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Othercide

If it's a video game it goes here.

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Paradroid
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Othercide

Post by Paradroid »

Othercide launched yesterday on Steam. It's a stylised gothic horror-themed turn-based tactical combat game with roguelike elements. In other words, there's no strategy layer at all; the game consists entirely of turn-based battles with what seems to be a slowly-revealed narrative loosely chaining them together.

I haven't played it much yet so the Steam page will probably be more revealing than my initial impressions but here they are for what they're worth. Firstly the game is gorgeous and was half the reason I was drawn to it in the first place. I almost didn't buy it after discovering there's no strategy layer, but what the devs didn't put into strategy, they seem to have absolutely poured into the tactical battles. There's a load of skills and traits and stuff that you can equip your characters (Daughters) with as they win victories, and in true roguelike fashion when a run is ended you will start from a better position next time. The battles have had a lot of thought put into them. Skills seem, for now at least, to be pretty well balanced and there's plenty to think about. Even seemingly simple battles have me pondering every move very carefully. The rules of the battles are strictly and plainly laid out so there isn't much room for luck to intervene. You can even see not only the initiative timeline for all fighters on the field, but also where a "delayed action" would trigger. Failure is generally your own fault.

You even have agonising choices to make between battles. You can only use a Daughter once per day, for example. And from what I gather Daughters can be sacrificed in order to make way for more powerful Daughters or traits down the line. In fact, sacrifice is a pretty strong theme in the game - many skills use a percentage of hit points in return for greater bonuses, for example. It seems like the metagame revolving around sacrificing and "germinating" Daughters in anticipation of future battles will be almost as big a part of the whole as the battles.

From looking at the Codex it looks like there's a pretty large array of monsters to fight, and plenty of mysteries to discover. The soundtrack is suitably atmospheric and the dialogue, though rare, is very well done (I'm positive one of the ladies who did some Advent voices in Sins of a Solar Empire worked on this game).

I haven't played much yet as I said earlier, but I'm already pleased with my purchase, especially as it's in support of a young and little-known developer. It's got its claws in me and already, after my first session, I find myself thinking about it in the real world and considering how I could've fought certain battles differently etc.
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Paradroid
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Re: Othercide

Post by Paradroid »

Has this forum become more jaded over the years or something? Back in the day there were loads of people who would've been all over this.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Paingod »

Paradroid wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:45 am
Has this forum become more jaded over the years or something? Back in the day there were loads of people who would've been all over this.
Quite likely.

I didn't notice the original post. I'll admit it's an interesting looking game and it sounds like it's got some new mechanics to separate it from XCOM... I'm just not in the market for new games right now. Having a Switch, though, I may add this to it when it comes out for that. "Lite" titles work well there for me.
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Re: Othercide

Post by LawBeefaroni »

Looks great. Unfortunately I have no idea when I'll have time to play. Most of my very limited game time is with the kids or just idling while voice chatting with friends. Delving into a rich SP game is a luxury I don't have right now.

I'll buy it like most others, as a reward to the devs for making a game that looks interesting but that I'll probably never get to play.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Skinypupy »

It's on my wishlist, which means I'll probably pick it up sometime in next year's Steam sale at a deep discount.

Looks pretty neat, but I've got too much in my backlog already.
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Re: Othercide

Post by TheMix »

Skinypupy wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:48 am
It's on my wishlist, which means I'll probably pick it up sometime in next year's Steam sale at a deep discount.

Looks pretty neat, but I've got too much in my backlog already.
This. Except it'll probably be several years away. I have so many games on my Wishlist. I've forgotten what half of them are.
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Re: Othercide

Post by dbt1949 »

For the last twenty years I've been looking for X-Com types games and now have at least a twenty and a dozen I haven't even played yet. Now I want strategy and not so much tactical games. Civ 6.
Plus the graphics look pretty dark.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Blackhawk »

I'm in the same boat as others. I have so many games backlogged, and money is tight so new releases aren't really a thing for me very often. It looks good, and it looks like it may be something I'd like, but that just puts it on my mental 'check later' list these days.
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Re: Othercide

Post by coopasonic »

Paradroid wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:45 am
Has this forum become more jaded over the years or something? Back in the day there were loads of people who would've been all over this.
Buy it for me and I will check it out! :D I'm one of the turn based tactical nuts waiting for the next XCOM so it *should* be right up my alley. I wishlisted it but the last game in this genre I bought off my wishlist was a disappointment so I am not super motivated. Also no strategic layer takes it down a couple notches for me.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Paingod »

coopasonic wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:32 pm
Also no strategic layer takes it down a couple notches for me.
This is part of why I relegated it as a "lite" title, and why it might work better for my Switch than my PC. Honestly, the lower a game's complexity at this point, the lower my overall interest is.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Little Raven »

I picked it up and dropped a few hours into it tonight.

Short story: I like it - a lot.

Longer story - So, I thought this would be like XCOM. It isn't, really. I mean, the basic setup is kind of XCOM like but the gameplay itself is very different. XCOM is about slowly and carefully moving through a map, clearing it safely. That's...not what you do in Othercide. Othercide is about moving around very dynamically, and setting up combos with your daughters abilities. It is VERY fun and you feel like an absolute badass when everything goes right. But there's no save scumming and no healing your daughters without sacrificing another....so every mistake HURTS. You really want to think about how everything is going to play out before you move. That said, the game gives you everything you need to make the right choice. Enemies have very clearly defined behavior that you can anticipate (at least so far) and it has a handy bar at the bottom that shows you in great detail exactly in what order everything is going to play out. So every mistake is truly on you. The graphics are good, the animations are excellent, and the mood and sound design are right on the money....though the atmosphere is a bit....dark....as you might expect.

I'll give more thoughts after some more playtime, but as of right now, I'm a very satisfied buyer.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Paradroid »

Little Raven summed it up well. Everything's on you, and every mistake does indeed hurt. Even deciding how many action points to use is a head-scratcher; if a Daughter uses more than half of her available AP, she has to wait an extra 50 units before taking her next turn, which can be absolutely devastating. A lot of anxiety in each battle comes from fretting over the timeline. Fantastically, if you hover over any action before committing to it, the timeline will show you a ghost of where each fighter will be along it as a result.

You know what this reminds me of? Frozen Synapse. Anyone remember that? What I loved about that game was that nothing was left to chance; there was a set of rules and you knew with certainty what the results of your actions would be. If you were beaten, it was purely because your opponent planned better than you did. Othercide is like that because you can clearly see what every action will cost, how much time it will take up, and if you take the time to read the codex it even tells you exactly what each enemy's attack pattern will be. If you dive deep into the mechanics you will be well rewarded; a seemingly unwinnable fight can turn into a stunning victory if you think carefully enough about it.
coopasonic wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:32 pm
Also no strategic layer takes it down a couple notches for me.
That's the only reason I hesitated before clicking buy. In retrospect, I have no idea why. If I'm being honest with myself I actually hate the strategy layer in XCOM for two reasons. First, the combat is a lot more fun and it's what I was always looking forward to. Secondly, I hated that no matter how good I was at the combat, I could still lose due to poor strategic decisions. In Othercide I don't miss the strategy layer in the slightest.

What Othercide is:
- A tight, laser-focused tactical combat experience
- Fair. You have all the information you need to win, and 99.9% of losses are your own fault
- Roguelite. You will lose. But you'll always come back stronger due to bonuses and stuff that you pick up in the course of a run
- Dark. The story is vaguely Lovecraftian and the monsters you fight have a distinctly Eldritch look to them

What Othercide is not:

- XCOM :)
- Easy. Although while the difficulty curve seems more like a cliff to begin with, it gets easier if you're prepared to really think and plan ahead (and read the information)

The bottom line is this is purely a tactical combat game with a gothic flavour that seems on the surface to be simpler than it really is. In my opinion it's extremely engaging, challenging and rewarding - but also completely fair. It absolutely exemplifies the agony of decision, both within and without the combat scenes.

I guess £30 might seem steep for an indie game, but for what it's worth, I don't regret a penny.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Blackhawk »

That actually makes me hesitate. I'm not someone who enjoys punishing games and high difficulty, but I'm someone who enjoys tactical turn based games. Unfortunately, all of the tactical turn based games lately seem to cater to the punishing difficulty fanbase. I've actually bounced hard off of XCom 2 four times now, as I like tactical/strategic games, but it is more of a puzzle game.
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Re: Othercide

Post by Little Raven »

Blackhawk wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:02 am
I'm not someone who enjoys punishing games and high difficulty, but I'm someone who enjoys tactical turn based games.
Did you ever play Rogue Legacy? There are elements of that in here. Yes, the game is hard, in that mistakes are punishing and the developers clearly did not intend for you to win your first playthrough outright. That said, unlike say, XCOM, the game doesn't end if you something goes disastrously wrong and you lose...you merely reset the "recollection." (which is basically a level, which is a collection of 7 "days" where you can do stuff with a boss fight at the end)

When you reset, you restart...BUT you can now use "shards" that you collected in your failed run through to upgrade your daughters - making them faster, stronger, more resilient. You then play the level again with your stronger daughters, where you either win or end up resetting again...getting stronger each time. So you can't save-scum, but you also don't have to. There's no way to mess up so badly that you hose your game.

From my limited play-time, I'm guessing that if you REALLY knew what you were doing, you could win without ever having to reset. But of course, much of the fun of the game is learning how to setup killer combos and such, so most of us mere mortals will end up repeating a recollection a few times. But that's fine. Maps in Othercide play much, MUCH faster than maps in XCOM...you can do an entire recollection in less time than some of the big XCOM maps would take.

This is not like Dark Souls, where the difficulty is the point. The game will keep you on your toes, but it's not trying to make you cry.
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