If you’re fed up of typical dungeon drubbing, Iron Danger is worth a look. It’s an RPG with real-time-tactics combat, a la Shadow Tactics, except you’re more likely to throw a fireball at a goblin than stealthstab a samurai. That’s interesting enough, but the real twist is your ability to turn back time. It’s an RPG where you can never die, and it’s out right now. I’ve had a little go, and I am confused but intrigued.
My first thought was “ooh!”. My second thought was “hmm, how different is that really to using quick saves?”. My third thought, now I’ve tried it, is “oh, it’s completely different”. The time twiddling is baked into how you play. You don’t just block attacks: you let them happen, then wind back time and place a block marker at the appropriate point on the timeline. Here, maybe video will help.
Plot wise, you’ve got humans rebelling against gods, witch queens marching, forgotten powers awakening… you know the drill. You’re a village girl imbued with time magic who gets sucked into a war.
I’m here for the combat. It’s built around experimentation, and so developers Action Squad Studios are free to pit you against enemies that will squish you unless you make exactly the right moves. They call it “puzzle-like”, and talk up how you can “continuously keep trying new approaches to turn impossible odds to your advantage”.
There are environmental conditions to think about, too, which remind me of Divinity: Original Sin. “Maybe you will set an enemy on fire and kick them into a grain field for a proper barbeque,” Action Squad say, “or set up a trap and fell a tree on top of them.” Maybe I will, Action Squad! Maybe I will.
For now I’m still floundering about with exactly how attack timing works. It’s definitely confusing at first, but I feel like clarity is only half an hour or so away. There is promise here. Thank God there are only two people in your party, though, because the number of buttons on show is already intimidating.
If you’re interested in real-time-tactics dungeon crawling but could do without this rewinding nonsense, John (RPS in peace) was really into Tower Of Time. It’s “a superb mix of easy-going exploration and smart-but-possible combat mechanics”, according to his Tower Of Time review.