Hunting werewolves is dangerous business in Alder's Blood. For starters, they're flupping enormous fangorious man-dogs, which is bad enough. Second, they've got a great sense of smell, which isn't so great when your cadre of monster hunters (who look like they've just walked straight out of Bloodborne) haven't bathed in weeks. Stealth is order of the day here, giving this squad tactics game a very different feel from its peers.
Developed by Polish studio Shockwork Games, Alder's Blood has been in the works for a long time now. It's pretty far along in development and due out in the first quarter of 2020, but the developers are raising some extra funds to push it over the finish line in style. Their new Kickstarter is fully funded already (to the humble tune of $12,000), and now they've released a playable demo so that you can try it for yourself and decide whether you want to throw a few dollars at it.
There's some rough edges to the demo. There's the occasional bit of placeholder text, and the script hasn't been fully localised so expect some grammatical fumbles as English isn't the studio's native tongue. Beyond that, it's a nice three-mission-long peek at the game's interlocking systems, and great showcase for its dark comic-book style art, which reminds me a bit of Darkest Dungeon. A fair comparison, given how fragile your squad can feel when best laid plans fail.
In turn-based combat, you'll be hopping your hunters between patches of long grass, making sure they're downwind of anything with a good nose, and weighing up whether you want to use risky swords, noisy guns or exhausting ritual magic (fuelled by a vaguely Souls-esque stamina meter) to dispatch the prowling beasties. Between fights, you'll manage your nomadic hunter team and decide who's gathering food, resting or standing watch at camp each night.
You can download the demo on the Alder's Blood Kickstarter page. Grab it quick, as Shockwork say it'll only be available for "a limited period of time". The full game is due out early next year on Steam and GOG.
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The product of a wasted youth, wasted prime and getting into wasted middle age, Dominic Tarason is a freelance writer, occasional indie PR guy and professional techno-hermit seen in many strange corners of the internet and seldom in reality. Based deep in the Welsh hinterlands where no food delivery dares to go, videogames provide a gritty, realistic escape from the idyllic views and fresh country air. If you're looking for something new and potentially very weird to play, feel free to poke him on Twitter. He's almost sociable, most of the time.