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Under the Radar: Witchmarsh — Bewitched by the ’20s
I have not met a single person in real life or video games that liked living in swamps. Marshes, swamps, fens; it doesn’t matter what name you choose to describe them. They are fetid pools of death and decay that no one except bandits and crazy potion-brewers willingly stay in. And I usually make a point to exterminate both of them, so they don’t really count.
Witchmarsh seems like it really wants to change my opinion of swamps and it looks like it’s working. Which is surprising because I don’t like witches either, so you would expect me to doubly hate something that is equal parts “witch” and “marsh”. Witchmarsh is an action-RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts where a group of private detectives are hunting for a dozen kidnapping victims and is currently being Kickstarter’d by British studio Inglenook.
As is common with many rural Massachusetts settings, Witchmarsh is oozing with nods to Lovecraft; supernatural elements seem to be par for the course with wizards, zombies, and hulking sets of armour just doing whatever it is they do in their downtime. And, while Inglenook lists classic RPGs like Baldur’s Gate and Wizardry as inspirations, Witchmarsh‘s side-scrolling RPG action reminds me much more of Risk of Rain only with more American Prohibition and less drone turrets.
What most interests me is how Witchmarsh is planning to handle the build-up to the combat. In line with your team’s job as investigators, it seems that you’ll find clues while traversing the levels that will culminate into “leads.” Witchmarsh is set to have a branching story and it seems that these “clues” and “leads” are where those stories will branch out.
I’ll let them explain it, in their own words:
Clues fuel progress in the game’s main storyline, and how you choose to interpret them will [have an] impact on your team’s reputation. Did the embalming fluid come from the crypt, or are the local bootleggers brewing up something nasty? Dig around for information before throwing your weight around.
Witchmarsh is looking to be a real swinging time, daddy-o (that’s how they talked in the 20s, right?) with its almost gaslamp fantasy-esque settings. Inglenook is planning to add up to four-person cooperative play, so you can fire muskets and bow and cast all sorts of mystical gobbledygook with your friends. Or, if you have no friends to speak of, Inglenook is saying you’ll be able to have to computer take control of the characters you’re not using. Any way you slice it, you don’t have a reason not to give Witchmarsh another look.
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Previously on Under the Radar: