Hand-drawn JRPG Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark meets Kickstarter goal, Early Access in March

The first thing you notice about Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is the hand-drawn maps, which are bright and colourful and generally gorgeous. The game is a tactical turn-based JRPG in which the story plays out as a series of cutscenes and battles on floating arenas. Enough people like the look of it that it's just passed its $40,000 Kickstarter goal, and an Early Access version is due in March.

It's inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, and the influence of those games is clear. You choose six characters and head into battle against a big bunch of enemies, and you have to take them out while exploring the maps for treasure and using the environment in your favour. You might want to try pushing kicking enemies off high ledges, for example. 

The idea is that the battles are difficult and some of your party will fall in combat. But they're not lost permanently XCOM-style—instead they're injured, which means they have to sit out the next few fights. "This avoids reload fests that might arise from making small mistakes in combat, while still maintaining a penalty for making said mistakes. It also encourages you to create more 'core units' than the basic 6 that can participate in combat at any one time," the developers say.

Managing your party is a big focus, too, with more than 20 classes (each of which has sub-classes), 200 abilities and 240 bits of gear, so there's tonnes of customisation and an emphasis on choosing the right characters for the fight at hand.

The story sounds like standard fantasy fare: it's a tale of corruption within an order that keeps the world safe from beasts, and in total the developers hope a playthrough will last at least 25 hours. 

Really, it's that art style that makes it stand out, and its success will probably hinge on how enjoyable the turn-based fights are. If you fancy finding out, there's a demo featuring the first two story battles on itch.io.

Here's a few gifs of it in action (click the full-screen icon in the top right):

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.