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Play sneaky tactics game Alder's Blood's free prologue

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Things are looking a bit grim for the desperate humans of Alder's Blood. They killed god and now monsters are taking over. That's where the Hunters come in, with their snazzy hats and their penchant for stabbing werewolves and ghouls in turn-based battles. It's coming soon, but first you can play a brief prologue

While there's a dash of combat in this two-mission introduction, the focus is really on stealth. Instead of the Hunters you'll be playing in the main game, the prologue stars a down-on-his-luck bloke named Charles. He's trying to keep his head above water by selling of monster parts, but finds himself in a bit of trouble. 

It's a bite-sized taste of the world, which quickly introduces the Hunters and a few of the grotesque beasties that want to make you their dinner. There are hints of Banner Saga, both in the art and focus on storytelling, though the gothic horror also calls to mind the likes of Darkest Dungeon and, further afield, Bloodborne. 

Shockwork Games is throwing a lot of things into the mix: it's a turn-based tactical stealth game with RPG elements, crafting, resource gathering, management and exploration. Most of that's being saved for the main game, however, leaving the prologue with a lot of hiding but not much else. 

Hopefully the hunters will have more interesting ways to sneak around, because as Charles it's a pretty boilerplate stealth system. If you need to get past a monster, you've got to get out of their line of sight, either by hiding behind objects or in the tall grass, or by throwing a pebble to distract them. 

The world and teased management stuff have piqued my interest, though, and it's definitely got tonnes of style. I guess I'm just a bit bored of throwing rocks and hiding in tall grass. Back when he took the demo for a spin last year, Dominic Tarason mentioned monsters trying to sniff him out, and apparently Hunters will need to watch how the wind is blowing—that wasn't very evident in the prologue, but it sounds like it could shake up the stealth a bit. 

Alder's Blood: Prologue is available now on Itch.io and February 12 on Steam.

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.