Mums, eh? Can’t live with ‘em, literally can’t live without ‘em. Sadly, some take this as a certificate of ownership, allowing them to subject their offspring to the worst things imaginable, like offering them as a guinea pig to a class of trainee hairdressers. A perfect storm of nerves and scissors. Sorry, I should probably keep this for therapy. The point I’m getting to (ignoring the ones jammed into my 11-year-old head) is that whatever their faults, no mother has anything on Othercide’s matriarch, birthing an army of warrior daughters to fight a flood of meat monsters. No thermal spa voucher for her next Christmas.
Othercide is a tactics game that I’ve seen on posters at numerous games gatherings, but only got to play days before release. Not normally a good sign; people don’t hide things away because they’re too good. Having now explored its monochrome murderscapes I’m not sure why it wasn’t more heralded: I have issues with some wonky roguelite elements, sure, but there’s plenty of novelty to celebrate here, too. All explained in more detail - and with some shiny, if drab, moving pictures - in this video chat. Please do watch:
So: Othercide is like the Beach Boys. Yes, that seems nice and clear.
Baffling similes aside, there is a lot to like here. Namely its ‘Dynamic Timeline System’ which is Lightbulb Crew-speak for ‘biff enemies around the turn order’. Controlling the flow of fights is a bigger factor in Othercide’s turn-based tactics than controlling the space. For starters, your army of sisters are easily exhausted, which pushes them dangerously deep into the turn order. But there are also powerful moves with dramatic wind-ups that require a suitable window of opportunity, or one to be made by accelerating or decelerating friends and foes respectively.
But on top of this is permadeath and a world designed to push you into it quicker than most. Health doesn’t regenerate without sacrificing another hero, forcing you to germinate and fatten up sacrificial daughters, which must make family gatherings a bit awks. Your powerful reaction moves - think XCOM's overwatch - are also fuelled by blood, so each run feels like an inevitable trudge towards the grave. At which point you get a fresh batch of sisters and a chance to resurrect proven warriors if you can collect a mystical doodad.
This is all good. Where it stumbles is in the punishing difficulty spikes of the bosses, a hike in challenge that all but forces you to rely on a handful of resurrected brutes that you are grinding up through subsequent runs. Runs that become increasingly dull as A) you are not getting to play with new daughter variations, and B) the common missions are now much too easy for your monstrous offspring. Throw in a limited monster pool and a relatively simple skill tree and Othercide has all the repetition of a roguelite, but none of the exciting variables.
If, somehow, you still have questions after watching the video, I’ll happily answer them in the comments. And if you enjoyed this video, why not sample the RPS Video Department’s other wares, by subscribing to the channel here.
Othercide is out now and available on Steam.