Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Baladins is a Wholesome CYOA All About Community

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From Seed by Seed and published by Armor Games Studios, Baladins is a delightful little combat-free game all about the power of friendship and community. For up to four players, Baladins has players adventuring through the land as a bard, pyro, cook, dancer, or a luxomancer. As I mentioned in my review of the demo I loved the aesthetic and am happy to say that the game delivers on its whimsical vibe and storytelling!

With a number of quests to complete, though Baladins is on the shorter side, I genuinely enjoyed my experience playing the game and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys turn based games and exploring new worlds.

Baladins begins by choosing a character, each of whom have different starting attributes like physique, finesse, knowledge, creativity, and destruction. The attributes are really important for influencing the character’s ability to actually get past certain challenges and complete quests. Of course when you first play, you won’t know how each character will do.

Fortunately, the game is not meant to be over the top difficult so a lot of the times, I was able to beat a challenge when I didn’t have as high points as I thought that I would need.

the first screen of the game where you pick a character in Baladins
You can see the Bard has only one physique core, but is doing pretty well in finesse!

Once you choose your character, you’re welcomed by the Baladins leader, Alda, in Mouliac, who tells you that you’ve been assigned to organize a Peace Festival (the biggest hint ever) for all of Gatherac. Except when you go to do so, a geyser explodes! Now you need to talk to different NPCs who might be able to provide items or help in figuring out what to try next to stop the geyser.

As you move throughout the map which uses up movement points, you can also stop at certain locations and use action points to grow your stats! This is a lot of fun because as you practice actions like trampling grapes at the winemaker’s castle, you might also hear rumors, of which there are many to discover.

Once you’ve used all your action and movement points, or if you choose to end the turn early, a week passes. Each “round” of the game is seven weeks, and on week seven, when you go to attend the Peace Festival, a dragon Colobra shows up! I won’t give away the plot too much, but Colobra is not pleased with the Baladins and is ravenous, so all items but one each round, must be fed to them. Oof.

(Oh and that item only stays with the character who got it originally.)

Fortunately, though Colobra is very salty for whatever reason, they send you back in time over and over again until you’re able to solve the mystery and get them enough food to finally organize the Peace Festival. Keep an eye for what they say when they eat your items though, there might just be some hints!

Overall, Baladins is absolutely delightful and every element of the game is wonderful. The music, dialogue, character design (everyone you talk to is hilarious and interesting), time loop mechanic, and details in the art of each location are lovely!

paper outlined cows in a farm in Baladins
Look at these cows. You can zoom in at every location and really focus on the details!

My only question about this game is why a turn is a week long when nothing in the game makes it look like a week has passed! It could just be seven days each week, and then you’ve got endless weeks per campaign to ferret out all the rumors, secrets, and endings for 35+ quests…

Even so, I spent at least three of my 17 loops before I finally organized the Peace Festival focusing on quests in the other three locations that you’ll visit throughout your journeys and had a ton of fun trying to unlock all the hidden endings for a certain quest that involves rivals (gasp) and secrets (double gasp)!

I can’t wait to go back and try to find the missing quests that I never came across, and get all those endings and rumors!

Baladins releases Wednesday the 15th for PC and will release for other consoles later.

Images and review copy courtesy of Armor Games Studio

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