Demos – how I both love & hate this concept. It’s always nice to get to try the game you are looking forward to, but if it’s good, you are in for a brutal time of waiting since you know what you will be getting and being held backed from. SKALD is one of these games. While I grew up during the popularity of Commodore 64 – I don’t have much of a connection to it beyond playing the random game on its system at a friends house. So, this graphical throwback is not doing much for me from a nostalgic standpoint, regardless I do think the graphics look charming without having the needed nostalgia glasses.
The demo of the game plays like the typical D&D adventure in a turn-based manner with active talents, and spells to use during combat – in other words it’s right up my alley! This was actually surprising to me. I was expecting something much simpler, considering its throwback graphical style. The problem is I have no real reference point, maybe classic D&D gameplay was a common thing for old school RPGs on the Commodore 64? Even so, besides the retro look, the game plays like any modern take on the CRPG genre, which to me is perfectly fine. Archaic controls, and UI can get old fairly quick in my opinion.
The writing in the SKALD prologue is concise, realistic and to the point, while still maintaining a nice style with clear Lovecraft influences. It’s a pleasant experience reading through the dialogue, and it doesn’t feel like the game meanders on at any point. The setting and scenery feels dramatic, especially in its shift progressing from sailing on the sea to being shipwrecked. The only negative thing about the current state of the game, going by the SKALD store page on Steam, is that it’s going to be an Early Access title – which to me makes it a big no no to buy since its narrative focus. This mean, if the game doesn’t sell enough, we might get stuck with an unfinished title. It also means, that the actual set date for release should have an added year to it for us that like to play a complete product. Unfortunately, the full game is not coming 2022, but those that wait for something good…
Let’s just hope the early access phase turns out well for the studio Scape-IT, so we all get the chance to enjoy this game in its full glory.