Ashwalkers is a tactics-focused turn-based card game, where each unit you take into battle has a corresponding card that is shuffled into a deck and used to determine their actions. This can allow for a lot of strategy in how you build your deck. As you play, you can unlock units and abilities that you can then add to your deck to give it a unique feel. The key to Ashwalkers is managing your resources. Each round you play, you need to decide how many resources to spend on playing cards and which cards you want to play.
Asheron’s Call was one of the first MMO games to be released, and for many people it’s still their favourite. The game is known for it’s expansive world, detailed backstory and unique class system, which is the combination that makes this game so great. There have been many attempts to revive and remake Asheron’s Call, and all have failed, but I think the team behind Asheron’s Call: The Fallen King have the best shot at making Asheron’s Call relevant again.
Whether you attribute that quote to Hemingway or Cohen, the fact that everything has a crack in it to let the light in is the perfect analogy forAshwalker’s, a student project that was eventually supported by the publisher and co-produced byLife Is Strange. Ashwalkers is an often dark, always reflective game, and while I admit to loving games that start, stay, and end in such sadness, I also greatly appreciateAshwalkers for its moments of hope, those places where light breaks through. In this ever-changing post-apocalyptic story, players can fight, flee, negotiate, or outwit others in a variety of ways during a road trip they probably won’t survive. Such an excursion makes for fascinating character work, which the player largely and satisfyingly controls with his own moral compass.
Ashwalker Control: How the light penetrates
Ashwalkers tells the story of the Third Squadron, a group of four brave survivors of a world after a geological disaster. Their mission is simple: find the Dome of Domes, a supposed sanctuary large and functional enough to house the desperate. In this third-person adventure game, the player has complete control over the four characters as they make their way through a wasteland in search of a way out. Each character, be it Petra, Singh, Kali or Nadir, is not a blank slate. Just as they bring their own stress levels and secret skills to the group, they also each bring their own predispositions, such as Singh’s penchant for resolving conflicts with violence or Nadir’s resolve to hide in the shadows in every encounter. InAshwalkers, players are constantly asked to make choices, usually one of four possible choices, each related to a character’s personality. This choice has serious, and therefore very satisfying, consequences. When I ran into a group of savages in the beginning of the first round, I could have fought with them. After all, there was enough context in play to know that there was no reason to argue with these Outlanders, like the people behind the wall in George R.R. Martin’s novel, A Song of Ice and Fire . But I resisted the bloodshed and ended the standoff peacefully. Later I met a large group of these free people who, because some of them recognized me, invited me to their camp to spend a crucial night. These unknown consequences manifest dozens of times in a variety of ways during each playthrough, which takes about two hours or more, depending on which path you choose. You never see where you’re going, and since the game (for a while) has a lot of branching paths, you don’t see the same scenes again until you make a new choice. Some moments seem tame, not only because they always get in your way, but also because sometimes you don’t even have a sure way out of a problem. I always felt great satisfaction when I came out of a conflict without violence, and often I didn’t have to run away from others because we settled things so peacefully. As the game progresses and the group becomes more irritated, hungry, tired, and frigid, it becomes less likely that any of the game’s happy endings will be found, but there are still ways to reach them and, more importantly, ways to gain small victories along the way. These moments express the central idea of the game, that of hope in a hopeless world, of how we often face perceived enemies, even non-human enemies like giant birds that want to eat us, only to settle for some of our dwindling rations. The game plan to eliminate people from the team is effective. You never know who you can trust. But that’s why it was so nice not to rush in and, instead of leaving a trail of blood behind, find new allies who walked a safer path. This does not mean that the world is always willing to submit to your diplomacy. Instead, managing food, heat, fatigue and health means stopping regularly to camp, only to be attacked by hungry rats or looted by night-time thieves. There are always people in the game who only care about themselves, and in a whopping 34 different endings, some of these selfie-makers aren’t one-sided NPCs who run off with your food. They can lead the decisive groups in the final moments of the match. While most of the game is a simple point-and-click game, with fairly basic animations that add nothing to the immersion of the game, this casual approach hides much deeper systems inAshwalkers. Much of the game feels like roleplaying, even the quiet plot unfolds in rich prose, written like the final chapter of a Dungeon Master book. Stopping to set up the aforementioned camps includes its own system of skill control: The longer you stay and make noise, the more likely you are to attract unwanted attention. TheAshwalkers game even visualizes this: At the bottom of the screen you will see the percentage chance of problems during the camping parts. You have to decide who rests, who eats, who keeps watch and who can just sit and talk. If you assign two or more characters to this last task, you’ll learn a lot more about the world and those characters, which is tempting if you can do without the volume and lack of sleep. In one of the few endings I saw, I found it rather abrupt, which makes me wonder how many of the game’s 34 endings leave much to be desired. Nonetheless, the end result is still a smart, slow-paced drama that I enjoyed participating in. In my first game, I avoided almost all combat scenarios and used mostly diplomacy. To get out of a fight in an undisciplined world likeAshwalkersis unheard of, but here it seems natural, because it was my skill, my words and my quick thinking that got us out of trouble. And if those tactics didn’t work, it was still deserved. With the lingering music and black and white graphics, gloom permeates the entireAshwalkersgame, but players always get the chance to let the light in, and in my experience, that’s always for the best.
Ashwalkers review – Theconclusion
- An original and interesting setting and characters
- Varied and especially original use of choice-based storytelling.
- An original mix of survival, role-playing and adventure game mechanics.
- The following games unlock new locations and scenarios.
- The simplified animation somewhat detracts from the plot.
- The quality of the finish varies
Ashwalkers has to be one of the darkest games of the year, and I think the few endings where your party dies means it’s still pretty grim. But the best parts of this game are when you get to see how terrible things have become, and the game still allows you to claim that power is right. The play suggests that in a world that forgives and rewards selfishness, it is commendable and sometimes even courageous to keep altruism in mind. From a dark, monochrome world to our own, which can be just as cruel to the oppressed,Ashwalkers leaves an unforgettable message at the end of this ambitious game. [Note: Dear Villagers provided a copy of the Ashwalker used for this article].