ON paper, Wildermyth is an incredibly ambitious RPG concept, aiming to combine the best parts of fantasy storytelling with the modern and slightly overused premise of procedural generation. It actually handles both of these incredibly well, primarily due to the great writing present throughout the entirety of the game, alongside it’s unique story-book art style used, that really compliments the overall theme laid out in front of you.
From the onset of the game, you dive into a fantasy world (either entirely randomly generated, or following a pre-set campaign) in which you control a group of (again either randomized or highly customized) of heroes with unique origin stories and classes, who have been launched on a path to adventure. It’s a classic class-based, fantasy RPG with a really refreshing aesthetic.
Gameplay within Wildermyth follows a series of micro-stories which shape the narrative direction of your characters and act as justification for fights that ensue. Across multiple chapters of your story, you’ll explore and fight your way across a strategic map as you rid the lands of monsters and bandits, while all-the-while; establishing bases of operations to fortify for impending assaults, or finding cultural sites to restore.
Every action you take or dialogue you engage in take matters and every side-quest you complete can impact the game world (or your characters). It’s a system built upon allowing you to create your own story, which ties in perfectly with the story-book theme showcased throughout. Combat is presented in the form of turn-based content, across randomized grid-based maps (similar presentation to something like Xcom with Wildermyth‘s unique artistic take on it all).
One aspect of the game Worldwalker Games did an extraordinary job with, would be in regards to visual design and art style direction, which really captivated me. It looks and feels exactly how any children’s film would visually present their retelling of a fantasy story, and I can’t quite place my finger on what nostalgic nerve this hits, but it certainly hits one.
All of this is further complimented by the score and soundtrack presented throughout, which match this ‘storybook adventure’ theme that’s heavily reinforced throughout everything the game throws at you.
The actual story-telling within Wildermyth is another aspect that needs to shown some serious praise – as it’s (from my experience) second-to-none and arguably the greatest aspect of the game. It’s one of the most unique RPG’s I’ve ever got my hands on, and really blew me away with how well a story could be constructed from procedural generation.
I was looking out for the odd quirk of obscurity that comes with most procedural generations, but during my experience, i couldn’t find anything that seemed too far out of place. Some of my characters had interesting dialogue moments or interactions with each-other that seemed a tiny bit out of place, but nothing that negatively impacted my experience.
Perhaps it’s the inner Dungeon Master in me, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about helping your randomized or highly customized heroes achieving their character-arcs in whatever means you desire them to do so. At every step in your journey, your characters will age, they can fall in love and change the fate of the world (for the better or the worse), all the while the landscape and complexity of the world you inhabit can change all the same.
Eventually, the bond you’ve slowly built with all of your heroes will be put to the ultimate test, as the inevitable chapter on one of your noble heroes will finally draw to a close. Wildermyth really gives you as much freedom as you could desire in this regard however, for when someone falls in battle, you decide on the severity of their failure.
A lost limb, permanent disfigurement, or the chance for another party member to throw themselves in front of their fallen ally, saving them both, but themselves significantly. Or, perhaps, like my beloved and honourable party leader Eugine, you take your final enemy down with you, to ensure they can’t harm any of your comrades. I really felt like I was co-authoring the entire story presented to me with the developers, and by the end of my first play-through, I felt I knew my characters inside and out which felt purely magical.
For anyone looking for an RPG with incredible writing, and story-book fantasy aesthetic to match, look no further than Wildermyth. I sincerely hope your adventures and stories are as memorable as mine.