- Developer: Worldwalker Games LLC
- Publisher: Whisper Games
- Release date: 15/6/2021
- Price: £19.49 / $24.99
- Review code provided by Whisper Games
Introducing: Wildermyth Review
Wildermyth sets out to do something very few games attempt and even fewer master. At the heart of the game is a tactical RPG with a heavy emphasis on characters and story. That may sound like a string of buzzwords, but this little game stands out by procedurally creating characters you come to actually care about in all of their (sometimes awkward) glory. Even better, your characters leave a legacy behind as the world (and game) continues. With all this going for it, can it stand up under its own weight?
To Write A Myth
The procedurally generated story is the stand-out part of the title. While you fight your way across the map, you can run into smaller episodes that range from falling into a pit to seeing a God walk the realms. You could find yourself communing with ancient statues or reading from a forbidden tome. How you deal with each situation will form the personalities of the characters in your party. Just like in life, things sometimes Just Happen. Along the way, you’ll also form rivalries or romances based on your choices and events. These could have lasting effects on the party, usually with some sort of bonus or debuff to the persons involved. Along the way, these characters morph and slowly become uniquely your own. You’ve grown them from peasant to hero, loved and lost along the way. This is a feeling and a connection you just don’t get with many games. I really loved that these characters were mine and while other players may have similar elements, no one’s story played out just like mine.
Cutouts and Combat
The combat gameplay is nothing we’ve not seen before, turn-based combat with stat versus stat RNG goodness all around. Every character has a move/run area similar to X-Com, with the same cover/overwatch style system in place. Thankfully the combat difficulty can be adjusted, so if you find it a bit too much you can turn it down. However, I’d urge you to give it a shot at normal difficulty. One of the shining moments of the game can come when a character is downed. You are faced with one of the hardest decisions in gaming: Let the character die or suffer a debilitating limb loss. Sometimes you even get a third option of having another character willing to jump in front of the killing blow, possibly doing them permanent damage in the process. Not to worry because the next story beat might have you finding a magic book that turns your missing arm into a wing. Or inflict growths on your face. Or any of the various other pitfalls waiting for you in the narrative. With all that going on, combat really is the least of your worries. Not to say you won’t be fighting. There’s a lot of it and some of it affects the larger picture of the game, like losing resources or potential recruits from monster incursions.
Simply put, the stand-out moments happen between all the fighting. It’s all procedurally generated with only a structured overall story filling your first few campaign cycles. There’s also an option for a completely generated story that really adds a lot to the replay potential of the game. The end of a chapter means everyone grows up a little and we jump forward about a decade’s time. You gather your party of older and hopefully wiser companions and take to the fields again. And with enough work and maybe a little luck, one day you’ll ascend and become a Legacy. This is a post-game growth system that allows beloved characters to continue to fight on in other cycles of the game or fall into obscurity, never to be heard from again. This is your story and only you decide their fate.
Quite possibly the weakest area of the game is its art style. Yes, it’s a choice, but it also feels uninspired and very much that we’ve been down this road before. The overworld maps are just that, maps sectioned off into large areas with various rivers, mountains, other formations, towns, and settlements scattered about. The combat stages are set on top of graph paper with your characters presented as cut-out paper dolls that basically wiggle when they attack. The monsters, while offering a decent amount of variety, appear and attack in much the same way. The attacks, both spells and physical, are along the lines of a Pokemon game: You’ll see a little swipe or spell effect happening, but the important part is the numbers you see popping up. It’s not distracting, but it’s not exactly engaging either. I will give them props for the fact that the character graphic changes with both gear and alterations brought on by the game itself. Whether it’s a belt, a necklace, or a newly formed wing, they are all reflected in the character graphic. But when done with such rudimentary graphics, it feels like the very least they could do. I don’t think the graphics will turn anyone off from the game, but they certainly don’t add anything to the mix.
Because of the simplistic graphics, this game isn’t likely to stress your machine while running it. There wasn’t so much as a hiccup while I played. The only minor issue that came up was vaguely Mad Lib sounding dialog in a few places. I have to assume this is from the procedural generation of some of the story beats, but they did stand out and pulled me from the immersion the rest of the game provided so well. Conversely, the music does a wonderful job of evoking the feeling of a much larger game. While there are only a handful of tracks, all feel suitably epic and stirring for the story weaving itself in front of you. It’s honestly one of the few games I didn’t find myself muting the music after the first few rounds. If anything, I wished there was more of it so the same sounds didn’t continue to play, but it’s far from a deal-breaker.
Conclusion: Cut To The Chase
While there are a few minor gripes with the title, there is still an overwhelming amount of things to enjoy. The ability to build not only a story, but a legacy of characters that belong to you makes up for a lot. The replayability of a title like this is limited only by your own stamina to go “just one more cycle”. Even if the same story comes up, you can always choose to tackle it in a different manner, often leading to very different results. Any gamer who has a love for the pen and paper games where role-playing originated will find a lot to love here. I’d also like to note that the game does offer multiplayer co-op, unfortunately, it was not something I had the chance to experience myself. If you chose to do so, it does utilize Steam’s Share Play to make gaming with a buddy easy to set up. Whether you are going in with a buddy or taking the trip solo, it’s absolutely a trip worth taking for fans of the genre.
- Engaging story that’s rarely the same thing twice
- Your choices really do matter
- These characters grow to be uniquly yours
- The art style isn’t going to push any envelopes
- Some lines can feel a bit random