Farabel Reverses Turn-Based Battle Stories

I do not really have the patience for turn-based strategy. I like listening to Adam talk about it in the RPS treehouse and then I pretend that our shared employment means his victories and experiences are basically mine. Farabel [official site] sounds interesting, though, because it adds a strange layer of time travelling into the mix and makes you play from the end of the game backwards, decreasing your stats the further back in time you go.

This idea is that the difficulty curve increases because your advantages gradually get taken away from you as the game progresses. I’ve finished a couple of levels of the build I’ve got and after victories you get your character stats and have to remove points from them, making them more vulnerable in some way.

It still feels kind of weird and a bit wonky, because you’re there in the end battle and it’s necessarily straightforward because you’re learning rather than accomplished what with how time works in the real world. That meant I didn’t really have the sense of being at the end of a battle, just that I was taking a tutorial with slightly different flavour text. But the idea of the difficulty progressing because your character is levelling down instead of up fits the game idea, and the combat so far has this blocky, simplicity to it which means I haven’t bounced off it yet.

It’s out later today hence this seeming a decent time to mention why I’ve been playing it and that the ideas seemed interesting. It’ll be on Windows, Mac, and Linux through Steam, Itch, and Humble.


  1. wodin says:

    I’d have thought the game would then get less interesting and lack any sort of surprises. All you have to look forward to is less of everything and the game get harder..

  2. Neutrino says:

    For me it begs the rather obvious question.


    • aldo_14 says:

      I would guess the idea is to make a more obvious progression of difficulty than ‘normal’ games, where the incremental improvement of ability makes it easier later on. Whether or not that works – and whether removal of abilities is actually a disincentive to progress – is another thing though…

      • Yglorba says:

        But on the other hand, normal progression also allows games to slowly introduce complexity as the game proceeds (by giving you more abilities and more options.) Going backwards loses that.

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    FhnuZoag says:

    Fascinating. I’ve had many conversations over the years about whether a game like this would work. It’s great to see someone try it.

  4. jayfreck says:

    They should of took it one step further and had you going over to dead bodies, poking them with your sword so that they come back to life before running away

  5. podbaydoors says:

    *cough* WarCraft 3 Frozen Throne *cough*

  6. sneetch says:

    Is the final climatic battle someone in rags fighting against 4 rats in someone’s basement? Odd idea.

  7. neems says:

    This is the sort of discussion that tends to come up when talking about modern competitive shooters, where experienced players tend to accrue additional advantages over ‘noobs’. It’s a difficult problem to solve though, although this genre might be better equipped to pull it off.

    I’ve always been tempted by the idea of an fps game where you have to sacrifice options as you level up. The problem is that a lot of players (most?) in online shooters are more invested in the level progression / reward system than in the gameplay.

    • gnalvl says:

      Well that’s largely because “modern competitive shooters” with XP systems like COD and Battlefield are more for casuals to make themselves feel competitive than for true hardcore competitive play. There’s no weapon unlocks in Quake, nor even Squad for that matter.

      It speaks volumes that the most recent competitive shooter sensation, Overwatch, is considered an FPS MOBA in all but the mechanic of accruing XP and loot mid-match. Conversely, Paladins and Battleborn do retain those mechanics, and were essentially DOA.

      • gnalvl says:

        …Not to mention even in the top-down games, the no-XP approach of games like Battlerite is becoming very popular. IMO this is the wave of the future and I hope that 10-20 years from now we’ll all be laughing at an age where people actually tolerated the thinly-veiled primitive ponzi scheme of stat progression treadmills.

  8. gnalvl says:

    It’s a novel workaround, but a workaround none-the-less rather than a solution to the root problem; which is that stat progression is antithetical to strategy. It’s not strategy if you can just farm and grind till your units are powerful enough to mindlessly steamroll the battle; it’s why there’s no stats in Chess.

    Might And Magic: Clash of Heroes has a nice vs. mode where you can continually fight CPU opponents (and humans) on a completely even keel with no XP or stat tomfoolery of any kind. If the actual campaign battles had been set up this way, it’d have been quite nice (were it not for the fact that once you get the hang of the mechanics, the limitations of the AI become pretty obvious.)

    I go so far as to say that ALL TBS and SRPG campaigns would be improved in this manner; sure the campaign battles should change things up with different strategic challenges in the battlefield design, but you should be approaching every enemy in statistical-BS-free situation which puts the focus 100% on the decision-making rather than being marred by any kind of stat buffing, debuffing, farming, or grinding.