Othercide Preview – An Unexpected Gruesome and Beautiful Strategy Game

Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Sometimes, someone will look at a work of art and be like, “I like this. I want to make something like this”, whereas other times, someone will just be dreaming of unicorns and then decide to create a unicorn. Lightbulb Crew’s monochromatic turn-based strategy game Othercide is clearly a game that was made with many inspirations in mind. From what I’ve played of it at GDC 2019, it’s becoming quite a nice mix of things that I love.

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Inspired by the likes of two of my favorite gruesome animes Claymore and Berserk, Othercide is set in a dark and corrupted society that’s plagued by nightmarish creatures. Players take control of a group of female warriors, known as The Daughters, who must defeat these creatures for the sake of humanity’s survival. These female warriors aren’t damsels in distress, by any means, they’re strong, brave, and ready to slay. Furthermore, each daughter has a specific class, so for instance, one is a gun specialist and is better to suited to stay back from harm.

For the daughters to get the strength they need to fight, they must consume raw power from corrupted beings. The catch to this, though, is that they must sacrifice a bit of their humanity in the process. Whether to become more powerful or to remain human is rather a tough decision to make, and there’s no going back once that decision is made.  

The intense decision-making doesn’t stop there, however, as the dynamic turn-based battles in Othercide also will require some serious wit and skill. The enemies I fought against, which were these insane plague doctor statues, each had their fighting style, similar to that of The Daughters. Rather than being mindless opponents, each enemy was smart — always ready to adapt to how I was playing — making them rather challenging to go up against.

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With Othercide’s initiative sequence system, though, it does give the player the ability to predict enemy movements and actions, which definitely comes in handy when trying to come up with different strategies to win battles. How battles work is that there’s timeline bar that shows the turn order for each character on the field, so kind of think of the battle timeline in Grandia or something along those lines. The system works well in that it allows for the player to plan ahead by being able to see where enemies, but also knowing when an enemy is about to make a move.

Being one step ahead of enemies is essential in Othercide as failure to do so will certainly lead to an unfortunate death that could’ve been avoided. Knowing when to attack at the right time can stop an enemy in their tracks, causing their turn to be delayed, or for them to be killed. With Othercide, having one set playstyle isn’t exactly ideal — it’s better to constantly adapt to what’s happening in the battlefield, which is something I learned the hard way.

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Given the punishing difficulty, dying is inevitable when playing Othercide. But here’s the kicker: Once a daughter dies, they can never come back — that’s right, there’s permadeath to be worried about. This, of course, adds to the game’s difficulty and makes it so the player needs to pay close attention to how their daughters are doing. What makes matters even more intense is that there’s no way to easily heal the daughters, as in order to do so, players must sacrifice some of their daughters strengthen and restore the health of specific daughters. Every decision in Othercide comes with a sacrifice to be mindful of, but thankfully, the game does let players see the result, whether positive or negative, for their actions. Death is a sufferable, traumatic, and learning experience.  

For players that do end up surviving and killing enemies, they have the options to level up, unlock new skills, and collect memories from dead enemies. A limited number of these bonuses can be implemented to skills to boost their stats. However, just like how the rest of the game goes, it’s important to choose wisely since once the boosts are implemented, they can’t be changed unless the player decides to sacrifice a daughter.

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Playing through Othercide is going to be one heck of a twisted, dark and punishing experience. While this is a plus for me since I tend to enjoy games that aren’t easy to get through, I can imagine that some players may be overwhelmed with the game’s difficulty. Recently, there’s been a massive, controversial discussion regarding difficulty and how it ties in with accessibility in games, so I’m curious if the developer will be including multiple difficulty options within Othercide.

What shouldn’t be changed at all with Othercide, however, is its wonderfully grim, monochromatic art design that has dashes of crimson red. The look of the game absolutely complements the overall intensity that the gameplay offers, and for me, it’s like stepping into a page of the Claymore manga.  

To put Othercide simply, it’s gruesome, challenging yet rewarding, and oddly beautiful turn-based strategy game that I honestly can’t wait to play more of. Othercide takes your soul for all its worth and you have to fight back for it. Players that go into Othercide expecting for it to be mastered easily will end up dying in a matter of seconds. Blood will be shed in Othercide, may the best daughters survive.

Othercide is set to release later this year on PC.

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Brad Crespo

Editor-in-Chief - On a quest to play as many new games as possible while trying to finish an endless backlog.