The Hand of Merlin is a turn-based tactical rogue-lite RPG presently in early entry on Steam from Room-C Video games and Croteam (with Versus Evil publishing). Based mostly on Arthurian legend, you’re taking management of a small squad of warriors who’re hand picked by Merlin to avoid wasting the world from an evil corruption. Whereas there are bigger story elements as you journey from Albion to Jerusalem, a lot of the main points of your story are revealed as you progress across the map, making a ‘select your individual journey’ story alongside the best way.
The sport was written by Jonas Kyratzes (The Talos Precept, Severe Sam 4) and Verena Kyratzes (The Lands of Dream, Severe Sam 4). The writers and builders are emphasizing the distinctive approach that they’ve tied in sci-fi parts into the story that aren’t related to Arthurian Legend within the slightest. Total, it’s an attention-grabbing tackle a narrative that would have performed out as your customary medieval fantasy fare.
After watching the opening reduce scenes and deciding on my 3 heroes, I set off on my quest. Character choice is nonexistent at first, as you will want to unlock characters (as much as 6) by development. You’ll be able to simply steadiness out the celebration from the courses out there: Warrior, Ranger, and Sorcerer. These courses do what you’d anticipate. My private favourite is the Ranger class, who affords an excellent mixture of expertise to regulate the battlefield from a distance. You would completely do a run a with all Warriors in case you actually needed to, however I can’t think about you’ll get too far!
As soon as you choose your characters, you make some remaining selections that impression perks after which set off in your quest. The regional maps in The Hand of Merlin have an excellent variety of nodes to traverse. Nodes generally is a city, an encounter, a wreck, or a random story aspect that may check your resolution making. Some nodes are corrupted and can seemingly spawn an encounter. The tone was set instantly for me when my first node was assist and previous man get again to city, and he robbed me in the course of the night time and escaped.
The world is fairly unforgiving, however there may be some good that also exists in case you can uncover it. You might have a pool of assets that tag together with you, like gold, meals, and renown. Meals is consumed whenever you transfer alongside the nodes and in case you run out, you’ll begin incurring well being penalties. Gold helps you purchase stuff, like weapons, relics (ie, gear that gives passive or lively spells/perks), and the aforementioned meals. You purchase gadgets and heal in cities.
The motion across the map offers wonderful pacing. There’s a good mixture of fights, story parts, and cities to progress by as you’re employed your approach in the direction of the ultimate encounter within the area. I additionally may come and go as I happy, dipping into the sport for a short while then backing out that may naturally happen with every flip.
Encounters transfer at an honest tempo for essentially the most half, however minimizing harm in roguelike video games often requires some further rounds of useful resource administration (eg, I’ll heal the following spherical, then pursue the final fleeing enemy). Encounters in The Hand of Merlin really feel like most tactical RPGs: every character has motion factors to devour every flip, both by motion, fight, or spells. Enemies have armor factors you’ll want to interrupt by first so as to do harm to their well being (identical goes in your characters). Characters can transfer to cowl to assist mitigate harm from ranged assaults.
Your warrior will depend on close-quarter fight, rangers will assault from afar, and mystics can combine assaults with therapeutic and buffs. I hit my stride fairly early on the perfect mixture of offense and protection, and as you achieve renown, you possibly can degree up and achieve new talents. These can unlock some alternative talents that basically assist because the enemies get more durable and/or enhance in quantity. A few of spells and skills have prices and/or cooldown, so sensible utilization is essential.
Since this can be a roguelike, your characters are topic to permadeath. I battle with this style to an extent as a result of I personally dislike shedding progress. Dropping one character spells catastrophe for your complete crew since you seemingly gained’t final for much longer with the smaller celebration. Hopefully you’ll have unlocked a brand new hero to check out on the following run. You may also unlock extra of Merlin’s Spirit, which grants you highly effective spells you should utilize in a bind. They arrive at nice price, so they need to be used properly!
Graphically, The Hand of Merlin has a 2D storybook aesthetic blended with the 3D world that works for essentially the most half, however I’d virtually choose the character artwork have extra realism, such as you would possibly discover in Pillars of Eternity/Baldur’s Gate. Both approach, it isn’t a deal-breaker. The map and UI are clear. One space for enchancment is within the fight display. I bumped into points with mis-clicks the place I used to be making an attempt to assault an enemy and ended up clicking a component that wasn’t the enemy “hitbox” and simply began strolling to a grid proper behind them. This may spell catastrophe within the later recreation whenever you’re pushing the boundaries of your celebration. There are undoubtedly some legibility points with on-screen results and the colours mixing in with a few of the environments. These are hopefully straightforward enchancment that the builders could make within the brief time period.
All in all, I feel The Hand of Merlin is a high-quality providing into the realm of turn-based tactical rogue-lite RPGs. Seeing as this was an Early Entry recreation, it was surprisingly fairly polished. I’ll have an interest to see how the builders proceed updating this because it strikes towards full launch. If you’re one who likes to get in on the bottom flooring and this seems like the sport for you, by all means leap in now.
This preview relies on an early launch copy of the sport offered by the writer.