Recently I had a pretty kick ass opportunity to drink beer and play games courtesy of the folks at 505 Games. I wrote about the fun and fuzzy shooter Gunfire Reborn and the excellent looking XCOM-ish Miasma Chronicles. And now, gather round children, Uncle Caro is going to tell you a tale of immortal beings, brutal battles, and a cute lil’ fox guy in the game Stray Blade. 

Stray Blade is an action adventure Metroidvania game set in a magical, dangerous land called Acrea. You play as the cursed warrior Farren, doomed to wander the valley which your soul is bound to until you can solve the mystery, kill the big bads, and presumably free yourself from the cycle of immortality. It’s like Buddhism with swords! Neat! I love a game that has a story driven reason explaining why you can die and come back to life ad nauseum. 

The preview build I played was a colorful, fast paced, certified good time. Exploring a landscape that looks like World of Warcraft and Fortnite had a baby was visually appealing, even if the dialogue seemed disjointed and discussions between characters left the camera frozen at uncinematic angles. When you die, your quippy, Scottish-sounding fox-looking sidekick Boji brings you back to life. The cinematic of him reviving you is a clever way to disguise a loading screen as the world updates and reloads. Each time you die time passes; the day/night cycle continues and new enemies will move into a previously cleared camp. It’s pretty cool to go back to an area that was populated by enemy soldiers before you wiped them out and find wolf-ish wild animals have moved in.  

Developer Point Blank Games is based in Berlin and has plans to release this game next year. Some parts of the game were ungraceful, the way you climb ladders for example, or the frankly confusing skill tree. But the team is still actively hiring team members to work on the game, and they made it clear that they hope to have everything sorted out by the time Stray Blade releases. And hey, if you’re looking for a job, they have an anti-crunch mission statement on their webpage

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