Othercide launched in late July. Is this worth your time?
Created by Lightbulb Crew, an indie game developer, Othercide follows the story of Mother in her battle against Suffering, who has corrupted The Chosen One. Drawing on the Gothic and Noir aesthetic, the game uses a mostly monochromatic gray-scale palette with red highlights scattered throughout making this TRPG a surprisingly pleasing visual experience.
The walkthrough is fairly simple to get through and gameplay thus far has been easy enough to understand. Mother sends forth her Daughters to act in her stead during combat. The three classes of Daughter are the Soulslinger, Shieldbearer, and Bladesmaster and each has its own set of upgrades that can be unlocked over time. Once the skills are set, there are no changes you can make, though players have options to birth additional Daughters to level in different ways. The combat and leveling are where it starts to get difficult.
The combat takes place during days in Recollections, where players collect Remembrances (bonuses) and shards (used for upgrades). The game uses an innovative timeline during combat that shows when an action is taking place and what actions have already occurred, allowing for a much more strategic and thought-out battle. This is how many of the battles against the bosses are best played – using the timeline to string together attacks and combos through your Daughters.
Attacks can delay enemy movement or some of your own attacks may take a turn to power up, so paying attention to the timeline becomes imperative to beating the enemies sent forth by The Chosen One.
Several of the more powerful attacks use the health of your Daughters to enact, but the trade-off is enormous in progressing through the game. It is much more tactical to take the health hit for some of the more damaging attacks than to take hits from enemies (which would almost always ensure a snowball effect of health-loss in the later Recollections). As you progress, you can also unlock Memories, which add buffs to your abilities in-game. These become crucial pieces to being able to beat bosses in later levels, so choosing which Memory to keep for each attack and character is also important to keep in mind.
Graveyard & sacrifices
Health may be the first issue that players encounter upon playing the game. There is no healing between battles and no potions that can be used. Instead, you can choose to make the heart-breaking decision to sacrifice a Daughter of equal or higher level to heal another. The healed Daughter will then keep one of the traits of the sacrificed Daughter. If a Daughter dies, you can resurrect them from the graveyard with tokens that found through gameplay, but they are far and few between.
The game is a hardcore game, so the likelihood of losing one or several Daughters is high. While this might seem bleak, this loss of your team actually ends up lending help to get you further through the game.
If you lose all of your Daughters, the Recollections will reset but the felled Daughters will still be available in the graveyard to resurrect if you have the tokens to do so. Your Remembrances will still be there for you to utilize. And you start with resources renewed so you can again begin to build your team back up. The repetition of this process can start to become frustrating and feel very reminiscent of grinding, especially once you’ve repeated the same day several times, but once the final boss in the Era is vanquished, it’s hard to beat the sense of pride and achievement.
I found myself entertained and frustrated through the majority of the gameplay. It plays like a beautiful game of chess. I found myself always getting pulled back even if I was dying often because I felt a need to work out the puzzle to advance. While the repetitive dialogue could become wearing, the gameplay itself was enough to distract from the phrases I was hearing over and over again. The hardcore level definitely added a new layer to the TRPG genre and the visuals made the game a pleasing dark experience. If you enjoy challenging and strategic gameplay, then Othercide is definitely a game for you to check out.
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