To The Green is a weekly look at one game on Steam Greenlight trying to get onto Steam. Many games get mired in the process trying to get there, caught up with abandoned projects, shovelware, and other things. With To The Green, we hope to highlight one worthy game each week that is attempting to get greenlit and let you decide if it is something you’d be interested in trying out.
Graal Seeker takes us to the 5th century in Britain – a time of myths and legend. You play as an adventurer in this time, seeking the Graal, also known as The Holy Grail – the ancient and mysterious relic. What is it really? And why are you searching for it? Fame, and the notoriety it brings? Fortune, and the life that brings? Or do you seek it for your Faith, and your beliefs in its divine heritage?
That is up to you – as is the way you interact with a world that has far more going on around you. In this perilous time, both the Saxons and Picts threaten England. The Romans have left and the people in the lands are in many ways split amongst themselves. You may join King Arthur and his Knights in fighting off the invasions that threaten the land, ignore them, search for the mysteries in the invasions, or perhaps contribute to them yourself.
The game features a nation/class/personality based character system. There are 3 nations to choose from – The Britons (who can play as all Classes), the Saxons (who can play as all but Peasants), and the Picts (who can’t play as archers or peasants), and each nation has a unique skill, interactions with the world, and their own quest options for the player.
The classes are Knight, Druid, Bard, Archer, and Peasant, each with their own skills and attributes. These help make each one play differently with a mixture of passive and active skills, with more skills available as you go through the game in typical RPG Fashion.
The personality bit, or profiles as it’s called, allows further customization. There are five profiles right now: - Tenacious who is less likely to give up - Strapping who is stronger - Adroit who is more agile - Clever who earn more skills - Tribune who has more options and diplomatic choices.
These profiles go with your class and nation creating a different character to face the challenges that come through. Just because you find one character set up ideal for one play through doesn’t mean it will be for the next however.
Like many games, Graal Seeker uses procedural generation to create its maps and events that happen within it. While some bits are scripted, many of the challenges you run into will be unique to that playthrough, meaning that the Briton Tribune Bard who dominated one play through might be useless the next. Procedural generation has long been a tool of rogue-likes, and Graal Seeker does take some inspiration there, also adding Permadeath to its list of features making every choice that much more important during all events.
Gameplay during Graal Seeker takes part in one of three phases: The exploration phase, the event phase, or the combat phase. In the Exploration phase you look about the procedurally generated map going different places, while searching for the Graal. Often there will be multiple routes to a place and the differences will be in time and challenges you can expect to face.
The longer route might be safer but it will sap your Willpower – which if you run out of you give up your search for the Graal. It appears likely this is to judge your willingness to keep doing risky adventurer things in search of it and is sapped as you take time doing things but recharged with hints and events. This is speculation on it though as it isn't well explained by the developers at this time. The shorter route though might have bandits, monsters, or other challenges to face. Additionally there are side quests throughout found in towns and other locations – sometimes these have quest markers if you are told where to go, other times they don’t.
The Event phase happens after you reach an area in the exploration phase. These events are randomly generated but depend on where you are, and what you’ve done previously. Additionally, due to the procedural generation, even if on the surface an event appears the same it may be different or have a different result – you have to investigate each time to know what is going on.
There are up to 4 choices per event, with actions available based on previous choices, skills, profile, team, and inventory. You can spend that money to bribe a guard, push something heavy if you are Strapping, or avoid a fight if a Saxon is on your team. One interesting thing is that the game will come with moddability, meaning that people will be able to add more events potentially giving the game a much longer lifespan.
Speaking of teams, that also brings us towards combat. There are up to 4 characters on your team and you control them all during fights. Fights take place on a special grid battlefield that works with a Real Time with Pause system. Characters will do basic attacks or skills you’ve selected once in range of an enemy and repeat unless you move them again – which you can do right away or pause to set up where they need to go.
Passive skills are always on for a fight and help while active ones require you to select the character and turn them on, or cancel as appropriate. You have up to 3 active skills in the ‘talent’ queue for a character at a time. They are balanced in different ways with some being at will, others having a charge time, some havingcooldowns, or other various methods.
On the whole, Graal Seeker looks like a very interesting idea that will likely be released sometime in 2015. It had an IndieGoGo campaign that raised over €2200 on a flexible funding plan to help work on the game. Right now you can vote for it on Steam Greenlight or check out their website for more details.
Oh and of course, a trailer:
Do you know a game that’s in Greenlight that you think we should take a look at? If so, send an email to [email protected] or share your thoughts in the comments below!