I’ve been steadily working my way through Wildermyth during my vacation. I meant to play a bunch of other games during my winter vacation time, but I wound up getting sucked back into Wildermyth thanks to a combination of my Wednesday night gaming evening with a friend and watching the VODs of a collection of the Friends at the Table crew playing through one of the stories (something they started doing as one of the donation goals from their charity stream back in July). I don’t regret it, aside from how much I’ve wrecked my sleep schedule by “one more task before I stop for the night”-ing my way to four in the morning, because it’s a lot of fun to grind my way through mechanically and narratively. The battles are satisfying, the random events are interesting, and the storytelling is always fun to read through. It really is just a great game to sink my time into.
One of the coolest parts of the game is how it will let you carry characters over from one game to the next. Whenever you finish a story (either one of the large narrative stories featuring one of the enemy types in the game or a procedurally generated one with no strict narrative), you can save as many of your characters from that campaign as you’d like, turning them into Legacy Characters. They default to level 1, but you have the option to promote them as time goes on, based on the story you finished and how many Legacy Points (a resource you accumulate by doing narrative beats or completing story events) you have left at the end of the story. I just finished one this morning (on the day I wrote this) that allowed me to promote five characters, thanks to the absolutely bonkers number of legacy points I had by the end.
The whole reason you promote them is to raise the base level they enter the game at. If your legacy character is a level 3 (denoted by 3 stars on their character card), they start the game at third level and you can bring them in with any 3 of their previously acquired abilities. Plus, if they have some kind of partial transformation (everything ranging from animal transformations to elemental transformation, to even more), you can bring in any abilities related to that transformation and continue advancing it, usually with a mix of positive and negatives like any balanced game mechanic. For instance, my favorite character (they were one of the first I made) has mostly turned into a fire being. All that is still meat and bone is their torso and their right arm, which is useful since you can’t hold weapons in most transformed limbs (ultimately depending on the transformation, of course), but they still get the benefits of being immune to environmental fire and being able to do a pretty powerful multi-target fire attack right at the start of the game.
Even though it is super tempting to bring in a legacy character any time I have the option, the procedural generation mechanics for new random characters, their relationships with their allies, the story events that can drive their lives, and so on, all make it incredibly fun to make new characters. I wound up making one of my favorite characters right at the end of the last story I played through, a sassy melee fighter woman who was always too under-leveled to be useful in most fights but wound up being exactly the powerhouse I needed in a couple of smaller, off-story tasks and battles I dealt with. She wound up being way more useful than the character she was romantically entangled with, a fighter two to three levels higher than her who just never seemed to be able to do anything I needed him to do despite all the great gear he had. Sure, most of that is just me interpreting random chance as ability or utility, but it really sends a message when one character always gets lucky and another character always has terrible luck.
Another great aspect of the game is the customization options. Most of what builds a character is their personality traits, most of which vary in a way that can be a bit difficult to follow beyond the stacking order of which traits are closest to the top (and have the correspondingly highest numbers associated with them). I’m not sure what the numbers mean or what they do, but they definitely alter the way the characters interact with the world around them. Beyond that, you can designate their gender (male, female, or non-binary) and the game smoothly swaps pronouns and verb cases around as needed. Not a single one of those options is, in any way, tied to the appearance of your characters. You can do any combination of hair, facial hair, body, voice (mostly for grunts and exclamations in battle), height, width, gender, coloration (hair, skin, clothing), and more. Plus, you can change those at any time.
The game isn’t that expensive and they occasionally do updates, adding new content and stories to the game (major story arcs and minor random story events) as time passes. I’ve yet to find out if there’s an end in sight for this development or if there will eventually be DLC or a new copy of the game to buy, but right now it’s just fun to get prompted with new content whenever it appears. They said, about a year ago, that there’s going to be a version out for the Switch at some point, but I can’t find any more recent news about the game to confirm or deny that earlier statement. Right now, it’s just on steam (though I’m sure you can purchase it through other services), but it is compatible with all operating systems, which is nice. It’s honestly a very play-friendly game, even including a number of different multiplayer options. Technically, you only need one copy to play with other people, but the multiplayer options available when everyone has their own copy offers a better experience. I suggest giving the game a try since it’s only about $25 when it’s not on sale and the relatively light weight of the game’s system requirements means that just about any computer should be able to play it, not just dedicated gaming machines.