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Wildermyth Early Access Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 29 - 2019

Like a tabletop RPG on my screen.

 
While we are all constantly bombarded every day by information about one game after another, some titles manage to slip completely under the radar. Worldwalker Games’ Wildermyth is one such title that almost slipped by unnoticed as it arrived recently on Steam Early Access. Thankfully I spotted the game in passing and hopped on board, as missing out on this gem of a game would have been a real shame. While Early Access traditionally means a game that is far from finished, Wildermyth is currently in a state that is supremely playable and gives plenty of suggestion that there are great things to come for this character-driven, procedurally-generated tactical RPG.

 


 
There is so much about Wildermyth that feels like playing a digital tabletop RPG, from the visuals to the way characters evolve and grow old. It feels like a lifetime since I last played a tabletop RPG and so stepping into the world of Wildermyth was a revelation, sparking a love for particular characters that I very rarely feel with other video games. It all starts quite simply by creating a team of three characters.

 
The character creation is fairly simple, starting with three characters that the player can tweak to their liking, while also choosing their class from the three RPG staples of warrior, hunter or mystic (wizard). This is all as the player would expect, but what follows in the game really builds the characters. They start out as young nobodys before deciding to be adventurers and hopefully becoming heroes. Through excellent story beats, the player will have to make decisions where their characters are involved, and these decisions can change them forever. For example, a character may hear the mysterious voice of a wolf god and, depending on the choice the player makes, have their form and abilities changed forever. Characters will grow old as they level up and become more powerful, or they may lose limbs in the course of their adventure. They can even fall in love with other characters in the team, or become rivals that are constantly trying to get one up on the other.

 


 
It is all of this magic, much of which is presented through comic book style panels on the screen, that will make players fall in love with their characters. Investing so much in a character may seem foolish as all characters will die eventually, but Wildermyth even has the perfect answer for that as well. Through the course of the game, the player will recruit more members to their team, and in subsequent adventures the player will have the chance to recruit a slightly younger version of their old characters, they are legends after all, allowing them to live on forever and constantly build their very own myth. It’s just excellent.

 
Continuing with the theme of excellent, the writing in the game is so well done and obviously has so much care and attention put into it. The game is generally light hearted, but there is darkness when their needs to be. There are so many little story beats in the game that it really feels like it is being made up as the player goes along. There is also a great level of imagination, as themes that are common in fantasy games are often absent in Wildermyth. For example, the enemies and monsters in Wildermyth are not your usual, cookie-cutter beasts, but far more original. The same can be said for the way magic works in the game. Rather than simply casting a spell and seeing the results, the user puts their magic into objects found within the battlefields and then can use them in different ways, such as a torch spitting fire into an enemies face. This gives the magical combat a really inventive feeling.

 
When it comes to the combat encounters, this takes place on a grid area with the characters and enemies represented by 2D cut outs, again following the tabletop theme. The combat is turn-based and makes heavy use of the surroundings as the player flanks, uses cover and has their team work together with their varied abilities to overcome the enemies. As the game progresses, the enemies obviously become more powerful and plentiful, but the heroes will also level up and unlock new abilities, while also finding new weapons and equipment to further strengthen them.

 


 
Outside of the tactical combat and wonderful storytelling, the player is presented with a procedurally generated overworld map, broken into different areas. The heroes will have a safe area to start from, but there they will have to venture out into these other areas to rid them of monsters, delve into dungeons and the like. Time is ticking by in the overworld and everything that the player has the heroes do will take time, moving on the story. Splitting the team and sending them to different places, to explore, defend against enemy incursions, or to built a bridge to a new area for example, is an option, but also runs the risk of leaving the heroes under powered and in danger. The overworld side of the game looks set to be just as entertaining as the combat.

 
Despite Wildermyth being in Early Access, it is already highly playable and nicely polished. So what else do the husband and wife team that make up Worldwalker Games have planned for Wildermyth? Well, the plan is to have at least six of the overarching stories, and a whole lot more of the little procedural stories as well. Content creation tools are also important to the team, allowing the community to expand on the game themselves. Speaking of community, the developers are welcoming feedback across all channels, from Discord to Steam.

 


 
When it comes to tactical RPGs, the genre is well represented. There are even quite a few currently in Steam Early Access. However, I have yet to come across a tactical RPG, in release or on Early Access, that weaves a story and gets the player invested as much as Wildermyth. The developers have said that the current Early Access asking price is where the price will stay on full release, which to me seems generous for a game with such great potential. Anyone looking for a story-telling tactical RPG that plays and feels like a tabletop game should keep an eye on Wildermyth as it’s going to be something really special.

 
Check out Wildermyth on Steam.

 

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