Need to know

What is it? Roguelike turn based tactics game about death and failure
Expect to pay $35/£30
Developer Lightbulb Crew
Publisher Focus Home Interactive
Reviewed on Intel i5, 16gb RAM, Nvidia GTX 1660
Multiplayer? No
Link Official site

“You will fight, you will fail, you will rise again.” This is Othercide’s motto, and it deserves credit for sticking to the bit. It doesn’t just say it’s about a hopeless war against encouraging darkness, it commits to the theme. Othercide mixes turn-based tactical combat with the repetition and incremental progress of roguelikes. It takes the threat of losing your best soldier from XCOM and makes that threat a certainty. You will lose, and then you will try again.

You are The Mother, some sort of eldritch being fighting against Suffering, with a capital S, to protect The Child, using resurrected soldiers called The Daughters. Other extremely capitalised nouns also feature heavily. It’s not a style of writing I’m usually a fan of, but big and abstract suits Othercide very well. It doesn’t really need to define its terms—what matters is atmosphere, and this game is dripping with it.

The doom and gloom atmosphere isn’t just confined to the striking black and white visuals however, Othercide really commits to the bit. Every system in the game is leveraged towards this feeling of hopelessness. Take healing, for example: there isn’t any. The only way for one of your Daughters to recover health is to sacrifice a Daughter of equal or higher level. Even worse, some of your most powerful abilities spend health to activate. This means that any slip up, any damage taken will sooner or later result in the loss of a star performer. You aren’t going to get attached to your soldiers here, especially given the lack of real cosmetic customisation, instead you are going to see your Daughters as a resource to be gently fed into the meat grinder of the forever war.

(Image credit: Focus Home Interactive)

How does the game get away with being this lethal? Because, as I said earlier, it’s also a roguelike. Each run (or “Recollection”) of Othercide consists of a series of turn-based battles against waves of monsters, leading up to a climactic boss fight. Lose that boss fight, run out of troops or just decide you’ve had enough, and you’ll have to start the loop again, but this time with a series of powerful boosts or “Rembrances” that can improve the whole team. Early on I got one that gave every Daughter 30% more health. Another gave me a free resurrection on a dead Daughter (including those from previous games). These are big, meaty bonuses that make a second attempt far easier.

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