According to the game’s website, Wildermyth is a character-driven, procedurally-generated tactical RPG, designed to help you tell your wildest stories.
Now, what does that mean?
The last part if pretty clear, but what about the rest?
Basically, you start out with a band of random characters, then they go on adventures, random things happen, and out of that, a story takes shape. The game ships with a handful of campaigns, and these all come with a story of their own, but that’s not where the magic happens.
Instead, the real charm of the game comes from the random events you encounter throughout the campaigns. These individual events tell little story snippets of their own, and they often come with a choice of some kind. These choices matter. The game remembers, and the choices you make can have an impact on your characters in future events.
It’s not super complicated, but it’s enough to give your characters a little bit of life. It transforms them from a collection of combat stats into people with a history. Even if I know that the characters are randomly generated, and that the events happen at random, my characters still grow on me. They have friends, and they crack stupid jokes, and one of them is slowly turning into a walking flame.
Such is the power of stories.
Such is the power of the human mind.
It’s fascinating and inspiring, and one day I hope to sit down and begin creating my own campaigns and events for the game. The tools the developers use for creating campaigns and events are shipped with the game, and there are tutorials and guides on the game’s Steam Community page. I’ll get to it, one day, I just need to…
Also, there’s the tactical RPG aspect, which is neat too. If you’ve played X-Com, it’s similar to that, except you don’t always miss all the 99% chance to hit shots. Really, though, it’s the story aspect that has me excited.
What I’ll whine about:
There’s been a few times I’ve played that I’ve ended up in a spot where my remaining heroes are too weak to defeat the enemies I’m up against, and I’ve not found a way to abandon the campaign other than to throw myself at an unbeatable mission and fail. That said, the game is still in early access and I’m sure it’ll get addressed eventually – or it’s just me who never figured out how to do it.
After playing a while, I began to recognize the events I encountered, and often, they weren’t as interesting the third or fourth time around. Hopefully, this is something that’ll be less of an issue once the game’s modding community grows.
What I’ll gush about:
Character development. Like I mentioned earlier, the stories the characters live through become part of them and shape who they are. In the same way, the characters grow visibly older the longer you play. Their faces become wrinkled, and their hair turns grey and white, and this just heightens the feeling of being on an adventure with old friends.
Eventually, the characters grow too old for adventuring and retire. Sometimes, their offspring shows up to take their place, and sometimes, you recruit fresh new adventurers from villages you pass by. Some characters will hook up with each other, and you’ll end up with a whole family in your party.
Legacy heroes. Your characters will grow old and retired, but their legacy lives on. Specifically, you can save your old retired heroes and bring them back again when launching a new campaign, taking their stories even further.
Modding tools. I’ve still only scratched the surface of this. You can create your own campaign with just a few clicks. Sure, it will be completely generic, but it’s there. I tried it, and I played it, and it worked. I even created a short intro sequence to explain what the story was about.
I see so much possibility for so much awesome storytelling in this game.
If you’ve ever doubted how important characters are for a story, this game will set you straight. For the rest of you, just play it anyway, it’s awesome.