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Bleak British card-battler Ancient Enemy is out today

In a way, I don’t blame the fallen wizard antagonising the world of deckbuilding RPG Ancient Enemy. I’m sure I’d be fairly high-strung too if I’d slept in for a few hundred years. Well, the alarm bell’s finally rung. It’s time for the sleepy sod to get up and start facing an army of card-wielding warriors – Ancient Enemy takes the fight to Steam today.

Can’t say I have any enemies myself. None that aren’t vague concepts like “masculinity” or “the pressing threat of mortality” or “mushrooms”, anyway.

Ancient Enemy is a deckbuilding RPG from Grey Alien Games “in the spirit of masterpieces such as Darkest Dungeon and Slay The Spire”. Romp around ancient Britain, building up ridiculous spells to batter monsters and ancient wizards, that sorta stuff.

It’s very much in line with the developers’ previous work, Shadowhand and Regency Solitaire. For some, that might start ringing alarm bells.

See, Brendy decisively did not gel with the costume-drama highway robbery of Shadowhand. And at first, Ancient Enemy doesn’t look too different, with its smattering of deck-driven 1v1 duels. This time though, the devs have taken a leaf out of Slay The Spire‘s book by letting you know up-front what an opponent is going to do next – something our own mechanic Alex Wiltshire covered in depth..

It’s a kind of foreknowledge that lets you make more informed plays and strategies. Combined with faster showdowns, developer Jake Birkett hopes to finally refine a style of play the team’s been dabbling in for a long time, tweeting “the idea is to iterate on what was successful about last two games to hit the market more squarely with this one”

Ancient Enemy’s endearingly grim British-ness is being penned by Jim Rossignol – a name you might know from founding this here videogame website or (more importantly) his work on bleak robot sandbox The Signal From Tölva. It’s all been wonderfully rendered by Dundee-based artist Jen Pattinson, lending some moody Scottish tones to toss cards across. Lovely.

Ancient Enemy is out now on Steam with a 15% launch discount for £9.68/€10.61/$12.74.

Disclosure: A whopping great disclosure for Jim Rossignol, being one of the blokes wot founded RPS.

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Natalie Clayton

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Writes news when everyone else is asleep, sometimes

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