We. The Revolution is now available, and the indie strategy game is chock full of interesting little tidbits that are directly tied into the overall experience. Many aspects of the game, from gameplay modes to the visual style, offer a taste of what Polish developer Polyslash has to offer with their latest out.
So here are six things to know about We. The Revolution.
We. The Revolution is a step away from the expected style of gameplay from developer Polyslash. The small, polish dev team, spearheaded by director Dawid Ciślak, has only one other game under their belt: the survival horror title, Phantaruk. An interesting blend of survival horror, stealth, and adventure game mechanics, Phantaruk was self-published and released in 2016 to mixed reviews but showcases a wide portfolio to the indie studio. After all, a strategy game based on the French Revolution is a far cry from a 3D, first-person horror game.
That said, Phantaruk has certainly helped in putting Polyslash on the map and shows that Polyslash can make a diverse number of games. We. The Revolution is also different than Phantaruk because it is not self-published this time around. Instead, We. The Revolution has small time publisher Klabater helping to promote the game. Klabater has a few notable titles under its belt, such as ‘90s Football Star by developer Purple Tree and Regalia: Of Men and Monarch from Pixelated Milk. We. The Revolution is shaping up to be in good hands and hopefully be a strong sophomore effort from Polyslash.
A Realistic Edge
The core gameplay of We. The Revolution is directly influenced by real-life historical events. Players will be playing as a judge sitting on the Revolutionary Tribunal, or the Popular Tribunal as known to most French citizens during the period known as the Reign of Terror. The Tribunal was notorious thanks to the efforts of radical revolutionaries such as Maximilien Robespierre, who insisted that the court have the power to issue death penalties to any offenders brought to them. The Tribunal was personally responsible for the death sentences of 16% of the French Population, with an estimated 17,000 people sentenced and beheaded between 1793-1794, some on the pace of 28 sentences a day.
While not historically accurate in the extreme, players will run into historical figures as they blend investigation skills and turn-based strategy together to survive. It will be a game where players need to be cautious as to how they approach a situation, or else it can easily backfire on them. Convict too few of one side, you become a sympathizer. Convict too many, you become a target. The player will have to balance out justice and fairness, and sometimes the answers will not be so black and white in We. The Revolution.
The Nitty Gritty
One of the major selling points to We. The Revolution is the relative “grittiness” to their setting. The Picasso-like cubist of the game’s visuals are splashed with blood and anger, and the people of France look malcontent with their sneers and personal suspicion. To say that the game is pushing for a harsh edge is an understatement, to say the least, and visually, the game’s style shines through as a darker, more personal take on the subject matter.
Most of this can be attributed to Polyslash artist Zuzanna Szablowska, who blended “classic” revolutionary artwork from the likes of French painters Jacques-Louis David, with a more modern polygonal look. The art team also experimented with pixelated and even neoclassical art style, before settling on the polygonal style. A lot of effort was put into the games art style as well, every character, from the witnesses to the accused, have custom-made sprites. Every court case will include hand-drawn icons, every bit of the games visuals attempts to be period accurate to the 1790s France. The work by Szablowska and the rest of Polyslash is incredibly impressive.
You can read more about We. The Revolution‘s art style here, where we interviewed Zuzanna and Dawid Ciślak.
The Court of Appeal
The indie game market is filled with a ton of games, but We. The Revolution is unique in how it blends its courtroom intrigue with real-time strategy. For the courtroom gameplay, We. The Revolution is often compared to Lucas Pope’s puzzle game, Papers, Please. Papers, Please is about a border guard working in a fictional communist country, who must be quick and efficient in judging the long line of potential immigrants under tight, depressing conditions to feed their family.
We. The Revolution is obviously not emulating the same premise, though the courtroom power is certainly in the same vein of being judge and jury over passport holders. That said, Ciślak also points out how We. The Revolution has a much slower pace and is less about piecing together a puzzle and more about planning your choice. Linking together evidence is important, as it helps players cross-examine those on trial, but the reactions by other members of the Jury or the various factions is often more important than guaranteeing justice.
One other aspect that helps set We. The Revolution apart is the multiple gameplay styles. Court cases vary, for example, with some being short cases designed to just make a quick decision over a long, drawn-out affair. The courtroom also changes over time, mostly due to changes in the game’s narrative as the Reign of Terror continues.
More than just a courtroom drama, We. The Revolution features a tactical map, allowing the player to participate in tactical battles with the various factions roaming France. Another major aspect to consider is balancing your decisions in the courtroom with your family at home. Relationships can grow stronger or erode at the dinner table, and your family can also be targeted even further by some factions. It is up to the player to track how their family feels about them, which adds another dynamic layer to the chaotic timeframe of the game.
You can read more about We. The Revolution‘s gameplay here, where we interviewed director Dawid Ciślak.
The Fun Factor
Though We. The Revolution is set to be a “darker” take on the French Revolution, Ciślak and his team still wanted to make fun a top priority for those wanting to play the game. All the aspects above—the use of the gameplay to influence the overall narrative, the historically-inspired elements, even adding different solutions to all three major aspects of the gameplay—tie together to create a cohesive game that Polyslash hopes players will enjoy.
With three distinct gameplay modes, Polyslash’s goal is to wrap them tightly in a narrative-driven experience. The game itself is large in its ambitions, and the passion behind Ciślak and his team shines through in the overall package. There are enough aspects to We. The Revolution that will certainly entice players to try it out, and enough fun to be had for those looking for a unique take on a strategy game.
We. The Revolution is out now on PC, and will be available for the PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
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