Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

Released: 15 May 2019
Reviewed: 18 Apr 2020
Platform: PC

I'm so glad I picked this up, I enjoyed it way more than I was expecting. It's a tactical turn based RPG, which takes the form of missions you select from an overworld map. Your characters can level, although this only really opens more options rather than making them stronger. You can buy gear, re-play missions to get more gold to try other approaches, but it's not required to beat the game. The game is mercilessly hard, and the art style kind of disguises that. It looks beautiful and slightly cutesy, but it's one of the hardest tactical games I've played. Story is ok, but kind of weird in places. Great variety in abilities.

+ I really like the interface. Movement and action indicators, damage previews, reminding you when you'll be hit by an attack of opportunity, buttons, sound effects all make it easy to work out what you want to do
+ There's a couple of tools to help with the high difficulty - you can change skills and gear at any time and there's no hit percentage chances so you know exactly how much damage you'll do
+ Judging by the achievement you get for completing the game, only 11.5% have completed it on any difficulty
+ Being able to attack THEN move is really liberating after playing XCOM
+ You can summon a squadron of cute little lightbulb penguins to fight for you and they're super useful
+ McCree has a cameo as an extra summonable character (well, generic random cowboy)
+ It's by a Finnish developer!
+ The dialogue is brilliant

- Normal mode is mercilessly hard. 'Easy' in this game is about what I'd expect on 'Normal' in other games in the genre. Goodness knows what 'hard' mode is like
- In the first mission, which could be completed in 2 minutes - I spent half an hour trying to do the optional objective. When I eventually gave up and googled it, I discovered you can come back and do missions again later (when you have more abilities). Would have been useful to know that.
- Note to the devs: I'd consider removing / re-wording that padlock puzzle in the manor. Even after Googling it, people had vastly differing opinions on what the paintings meant. It's way too vague.

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