Dungeon crawling is stressful work. A team of warriors assembles and explores an unmapped labyrinth where any dark corridor could be their last. So many lives are lost just from players stumbling upon a random monster at a tactical disadvantage. Hyakki Castle Developers, Asakusa Studios may have finally found a way for players to regain the upper hand.
Set in the 18th century during the Edo Period of Japan, Hyakki Castle offers a glimpse of the creepy folklore and ghost stories of the era. Players explore the halls of the eponymous castle in a suspenseful real-time dungeon crawling experience. As they explore, they face typical trap evasion, puzzle solving, and monster defeating. The method of carrying out these objectives is where things get interesting.
Divide & Conquer
In a new approach to traditional party-based battle systems, Hyakki Castle lets players split their team to utilize strategic advantages. This 2-party system allows team members to break off from the group and flank opponents. This allows players to execute pincer and other tactical attacks against enemy formations.
When the party of four encounters a deadly Yokai, one or more of them can break away from the main group. The screen splits to allow players to control and coordinate both groups simultaneously. It’s an interesting mechanic in an otherwise formulaic action title.
The developers attempt to draw on classic Ukiyoe art from the period. Unfortunately, most of the style feels lost in the jump to 3D. That said, the Japanese demons that roam the halls are creepy, if a bit robotic (at least in the trailers). Despite this, the tactical implications of the 2-party system are currently the game’s most interesting feature. Hyakki Castle is scheduled to release on Steam on November 15, 2017 for PC.