This is a short review of a tactical turn-based RPG called Alder’s Blood. The game will be released in the first quarter of the year 2020, but I managed to get my hands on it a bit earlier. Here you control several hunters who are traveling the grim world where nature stood against humanity and repelled the civilization. The main thing which stands out this game from a similar crowd is the used mechanics. Monsters here can not only see you but also hear and smell.
Every hunter you control has a trail of smell stretching far away from the character. If that smell line touches the monster – it will detect you and after that you’ll probably die. So you have to plan your path really carefully, and try to not disturb the monsters with your terrible smell. And speaking about that, this game shows you the importance of showering. Take a look at this long smell trail one hunter leaves comparing with the others. Oh you dirty dirty boy. And no, sadly you can’t shower in this game, but that would make sense, right? So, all you do here is sneak and from time to time stealth kills some weaker animal. Sometimes, no matter what you do, monsters still notice you, because it’s really hard to stay out of sight. For example a monster can be hiding behind the log or bushes and you can’t see it. So, you move and unexpectedly encounter the enemy.
Anyway, the game is very intense. For example one time I alerted the shrieker, but still had time to move my hunters a little bit. I took them as far away as possible and pressed the “End turn” button just to see how one of those shriekers enters the bushes where my hunters were hiding and only by a lucky chance didn’t spot any of them. Take a look. Holy moly guacamole, that was intense! See, luck is playing a huge part in this game. For example, your smell trails can change direction every turn if a map is windy, so even if you planned everything in advance you can still run into problems.
The game is very hard. Your hunters are weak and all they can do is to kill a poor shrieker from behind. Any other encounter usually results in death. And that’s how this game works, it’s a stealth game after all. If you step into the monster’s sightline – you will probably be immediately attacked, but I have to say, it’s very hard to notice those sightlines. You have to carefully plan your way, tiles one by one and watch for the red sightline, also you have to predict how long your smell line is, so after you move a bit, it won’t touch any of the monsters around.
If I had to compare this game with something it would be a defusing of a bomb. Literally, this whole game felt like I’m cutting the wires of huge explosives. One misclick, one misstep and you’re soo dead. Like really dead, some monsters are overpowered. Look at this. My hunter has 75 hitpoints out of 100. You might think it’s enough to not die from the first hit, but take a look at this. Whoosh, dead. Well, not exactly dead, you have 3 turns to save him.
You have to reach the corpse with another hunter and revive it, otherwise, your hunter is gone for good. Like totally gone. And how am I supposed to save him? Look at this nice gathering of cute animals that will rip your guts apart. All you have to do here, is to plan everything in advance, so you can avoid situations like that. So, prepare for multiple reloads. Anyway, when you finally crack one map or another, you can feel huge satisfaction, so the hardness of this game is not a bad thing. The game also has a story, but it’s been told with text between the missions.
At first I tried to read, but later I just wanted to dive into the action part of the game, so I just skipped everything. I know that I’m making a review, but I especially try to play the game in a most possible casual way, so I could tell the realistic side of it. Also, between the missions you can upgrade your hunters, change their appearance a bit, craft weapons, scavenge, sleep to restore health, and so on. If you sleep you consume 20 food, so you have to buy or find more.
All this micromanagement is cool, but in my opinion totally unnecessary – the game could’ve been as good as it is without all that between mission stuff. Let me ask myself an important question. Do I recommend this game? YES, if you’re patient, if you like to think a lot and to plan your journey in advance. Also if you work with bombs in your real life. And NO if you just like to shoot things, have no patience, and think that chess is the most boring game ever created.
The reason I like this game is because of its wonderful atmosphere and music, which somehow reminded me of a Blade Runner movie. I just love those movies. Both of them. Also Alder’s Blood has a wonderful art style and very cool monsters. And now I will leave you with my gameplay of one mission. When you sleep amidst game you can be ambushed and this is how this ambush looks like.