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Pathway goes raiding for lost arks on April 11th

Indiana Jones-ish, Nazi-mashing tactical RPG Pathway is just over the horizon, launching next Thursday, April 11th. Developed by Robotality, it’s looking like a major step up over their debut tactics game Halfway. It appears to be a tantalising blend of FTL, Curious Expedition and cover-based, very XCOM squad combat – there’s exploration, bartering, party building and lots of RPG granularity, and five semi-procedural campaigns. It helps that it’s all wrapped in lush, well animated sprites and a very John Williams-inspired soundtrack. Check out the launch trailer below.

From what I’ve seen of Pathway so far (Robotality released a chunk of mostly-uncut footage last month), I’m intrigued by how much it leans towards being a party-based RPG while still borrowing a lot of FTL’s structure. Each of the five campaigns has several story objectives scattered across a large map, but players will have to juggle resources like ammo, fuel and money as they work through the event-filled map nodes. The multiple-choice vignettes you get along the way can also make stat checks, or offer special outcomes if you have a character with special skills in your party.

This being a modern-style pulp adventure, there’s just as much Nazi super-science at work as mystical artifacts. Space troopers and ‘Teslaborgs’ seem to be mixed in with the regular grunts, so there should be a good bit of enemy variety. The player’s party can be very variable as well, with each of the sixteen playable characters having a range of traits that can be used in and out of combat. A scientist might be able to decipher strange technology, and also be a dab hand with a ray-gun in combat, while a gentleman con-man might be great at haggling for deals and sniping.

Drawing inspiration from FTL, there’s a bit of roguelike in there as well, with a progression system. Players can unlock additional characters to pick from in future runs and bring back some loot with them if everything goes south. It sounds like an exciting blend of elements, and one I’m looking forward to trying soon. The only thing I could wish for (that isn’t listed as a feature, sadly) is a campaign editor, in the vein of Chucklefish stable-mate Wargroove. Still, five replayable campaigns sounds like a lot – we’ll find out just how much very soon.

Pathway launches next Thursday, April 11th. You can find it here on Steam, GOG or its official page and it’ll cost £13/€14/$16. It’s published by Chucklefish.

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Dominic Tarason

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