Othercide from Focus Home Interactive and Lightbulb Crew is a new hardcore turn-based strategy game on PS4 with an interesting gameplay twist. Learn more in our Othercide review!
In Othercide from Focus Home Interactive and Lightbulb Crew, you will be taking on a hardcore turn-based strategy game in which you’ll assume the role of The Mother, and you must use the power of your Daughters to stand against Suffering, as humanity’s last hope before reality is destroyed. You could think of it as a more supernatural, gothic XCOM, which means you’ll have to sort things out by making the most of each of your units, and the available action points (AP). You will also need to make some hard choices as you go, sacrificing some Daughters for the greater good.
You’ll move the cursor with the left analog stick, twisting the camera around with the right analog stick, as you zoom in and out with the L2 and R2 buttons. You’ll be switching between your available units by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons, as you move each one with the X button to confirm their action, as you use their skills with the Square button. While the game’s controls are simple and to the point – which is certainly appreciated – the gameplay itself has many nuances you’ll need to be aware of if you want to stay alive.
Each of your daughters will have a different class, which will affect which skills it has access to, and how it performs in battle. Knowing what makes each of them excel at their class will prove to be very valuable since you’ll be able to counter what the game throws at you – at least once you’ve managed to gain some experience with the different gameplay mechanics at play. Plans things right, and you could be able to combo opponents by pushing them with one Daughter’s attack into the vicinity of, say, a Blademaster, who will quickly strike at the unsuspecting enemy.
You will need to always keep an eye on the timeline at the bottom of the screen since it will show all units based on their initiative, which will dictate when and how they attack. Units will move on the timeline from the right of the screen towards the left side, and once they hit zero, they will be able to act. This is great since this is valuable information that will allow you to play your actions accordingly. Something else to consider is that your units and your opponents can perform Delayed Skills, which will end their turn buy have a bigger payoff in their next turn.
You’ll also have to pay attention to what enemies do, because attacking an enemy that has selected a Delayed Skill might be better than attacking one that is using regular attacks, or else you might find one of your units is gravely injured, forcing you to sacrifice another one to heal it, or else you’ll lose it. You could also decide to use a special skill such as Shield Charge, which will require a lot of AP. The good news is that this particular skill will delay the target’s next skill. There’s also the option of going with a more dangerous Interrupt Skill, which will skip a single enemy attack, but it will use some of your hit points.
The game has an art direction that helps everything stand out, with a focus on black and white, with some red here, there, and everywhere to accentuate things. Red will be used to mark attacks, some designs for your characters and the enemies you will battle, to mark the area of effect of your skills, the cursor for selecting attacks and skills, or to mark selections on the menu. It’s a solid artistic choice, and it certainly helps to make it easier to swallow your defeat when you’re completely whipped out and have to start over.
Yes, you read that right. Death is very much part of the process, and while failure will force you to start over, you will get to carry over some elements that will make each subsequent run a bit easier. Learning from your mistakes is a must so that you don’t end up failing over and over. Daughters will die, and they will be laid to rest at the cemetery. You can, however, bring them back if you have the required resurrection tokens, that is if you have completed some of the required objectives.
Based on your performance in each run, you will be rewarded with shards. Shards are important in Othercide, since they can be used to activate the different Remembrances that you have managed to unlock. Remembrances are a series of boosts and perks that will allow you to shape future runs so that you can make some progress with every new try. You could get to resurrect one of your Daughters to bring them back from the grave or get a chance to deal extra damage against opponents.
Speaking of extra damage, you should always try to position your units just right, so that you can flank your opponents. When flanking them, you will deal extra damage, which can make a huge difference when you’re, say, surrounded by five enemies who are ready to kill you. But if you can position one of your units to attack an enemy from behind, you will be rewarded with a backstab attack bonus. This will be twice as important when taking on one of the games bosses, which won’t pull any punches.
Another key element is the different Memories you will find. Memories are remnants of the Mother’s life, and they can be used to upgrade and improve the Daughters. By equipping memories on skills, Memories will introduce changes to how said skills perform in battle. You could boost one skill’s critical damage percentage, or perhaps immobilize a target so that you don’t have to worry about it moving too close. Be sure to experiment so that you can find the right combination for each challenge that you face.
As for the trophies in the game, Othercide has a full trophy list with a Platinum for you to add to your collection. You will unlock a trophy after sacrificing a Daughter for the first time, for sacrificing a Daughter with a Memory attached, for resurrecting a daughter, for defeating each of the extremely challenging bosses in the game, for sacrificing 400 hit points by using reactions and interruptions, for defeating 300 enemies, or for when a daughter falls in battle, to name some examples.
One thing I do have to complain about is something that has been happening more and more with new games on PlayStation 4: the text is tiny. You will see this right away during the initial configuration sequence in which Othercide will ask you to change around the brightness, gamma, contrast, select if you want to activate the subtitles and if you want to activate its colorblind mode. I had to move closer to the TV to be able to see what was going on. AT least you can go into the options to double the size of subtitles, but that’s about it.
Othercide is certainly a hardcore turn-based strategy game that offers a challenging experience that will test your skills every step of the way. Death is part of Othercide’s gameplay loop, so the sooner you learn how to make the most of how you can affect subsequent runs, and how to make the most of Memories and Remembrances, the more fun you’ll have. Othercide is out now on PlayStation 4 with a $39.99 asking price.
This Othercide review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Focus Home Interactive.