: Laser Guided Games
Year of publication: 2018
Platforms: PC
Language: English
Cost: approx. 20 euros

Media on Golem Gates


Golem Gates can become a real success when the developers of Laser guided games manage to avoid the typical mistakes of such early access projects. What players want is a gaming experience that is as error-free as possible, stable servers in the multiplayer area and regular replenishment of new game content. Anyone who aligns a strategic video game to solo players must be judged by the availability of single player content at the latest when it is released. With the release of the first major update, a step in the right direction has been taken, but individual players are only entertained in the long term by the creative processes of the developers. 

As so often you could say: Golem Gates has potential. In any case, the basic requirements for success are in place. The graphics are excellent, the game is direct and the tactical options are convincing - even if hardcore strategists would certainly like to have more influence.

Ultimately, the multiplayer modes also determine the success of the title. Providing players with fair and exciting multiplayer battles is a must for Laser guided games be a long-term strategy - also to survive against competitive titles from the strategy genre. Competitive and cooperative multiplayer games are simply the future. 

All in all a good, but not an outstanding, representative of what is currently perhaps the most popular genre.