Card activated Fae portals give humanity a fighting chance in this upcoming survival-crafting game

A circular portal with a giant N in the center, monsters littering the ground.
(Image credit: Inflexion Games)

If zipping through portals into the Fae Realm while wielding your gravity-defying umbrella sounds like your cup of tea, then Nightingale may well be the survival game for you. As yet another online co-op game complete with crafting and base-building elements, Nightingale has a lot to contend with. But from what we've seen so far, it looks like it could well be the magical, mythical, and just a little bit campy adventure we need in 2024. Think Valheim crossed with No Man's Sky, only everyone's wearing dapper garb, corsets and top-hats. Yep, that's Nightingale.

This game will see you and up to six of your pals traversing an alternate Earth in which, at the turn of the 20th century, humanity has been inexplicably cut off from itself. Torn apart in the face of a blight known as The Pale, we had scattered ourselves across the corners of the realms in order to escape our fate. But now that the portals have collapsed, humanity is left stranded and unable to come together. It's up to the players to put things right, all the while delving into the secrets of the lost city of Nightingale.

We've been hands-on with Nightingale, checking out how humanity pushed back against its impending demise with these Fae portals. It's clear that in such a messed up world, or more appropriately: messed up worlds, these portals are a magical lifeline. 

You've seen portals before in the likes of Valheim, but you haven't quite seen portals like this. Activated through the use of Realm Cards, which players — or Realmwalkers — combine to reveal their secrets, there's a procedurally generated biome behind every portal. Littered with creatures large and small, there's plenty to either enthrall you or destroy you behind each one.

From forest, to swamp, and even desert biomes, each stalwart excursion you undertake as a player is affected by the Major and Minor cards you apply to each realm. One card type changes the realm's difficulty rating, while others add intriguing modifiers that you can switch up on the fly using Realmic Transmuters scattered across the map. 

(Image credit: Inflexion Games)

Applying cards is sort of like designing your own Tarot spread to determine the kind of challenges you're about to face. It's certainly different, and will mean there's heaps of replayability.

Some of the videos go through the different realms and cards in a little more detail, but the main takeaway is that randomness like this means no two playthroughs will be quite the same. 

Canada-based Inflexion Games studio is made up of game devs we've seen previously working on the likes of Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Far Cry, so there's a pretty high bar for Nightingale. If our hands-on is anything to go by, the journey to the mythical city of Nightingale will certainly be one to remember. 

You can grab Nightingale for $29.99 or £24.99 when it releases on Steam from February 20th, so get wishlisting now and prepare to take on untold terrors while draped in late 19th century high fashion.