As always I want to thank the fine folks at RoomcGames and Versus Evil for tossing me a review copy of this one. It is always appreciated and definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
Hand of Merlin plays like a lot of other RPGs. You create a party of three heroes then move around a map to individual places ( think Slay the Spire) and make decisions. Maybe it’s to help some poor folks find a wagon wheel or save them from bandits. Solving these will many times get you money, or fame. Fame is used to level up all of your characters at once.
Battles themselves play out in a tactics style and won’t win any awards for creativity. If you are a fan of them there is nothing new here to enjoy. The usual hit points and armor are present with hit points not coming back between battles outside of certain ways of healing and armor completely replenishing.
I don’t say this is a bad thing, the battle system is a lot of fun and I greatly enjoyed it. I just don’t want anyone to go into this thinking the wheel has been reinvented so to speak.
The story itself is quite basic but it serves its purpose. Inspired by Arthurian legends, Merlin is attempting to save the world from a terrible event. That is where the rouge-lite experience comes into play. Each time you fail, and by the way, losing the Holy Grail also results in a game over. I discovered that when I sold it. Anyway, if you fail Merlin will simply take off to a new part of the multiverse where you will start all over again. You pretty much lose all of the progress you made except for any heroes you unlocked or spells you unlocked.
Oddly, I don’t really have anything bad to say about this game. It is essentially average in every way I can think of. The sound, the graphics, the gameplay. It is all good. Just that, good. It isn’t in any way special or unremarkable. It is a solid 7/10 and great for any fan of rogue-lites.