Blimey, there's lots of RPGs with turn-based tactical combat around lately, and Druidstone: The Secret Of The Menhir Forest (from Ctrl Alt Ninja, some of the folks behind Legend Of Grimrock) looks especially interesting. It's a story driven, party-scale isometric RPG with a focus on grid based combat, minus the statistical bloat common in the genre. The game was first announced back in April last year, although its final scope wasn't quite clear back then. Now it's set to launch in spring 2019, only a few months off. Take a peek at it in action in the trailer below.
When Druidstone was first announced, the plan was for it to have a procedurally generated world. That idea has been ditched, the developers stating that every mission is now hand-crafted and between 15 and 45 minutes long, although some of that will be spent on their trademark puzzles. Capitalising on the hand-crafted idea, the game will be released alongside a level editor, allowing players to create their own campaigns. Given the quality of stuff that came out of Grimrock's modding community, I'm very glad to see them providing the opportunity once more.
The trailer and screenshots don't give us a huge amount of info, but there's some interesting stuff there. The UI is clean and informative. When moused over, monsters give a clear and simple stat block (Damage, armour and speed listed), as well as a description of their special abilities. Much as I loved Divinity: Original Sin 2, half the challenge of any given fight was figuring out what everyone's deal was before you got too tied up with murdering them. The developers cite some board game influences, which should help for making custom scenarios, too.
Despite the Legend Of Grimrock games being brilliant (essential first-person dungeon crawlers, if you've not played them), developers Almost Human Games went their separate ways after the second game's launch. Druidstone's team - Ctrl Alt Ninja - sounds unforgivably like an early 2000s webcomic, but I'll forgive them as they've reassembled much of the old crew, including coder Petri Häkkinen and art director Juho Salila. Here's hoping they've still got some of that Grimrock spark for this new one, and also that they're tired of teleporter mazes - please.