To say I’m not a fan of turn based games, is a bit of an understatement, I despise them, if I’m brutally honest. And yet I still find myself openly saying yes to review them, I must be mad!
What is Othercide?
Othercide is a turn based (you probably saw that coming) horror, strategy game from Lightbulb Crew, published by Focus Home Interactive.
In Othercide, weird theirs no ‘The’ at the beginning, but anyway, you play the part of The Mother. A warrior that has been around for thousands of years. There’s also a “Lost Child” that has caused The Mother to be trapped in Hell. Then there’s the Daughters, creatures created by The Mother to fight the Lost Childs evil creations; The forces of Suffering. If this is beginning to sound a bit confusing, you’re not alone. Othercide does have a story, however its crafted in a weird cryptic narrative, made up of sentences and messages read out by The Mother character. There is more story lore that enemies drop on destruction. These, however do little to help the story to really grab you. I found myself losing interest with the story, quite early on.
The game supposedly takes place in The City. A city that has placed itself into a lockdown fearing The Forces of Suffering. At least that’s my guess, again, the game is shy on story details. It’s quite hard to tell where the action takes place as the maps become very linear quite early on, to a point that I think I actually played the same map a couple of times during my playthrough. There’s nothing special about the maps at all. They’re all made up of bleak, black and grey landscapes, the occasional piece of gothic architecture, all in keeping with the game overall aesthetic. The game is mostly black, white and grey. With only accents of red in costumes, attacks and menu items, leading to game to have a very bleak look. But surprisingly it works. The game looks gorgeous.
The game plays out with you taking charge of The Daughters. These are separated into three separate classes;
Blademaster – Self-explanatory really, close range melee.
Shieldbreaker – Mob control, area of effect attacks.
Soulslinger – Your long-range damage dealer in the form of twin revolvers.
Scythedancer – Unlocked mid game, good for taking down armoured opponents.
You move your various Daughters around the field, as you’d expect in any turn-based game. Tile by tile, dealing damage to the enemies when you’re able. The interesting mechanic they’ve added to make movement and combat a little more interesting, is a dynamic timeline system. What this does is when you move or attack, you use up action points, the more you use, the more that character moves back on the timeline. If you end a turn with 50+ left, you can use that character again more quickly. If you blow the lot in a flurry of movement and attacks, the enemy can attack multiple times, before you can use that character again.
This mechanic is actually a really good way to manage your movements and actions, allowing that extra tactical element. You can manipulate this timeline as well, as class skills can delay monsters or even boost their position on the timeline.
The Daughters can level up as you use them and every five levels you can assign new skills to them. Additionally, to this, you can also pick up ‘Memories’ or mods. These can augment their skills, buffing various skills. I think the idea is to mix up your roster of Daughters, utilizing their skills in synergy. However, I never actually managed this, due to the game’s difficulty spikes, that really do come out of nowhere. This game is hard, couple it with the fact your Daughters don’t heal between rounds, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious frustration. You can sacrifice Daughters to heal others, but frankly even this mechanic became useless against relentless, OP enemies.
The only rest bite from this, is in the form of Recollections. This means when all you Daughters die or you get wiped by a boss or enemy, the campaign can be restarted. You may also do this at any point in time during your playthrough. If you have completed certain checkpoints e.g. Deal a certain amount of damage or kill a certain number of enemies you get Remembrances. These are perks that can increase XP or even allow you skip whole chapters you’ve played before. This can be REALLY handy later in the game.
Assuming you play smart, missions will become slogs that last 30 to 45 minutes that you’d want to avoid them entirely. In the end, regardless of certain mission types, your characters will probably be dead. If not, they’re beaten up so badly that you’ll need to level-up more Daughters just so they could be sacrificed for healing purposes. And that leads me neatly onto my conclusion.
Othercide, is hard to get used to. The overall progression is very slow and time-consuming. A failed run in Othercide feels like a waste of time. It takes a long time before you get the perks needed to complete early chapters or boss fights, and even longer to obtain abilities and skills that can really make a difference in battle (or maximize the combo system). As someone who dislikes tougher games, turn-based strategy titles, Othercide‘s combination of these mechanics leads to a presentation that’s more tedious and boring.
There is a silver lining, kind of. If you’re willing to put the time and effort into Othercide, the payoff can be quite rewarding. It took me a couple of restarts during the first chapter before I obtained everything, I needed, to actually feel powerful enough to carry on. I also had to restart at an earlier chapter to earn more XP and enable more perks. If you have that much patience, then Othercide might feel worthwhile. If not, then Othercide will annoy the hell out of you. I fall into that latter category.
I give Othercide – 6/10
I can see this being a hit. But not for me