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The Iron Oath might be the next great turn-based tactics game

world iron oath It was brutal, full of bloodshed and betrayal. After a mission went wrong, I led a team of mercenaries seeking revenge, and a man I trusted told me to die. I have some practical issues to deal with, like keeping my gold and supplies flowing. But I also have to deal with a slower, scarier resource: the passage of time and the horrific toll it takes on my mercenaries. However, I’ve learned the best way to adapt: ​​always be the worst.

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iron oath Fans of strategy games and role-playing games will be familiar to some extent.smell it darkest dungeonAdd some XCOM and sprinkle some Divinity: Original Sin† With beautiful pixel animations, an epic musical soundtrack, a fantasy world constantly on the brink of apocalypse, creative demonic enemy designs, and darling, you’ve got a hot pot ready.

As I venture into the fantasy kingdom of Caelum, I have to travel between open worlds, towns, dungeons, and single-player combat. These things can easily get bogged down in indistinguishable combinations of numbers and goals, but developer Curious Panda Games gradually introduces each layer of complexity in the first few hours of quick tutorials and activities.There are also some very detailed difficulty levels, so iron oath It can be a relatively peaceful journey or a relentless journey through dangerous territory.

The Iron Oath - A battle takes place between mercenaries and bandits.

Image: Curious Panda Games/Humble Games

Fortunately, the game gave me the tools to succeed in this dangerous world, as the mercenaries at my disposal were powerful mages, rangers, warriors, and elementals. Unleashing an electrified current at an enemy or having Valkyrie fly past her foe, being thrown first is very satisfying. As I left the game’s intro and entered the open world with my fledgling mercenary group, I was pretty sure I could catch up and grab the dummy who stabbed me in the back. revenge.

Of course, nothing is that simple, so my story unfolds as I meet other factions, explore new cities, and expand my business. It’s an early access game, but there’s still a lot of meat in it. Players can level up and customize each mercenary on their team, and send their favorite mercenaries on more missions to earn XP. The downside is that the more you rely on a handful of mercenaries, the more stress and damage they will suffer. Keep believing in them and they may break down. If you don’t treat their wounds, they may die.like it darkest dungeon, this is a heavy concert. My company drinks beer occasionally, but more often they are treated for skull fractures, trauma and vertebral fractures.

Even if you do everything “right”, time will pass, just like all of us. This is not a Fire Emblem that makes everyone red-faced and bright-eyed. Eventually they died. There are always new mercenaries to recruit, develop and adapt, and I can upgrade my company to make crew management easier….These are not my comrades, they are invest

Image: Curious Panda Games/Humble Games

This is especially true in combat, and it is iron oath It really shines. When I enter a dungeon, I get an abstract overview. I can explore, dismantle traps and explore. If there’s a fight, we get to work; my four mercenaries line up in a grid with some enemies. Then I determine my starting position and the strategy begins. Flanking, coverage, and positioning are all important; enemies are often equipped with brutal damage skills and debuffs, which can cause confusion if I don’t intend to. I also had a limited load of powerful spells and attacks during my dungeons, which meant I had to ration myself through many fights.

This constant resource management pressure, limited supply, and constant danger means I sometimes have to make tough decisions that my mercenaries will have to make. think As for. For example, in the depths of a dark dungeon, I found a wounded man. I could help you get out of there, but it would give my enemies more time to set traps and ambush. I can give you some of my precious medical supplies so you can escape on your own. Or… I could kill him and loot his body! This might annoy some of my mercenaries, but others will think it’s smart. Delivering potions to strangers?exist East economy?

Iron Oath - mercenaries fight demons on the battlefield; characters stay away from enemies

Image: Curious Panda Games/Humble Games

If I make too many decisions my mercenaries don’t like (or I don’t pay because I… Have Spend all my gold on equipment) will leave the company entirely. Angry and tired mercenaries are also less useful in combat, which can lead to a morale boost if their friends are injured or killed.

The biggest problem during my work iron oath is the user interface. It’s a series of seemingly innocuous little annoyances that add up over time. In combat, for example, it’s hard to see my character’s health at a glance while watching the fight. His portrait overlays either have a red shade representing his overall health loss, or I can hover over them to get the full name and health bar, but neither when I try to get all the info too ideal. Enemy territory while also worrying about the rest of the dungeon. Other times I accidentally closed the update screen and it took me a while to find them again. Neither are deal breakers (especially in early access games), but they’re still annoying.

Overall, I’m excited to see how iron oath Development; Curious Panda Games has laid out a roadmap for 2022, which will culminate in a full version with new classes, more POIs, and more quests. Right now I’m interested in the current version; on the other hand, my mercenaries probably have a certain grasp on my management style.

iron oath on April 19 at Windows personal computer. This game has been rated using a download code from Humble Games. Vox Media has affiliated associations. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links.you can find For more information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy, click here

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The Iron Oath might be the next great turn-based tactics game

The world of The Iron Oath is grim, full of bloodshed and betrayal. I am leading a company of mercenaries, seeking revenge after a mission went bad and a man I trusted left me to die. I have practical concerns to deal with, like maintaining my influx of gold and supplies. But I also have a much slower, more dreadful resource to manage: the passage of time, and with it, the terrible toll it takes on my mercenaries. I’ve already learned the best way to adapt, though — by just being the absolute worst person, all of the time.

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The Iron Oath will be, in some ways, very familiar to fans of strategy games and RPGs. You take a pinch of Darkest Dungeon, throw in some XCOM, and sprinkle in some Divinity: Original Sin. Cook it all in a pan with some gorgeous pixel animations, an epic musical score, a fantasy world constantly on the cusp of an apocalypse, and inventive demonic enemy designs, and baby, you’ve got a stew going.
As I adventure around the fantasy realm of Caelum, I have to navigate between the open world, cities and towns, dungeons, and individual battles. It would be easy for these things to blur together into an indistinguishable mush of numbers and goals, but developer Curious Panda Games introduces each layer of complexity gradually throughout a well-paced tutorial and the early hours of the campaign. There are also some wonderfully granular difficulty settings, so The Iron Oath can either be a relatively chill cakewalk or an unforgiving trek through hazardous territory.

Image: Curious Panda Games/Humble Games
Luckily, the game gives me the tools to succeed in this dangerous world because the mercenaries at my disposal are powerful wizards, rangers, warriors, and elementalists. It’s deeply satisfying to unleash a charged electrical torrent on an enemy or have a valkyrie soar through her enemies, spear first. By the time I was out of the game’s intro and into the open world with my starting mercenary party, I felt pretty confident that I would be able to catch up to the ne’er-do-well who stabbed me in the back and get revenge.
Of course, nothing is ever that simple, and so my story branched out as I met other factions, explored new cities, and expanded my company. This is an early access game, but there’s still a good amount of meat on the bone. Players can upgrade and customize each mercenary in their party, and send their favorites out on more missions for XP. The drawback is that the more you lean on a select few mercenaries, the more stressed and injured they become. Keep relying on them, and they might just snap. Fail to treat their injuries, and they might die. Just like Darkest Dungeon, this is a rough gig. My company gets a round of ale once in a while, but they’re more often treated to skull fractures, trauma, and broken spines.
And even if you do everything “right,” the clock is ticking, as it is for us all. This isn’t a Fire Emblem title where everyone remains rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed; they eventually pass away. There are always new mercenaries to recruit, level up, and customize, and I can upgrade my company to make managing the crew easier … but as I juggle gold and potions, I learn to start treating human life with the same cold practicality. These aren’t my comrades — they’re investments.

Image: Curious Panda Games/Humble Games
This is especially true in battles, which is where The Iron Oath really shines. When I head into a dungeon, I get an abstracted overview. I can scout ahead, disarm traps, and explore. When combat happens, we get right to business; my four mercenaries are placed on a grid along with some enemies. I then decide my initial placement, and the strategy begins. Flanking, cover, and positioning are all important; the enemy is usually equipped with brutal damage abilities and debuffs that can cause chaos if I don’t plan around it. My powerful spells and attacks also have limited charges for the duration of the dungeon, which means I have to ration across many battles.
This constant tension of resource management, limited supplies, and continual danger means that I sometimes have to make some rough choices — choices that my mercenaries will have thoughts about. For instance, in the depths of a dark dungeon, I find an injured man. I can help him out of there, but that will give my enemies more time to set up traps and ambushes. I can give him some of my precious medical supplies so he can escape on his own. Or … I could just kill him and loot his body! That might aggravate some of my mercenaries, but others will think that’s just smart. Giving away health potions to strangers? In this economy?

Image: Curious Panda Games/Humble Games
If I make too many choices that my mercenaries don’t like (or if I don’t pay them because I just had to spend all of my gold on gear) they’ll leave the company altogether. Angry, tired mercenaries are also less useful in battle, which can cause a spiral in morale as they get injured or their friends die.
The biggest issue throughout my time with The Iron Oath is the UI. It’s a collection of little annoyances that don’t seem to matter individually, but they pile up over time. For instance, during battles, there’s no easy way to see my characters’ health at a glance as I survey the battle. Their portrait overlays will have a red shadow that represents their general HP loss, or I can hover over them with my cursor to get a full name and health bar — but neither of these are ideal when I’m also trying to suss out all the enemy information and terrain, while also worrying about the remainder of the dungeon. At other times, I accidentally closed out of upgrade screens, and it took me a while to find them again. None of these are deal breakers (especially in an early access game) but they’re bummers nonetheless.
Overall, I’m excited to see how The Iron Oath develops; Curious Panda Games has already laid out a road map throughout 2022 leading to an eventual full release that includes a new class, more points of interest, and more quests. For now, I’m having a lot of fun with the current build — my mercenaries, on the other hand, probably have some complaints with my management style.
The Iron Oath was released on April 19 on Windows PC. The game was reviewed using a download code provided by Humble Games. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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