Othercide elegantly combines occult horror with turn-based tactics, and has a great sense of style

(Image credit: Lightbulb Crew)

Othercide is a turn-based tactics game set in a dark world full of occult horrors. An otherworldly force known as Suffering is encroaching on reality and as a supernatural warrior called Mother it's your duty to generate teams of combat-ready Daughters to defeat demon armies. The result is a cerebral tactics game with a beautifully bleak art style and a neat dynamic timeline system.

The timeline stretches the width of the bottom of your screen. Enemy activations and big attacks are marked by icons that slip and slide into different orders based on the abilities you use. A ranged-attack demon might ready a heavy shot that will take a set amount of time to activate. That encourages you to get an interrupt attack onto the timeline before the shot goes off.

If you want your Daughters to survive, you need to constantly manipulate the timeline to avoid special attacks and pile-ons. If you allow several enemies to activate unanswered in succession they can easily wipe out one of your characters. In Othercide that's a serious problem, because once Daughter dies, they are gone for good.

(Image credit: Lightbulb Crew)

I found myself doing a lot of chin scratching as I tried to shift the timeline to my advantage. Your Daughters take on class roles that you can develop by activating skills on their progression tree as they level up. Sword-wielding warriors provide a good line of defence, and you can spec them to favour area of effect attacks, or to take tough defensive stances. Gunglingers are good support, and they can fire twice if they don't move, which is great for taking out smaller demons. You also have 'shieldbearer' lancers that can move enemies around with their attacks.

Daughter abilities combo nicely toghether. A simple example: set a sword Daughter to autmatically attack enemies that come within melee range, then shunt an enemy into her area of attack to essentially get a free action. You can also spend all of your action points in a turn to get a lot done, but that automatically pushes that Daughter to the very end of the timeline, which is a risky place to be.

(Image credit: Lightbulb Crew)

Even the campaign runs to a timeline. Every day you can send one team of daughters on a mission. Though you can spend resources to create new Daughters, it's quite possible to fail a campaign, but the more you play the more passive benefits you unlock for future playthroughs. It feels like you're running a gauntlet structured around boss encounters. You run into a miniboss on day four, and something much worse on day seven. 

The unusual campaign structure, timeline system, melee focus and cool monochrome-and-crimson art style makes Othercide feel like a fresh tactics game in an increasingly crowded field. I confess I barely have a grasp on what's happening in the plot, but the Daughters are fun warriors to command.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.