Picture yourself at the height of the Arthurian England era. Your lifelong dream is to be a Knight of the Round Table. Everything is going the way you planned, and then terror strikes. King Arthur is found dead, and the Knights of the Round Table disband and go their separate ways. After waiting to get a chance to prove yourself, you’re called upon by Merlin. The all-powerful wizard asks you to save the Multiverse from the cataclysm, a terrible horror that plagues the many worlds in the Multiverse. Will you save humanity by The Hand of Merlin or let it suffer like the other worlds before.
This first paragraph is a summary of the plot of The Hand of Merlin. Sounds pretty awesome. Well, I can tell you from experience that the story is just the beginning of all the awesomeness this game has to offer. This Rouge-Like Turn-Based RPG has you rethinking the Rouge-Like gene with its easy-to-learn gameplay and advanced storytelling. I usually find Rouge-like Turn-Based games boring, too much stop and go for me. I’m used to fast-paced, all-out action types of games. To understand how well made this game is, let me tell you my experience with the game from the start.
You start by picking the characters that you will play with throughout the whole game. With only 3 spots to fill, you must choose wisely on who you bring on this journey. With your first run, you will only get to select the 3 heroes given to you until you can unlock the others through gameplay. Forcing you to use these three heroes was a great choice since they all have different abilities and showcase how to play the game efficiently and properly. Once your heroes are selected, you set out on your adventure to the holy land (Jerusalem). It is in Jerusalem where you will save the world.
You Start in Camelot and talk to the king who has taken King Arthur’s place. It is here where you acquire a grail that will help you through your journey. You must select between two grails upon each run, but they will not always be the same. Since you’re in a multiverse, you will be in a different world every run, meaning you will experience different encounters and acquire different items every time. This makes the game everchanging and new every run you do. I would say it is one of the game’s best features, since in so many rouge-likes, once you have mastered a specific run, it can get pretty boring.
Once you have departed on your adventure, it is up to you how your play each run. Do you play it safe and avoid conflict while you make your way to Jerusalem. Or do you fight to rid every location of the horror plaguing the land? Each choice has its perks; if you play it safe, the chances your hero’s stay alive are better but will they be strong enough to fight the fight at the end of their journey. The more chances you take mean, the more chances you have to die, but you will be rewarded more. This means you can upgrade your hero’s gear and skills along the way. Making the final battle for Jerusalem much easier. What will you choose? Safe and a slight chance at victory, or will you rage war and risk it all to save the world from chaos.
On my first run, I chose to play it safe and even focused on unlocking some new characters for future runs. Even though I unlocked a new character to play, I failed miserably at the end of my run. This made me determined to fight a good fight and gather more gold and renown to upgrade my gear and character skill sets. It might have taken me 3 times longer to get to the end, but the journey was totally worth the wait. The amount of storytelling embedded into this game is insane. From fighting bandits to finding a lake with the power to heal, I felt that nothing got repeated.
I feel this effort of storytelling shouldn’t go unnoticed. I give the developers of this game a lot of credit for the hard work they have put into this. It truly shows that this is something they loved making based on the product they have put out.
With a decent amount of characters to unlock and different ways you can play this game, I can see myself getting lost and putting in way too many hours into this game. The fact that the story is a beautiful sci-fi twist on the Arthurian era is just a bonus. I never thought you could turn the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table into an even cooler one. Granted, it’s after King Arthur is dead, and the world is in ruins, but it’s still based in the time frame.
The Hand of Merlin is one of those games that pulls you in from the very start. Everything about it is familiar to the mind but different in so many ways. I love how the game truly walked you through every instance in your first run, so you can really get a good feel on how to play. The amount of content and effort that went into this game was refreshing and astonishing. You truly feel like you are playing a game that someone put their soul into. I came into this game with low expectations, not being a big fan of Rogue-lite Turn-Based games. I have to say The Hand of Merlin crushed those expectations and has made it so the bar might be too high for any upcoming rogue-lite games I might be playing in the future.
Overall, I think this game is by far one of the best Rouge-Lite games I have ever played. That being said, I am shocked it is still in Early Access. Normally we don’t rate early access games just because it is not the finished product, but I might have to make an exception for The Hand of Merlin. Maybe it’s just some minor performance issues that need to be fixed, or there is even more content the developers would like to introduce but either way, this game feels and play like a full release. I give the developers many props for putting out such a well-rounded game in a genre that can be pretty daunting.
Tell Us What You Think
We want to know if you have played the Hand of Merlin? If so, let us know if you agree with us or if we are nowhere close to what you think. No answer is a bad answer, this is The Gamer’s Opinion, and we are all gamers. So please share your thoughts in the comments below.