Wildermyth has a pretty cool concept on paper. It fits perfectly into the D&D rave that has impacted the internet for many years, even more so now with the likes of Critical Role and Baldur’s Gate being as popular as ever. So, a game that feeds into the roleplaying aspect of having a party of characters that grow and evolve in a way similar to the tabletop RPG definitely sounds cool, but it is lacking in the fun and replayability department.
I stumbled into this game completely randomly and had a sort of love at first sight feeling when I was reading up on it. One of my favorite parts of these games is always to bring life into these characters and make them evolve and adapt to what happens around them. It may be corny, but making up relationships between your characters and seeing them kind of grow and regress in consequence to your gameplay and choices has always been super cool to me.
One of my favorite parts of XCOM has always been making up overcomplicated backstories for my soldiers and letting them evolve in natural but somewhat realistic ways as their bonds and the stakes progress. That aspect paired with turn based strategy gameplay just seemed like a perfect match with the procedurally generated element.
My experience playing was a bit different though. There’s a really endearing level of customization to personalities, traits and skills, but it just falls flat in the gameplay department when all it really revolves around is moving pawns across a board with a few random text events happening every once in a while. The only real strategy in this game outside of the combat is allocating where you want to send your party and how long it’ll take them to get there.
It’s definitely cool at first, but there’s a real lack of variety in what to do and how to do it. There’s a few campaigns here to choose from, all of them with a premade story that you kind of tailor your way, but I could barely get past the first before I was filled with disappointing boredom.
The game engine itself is also a bit wonky, I encountered quite a lot of texture bugs which is weird considering the low graphical fidelity and the paper tabletop inspired style.
Luckily, there’s great modding support that can really elevate the experience and fix some of this lack of variety, but for a game that prides itself on an element of procedurally generated surprise to keep your campaigns and characters fresh, it felt very stale.
I’ll definitely give it a second shot one day, because this feels like a nice mix of elements that usually keep me going for multiple hours in other games, but for now I’ll stick to Matthew Mercer and BG3 sessions.