— Worldwalker Games

The role-playing game genre grew out of tabletop RPG games like Dungeons & Dragons, but it often feels like they left the most interesting parts behind in the transition from paper to screen. Digital RPGs as a whole sometimes feel like they’re defined by making your character’s stats bigger so they can hold increasingly elaborate swords. While that may be true in some cases, that often means the actual role-playing side of the equation gets ignored. Not so with this excellent TTRPG-inspired game, Wildermyth, which is currently part of the Steam Autumn Sale for $17.49, 30% off its sticker price of $25.

What sets Wildermyth apart is how the game weaves together a tale of your party’s heroics, rather than focusing on how many monsters they had to slay along the way. Developer Worldwalker Games describes it as a “procedural storytelling RPG,” and that focus on narrative over Wildermyth’s (also great) tactical combat is what defines it.

Players start their journey in Wildermyth by choosing from a few preset campaigns that may have them start by escaping a cult’s cavernous base or fighting in a friendly tournament, for example. This preset not only determines the makeup of the player’s starting party, but also whether they’ll eventually be fighting inter-dimensional insect hordes or rampaging bio-mechanical monsters, just to name a few options.

At the outset of a campaign, players build not just their own character, but the whole party that’s setting off on the adventure. Whether they’re creating friends, rivals, or family members, players have total control over each party member, from their class to their personality and potential love interests.

Whether you choose one of Wildermyth’s default stories or a completely randomized campaign, there’s very little to say for certain about how your game will go from there.

As players travel Wildermyth’s overworld map, they encounter a random assortment of events that go far beyond turn-based battles and quests securing towns from invaders. The party can just as easily encounter an unexpected enemy on the road as stumble upon a magical gem holding new powers or a curse.

What makes Wildermyth stand out is how well it ties together its procedurally generated plot beats into a compelling RPG campaign adventure. Unlike many other games, where characters quickly move through the story and seem to largely forget what happened before, Wildermyth’s events often have lasting consequences that can change the tone of the entire campaign.

That magical gem you found? You can shove it in your eye socket to better see your enemies’ weaknesses and watch as more and more of your hero’s body transforms into crystal. Live through enough events, and your party might consist of a werewolf, a humanoid plant, and a warrior of living stone.

Magical events aside, a big part Wildermyth’s charm is how character relationships develop over the course of a campaign, which can span decades of in-game time. Characters can fall in and out of love with each other, become vicious rivals, or even have children together. It’s these relationships that sew Wildermyth’s random events together, making the whole game a story about the characters more than merely the world-shaking events happening around them. It may not perfectly emulate the experience of playing a tabletop RPG, but Wildermyth’s focus on party dynamics and emergent narrative makes it as close as you’re likely to get to a pen-and-paper game in digital form.

Given enough time, characters will even age and eventually retire or even pass away, either in battle or through story events. At the same time, some of their children may grow and eventually join the adventure themselves.

At the game’s end, players can choose to make a party member a “Legacy” character, meaning they become available to join future games, bringing all their experiences with them.

To bring Wildermyth even closer to its tabletop roots, it also includes a co-op mode, like this year’s hit RPG, Baldur’s Gate 3. In co-op, each player controls their own characters, bringing some of the conflict and chaos that defines TTRPGs into the mix. Even having played quite a few single player campaigns, I wasn’t quite prepared for the drama that ensued when, in a three-player campaign, the party member of fellow Inverse writer Willa Rowe was controlling broke things off with her girlfriend’s character to declare her love for my hero.

If you, too, want an RPG that will make things weird with your friends, now is a great time to pick Wildermyth. You only have until the end of the Steam Autumn Sale on November 28 to get it for $17.49, which is 30 percent off its normal price of $25. Whether you recruit your friend group to play with you or venture out solo, Wildermyth might be the closest you get to the joys of tabletop RPGs without breaking out the actual dice.

Wildermyth is available on Mac and PC through Steam, and a Nintendo Switch version is currently in the works. It’s included in the Steam Autumn Sale until November 28.

Share This