ReviewsReview: Othercide

Review: Othercide

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No matter how perfect your life is, at one point you will have to sacrifice something. Whether it be for your benefit or the benefit of others, it will be a tough experience that will stick in your mind forever. Othercide tells the tale of the ultimate sacrifice, good Vs evil, and losing loved ones.

Developed by Lightbulb Crew and published by Focus Home Interactive. Othercide is a turn-based strategy game with rogue-like elements. This mainly monochromatic experience is not for the faint of heart. You must plan every move, seek your enemies weaknesses, and be prepared to lose it all.

Othercide teaches you that loss isn’t the end.

Rogue-like titles have grown on me in the last couple of years. From detesting the thought of them to relishing the challenge. I finally understand why gamers enjoy the tough but enjoyable gameplay. Othercide is a different beast altogether! Its use of the rogue-like genre feels like you are being kicked in the balls. Everything that you have worked towards and the progress you have made gets wiped the moment an error is made. It’s heartbreaking and it’ll make you angry. Yet, this harsh approach is addictive and rewarding.

Set is an alien place known as The Inner Void. You are assisted by a mysterious being known as the Red Mother. This powerful entity births your army of Daughters. These weapon-wielding warriors work together to eliminate the evil master known as the Suffering. With four bosses and the master to defeat, you have a tough task on your hands. Death is guaranteed and is a key component of the gameplay. You may look at this as a failure, but in reality, it allows you to learn from your errors and come back stronger.

Make your move!

Perfect planning and puzzling bosses.

Unlike other titles in the genre, going out all guns blazing will not work. Othercide requires; patience, an understanding of your foes, and knowing when to stop, in order to be victorious. Each character is allocated 100 Action Points (AP) at the start of a turn. The more you use, the longer you must wait to be ready. This timescale is shown using a timeline in the lower portion of the screen. You will see in real-time how your plan impacts you and your enemies. You must decide when to hold off, and when to finish each foe, and this decision is easier said than done. Mistakes are hard to recover from, and when your team loses health, you know there are consequences.

Alongside the constant requirement to plan, you soon note that each boss fight is unique and brutally difficult. Each one has its own array of minions that slow you down and ruin your approach. It isn’t a case of slashing away until you are victorious. No, it’s a conundrum that must be solved, and you accept that you’ll fail to defeat each one numerous times before you find the correct solution.

The Red Mother and Elton John both know the pain of sacrifice.

The Daughters use; swords, shields, or pistols as their weapons of choice. These battling maidens can only face one fight per day before they need to sleep. Each day comprises missions known as a Synapse and these are broken down into three objectives; Rescue, Hunt, or Survival. During each battle, you may use any combination of fighters to make up your party. You will face the many horrendous beasts that the Suffering sends your way, and you must defeat them all to win. Once you are successful, you can level up your team, reap your rewards, and plan for your next outing. However, what you cannot do is heal your team in the traditional sense!

The Red Mother may have given birth to these girls, and they may have killed countless foes on the battlefield, but to keep your team healthy, you have a difficult decision ahead of you. You must sacrifice an equal or higher levelled Daughter to heal up another. Your heart will weigh heavy, and you’ll hate doing it, but remember death strengthens you. The healed warrior will be imparted with an element of the sacrificed child, they will gain skills so their loss is not in vain.

The ultimate sacrifice.

It’s all about the resources.

You will use these new powerhouses to continue your winning streak, and the success in battle will reward you with resources. You will earn Shards, Vitae, and Resurrection Tokens. Each plays a pivotal part in making your team as strong as possible. Vitae is used to create more Daughters, without it you are likely to fail, and a new Remembrance (playthrough) will begin. The Shards allow you bonuses at the start of each attempt, these vary from health and melee boosts, to extra resources. They reduce the difficulty of the game considerably and are a useful tool to overcome the most stubborn of situations. Resurrection Tokens are the hardest element to come by. They bring Daughters back from the cemetery and can allow you to be reconciled with your best warriors from previous run-throughs.

Othercide is a beautifully gothic game.

The subject of fear and loss is emphasised fantastically with the dark gothic style. A monochromatic palette is mixed with splashes of vivid red colour. This dramatic look combined with the stylised cutscenes makes it a great game to play. The bird’s-eye perspective gives you a clear view over the battlefield, and the variety of monsters that you encounter were both weird and wonderful to look at. My only complaint is aimed at the repetitive nature of the level design. Each stage has a distinct Deja Vu notion, and this wasn’t helped by the many playthroughs you must experience to make it to the end game.

The disturbing atmosphere was enhanced further by the creepy audio. Using echoing footsteps and the howling wind made you feel uneasy. Mix in the murderous narration and deep and sinister voiceover work, and you have the recipe for an eerie game. The sound effects then took it one step further. Crunching sounds blared out as bones were destroyed and the bullets roared as they were shot from each gun. It was brilliantly simple in design, and I loved every horrendous minute of it.

The battlefield is a dank place to reside.

It appears more complex than it is.

I’ve played turn-based strategy games for as long as I can remember. Yet, I worry whenever I start a new one. Learning all the mechanics, the control system, and the different strategic approaches, can overwhelm you. As I loaded into my first twenty minutes, I thought my worst nightmare had come true. An information dump made the game feel overly complicated. Yet, in reality, it’s one of the easiest turn-based games to get to grips with. The control setup works perfectly for console gaming. A clean-cut UI keeps the screen from becoming cluttered, and the repetitive nature of the gameplay ensures that you quickly get to grips with it.

Othercide is an addictive game that’ll keep you playing for hours, if not days. The rogue-like elements will drive you mad, and make you want to scream, but it will demand that you want to try it just one more time. A challenging achievement list will force you to perfect your approach, and master each element of the title. Once you play this, you will forget every other game until you defeat the Suffering.

Othercide is dark, difficult, and fantastic.

The turn-based genre is difficult to crack. With many much-loved titles, you have to do something special to be noticed. Othercide has done that with its wonderfully dark gothic style, atmospheric audio, and easy-to-use control system. I loved my time with it, and recommend you buy it here! Defeating evil would never be easy, but sacrificing everything to be victorious is a big ask. The Red Mother will give everything to overcome the Suffering, but will you?

SUMMARY

Othercide is a fantastic turn-based strategy game with rogue-like elements. Plan your approach, defeat each monster, and take down the Suffering. Sacrifice your Daughters for the greater good, and remember that death isn't the end.

+ Fantastic gothic art style.
+ Eerie and atmospheric audio.
+ Easy to use controls.
+ Tough, yet addictive.
+ Plenty of replay value.
- The level design is repetitive.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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