Hunter bought me Stoic's Banner Saga
for Christmas. It is a lovely, lovely game. It's set in a Viking Fimbulwinter world where you must fight obsidian robots called "Dredge" as they swarm across the land. But there is a rich mythology behind them, and their invasion is not what you might think at first.
The game makes the most of its Kickstarted indie budget. (They asked for $100K. They got $725K.) The music is majestic, Viking horns and drums. The visuals are stylized. Outside of combat, you're in a 2.5D world. Cut scenes are stills of the characters. Travel is a tiny line of animated characters walking across a highly stylized landscape. The credits say the world is inspired by the artwork of Eyvind Earle (Disney's Sleeping Beauty
), but I prefer it to his work.
The game has consequences. Characters can die because of your choices. Your daughter can die. Your whole world can die.
To keep your clan alive, you sometimes have to be a bastard. Trusting strangers can get your people killed. Not trusting strangers can get your people killed. Hard to know which is which. So you really feel like a leader of men.
Combat is turn-based tactics, à la XCOM. I love turn-based tactics. I like being able to think out my moves.
What makes a great indie game? Totally delivering the goods on a game that is conceptually fresh but of limited scope. Taking advantage of your limitations to do something new. The stripped-down art style -- the 2D, only half-animated travelogue, for example -- creates a mood that 3D might not have done.
The mythology in this game suggests that there could be a sequel. I'm ready.
I really enjoyed this game. (Thank you, Hunter!) $25 on Steam. Worth every penny.