Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms – Save Early, Save Often
The game finds you in a crypt where you have been summoned by The Hooded Man, who, clearly has a job for you. You are a demon and apparently the evil he wants you to destroy is big enough that you two need to put your differences aside for a little while.
He invites you to meet him somewhere to pick out a new “puppet” a recently deceased hero with powers that will aid you on your quest. This opens up a dual adventure scenario – one where you go as the demon and destroy ghosts, demons and other non-corporeal threats in a shadow realm and one where you go about your slaughter of people, animals and other things with a pulse. You also smash a lot of urns, baskets and wooden crates to gather currency and junk that can be resold to get you more currency.
It’s also fairly handy that these two parallel worlds allow you to access bridges and stairways that would otherwise be impassable as a puppet, or are oddly not possible for you to simply go through as a ghost (like doors).
There are three puppets total, only two of which are available during Early Access:
- Kalig, a warrior king, who, as you may imagine, is very strong and good at melee.
- Jasker, an archer and hunter who wields a bow
- Evia, a mage of royal heritage who has mastered the art of flame and sand magehood. She is the one unavailable in Early Access (as of this publication)
As you switch between the two worlds and get damaged, you are also getting souls as you destroy other things which are easily used to restore health. There are other healing things in the game (such as healing herbs) that help supplement this, but they are the easiest to use. They are replenished as you kill things.
Once you escape the crypt, you find yourself in the city of Thole, which has a bit of a reputation for housing outlaws, thieves, murderers and people of ill repute. It was once a big deal for other reasons, but that wouldn’t be much fun, now would it?
Based on which character you pick, you’re going to interact differently with the people you meet. Jasker, who I played during my review, has a wife and kids and some friends that belong to a group. These are the reasons that he is inspired to fight alongside the Demon he doesn’t trust to help The Hooded Man. One of the first quests when I got to Thole was to find someone who could send a warning to his friend.
The game is equal parts conversation and action. As you may expect from an RPG, there are going to be some quests that involve “Please go kill X number of Y because I cannot be bothered to. In exchange I’ll do something nice for you.”
You’ll be killing plenty of spiders, also.
Controls are tied to various keys, which if you are more accustomed to using WASD to get around you may be spending a little time relearning how to play but otherwise it is pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it.
The graphics are pretty and once you get into Thole, everything is very vivid and interesting. The story moves along but there’s no defined reason why you’re on the journey until you regroup with The Hooded Man…
There is a lot to the game but the developers are pretty open with what will not work, displaying a list of known bugs as it goes through Early Access. So if you pick up this title, let them know what isn’t working!
Thank you to bitComposer, Game Farm, and Valva at Plan of Attack for the chance to review the game!