We at MMGaming love early access games. It gives us a good taste of what fun feature complete games to expect in the future and the added bonus of (hopefully) being fun while still in early access. So what happens to all those games that we tried out in early access years ago? The ones that may have been popular for a time on their early access release but have gone under the radar since then? Let’s see where some of these games are now… Starting with Folk Tale!
First played – 2nd June 2013
I refer the honourable gentleman to the YouTube video above which shows a strapping young lad playing the alpha of Folk Tale. As you can see, in my sprightly youth 3 years ago I enjoyed the game, even if I felt some of the systems were confused and the content lacking, nothing that 3 years in early access can fix! The potential was there for a solid RTS with RPG elements which is a genre that generally doesn’t fair too well.
How is it now?
I first need to say, Folk Tale is still in Alpha. ALPHA. Can you believe it? It’s been 3 years and the game is still in alpha, let me tell you right now that isn’t a good sign. Booting up I went straight into campaign mode. I was tasked with building up my small humble beginnings of a village and slaying a horrible bandit. If that doesn’t tell you that the story is poor then I don’t know what will. When has an RTS ever had a good story though (bar Warcraft 3 of course). I plowed ahead building up my village and controlling my hero, the story then went further into a fantasy tedium by pitting nature vs undead, with a plot twist that the undead is actually a corporation making shoes. This did slightly amuse me but I won’t be playing the campaign just for the story that is for sure. Having had a jaunt in campaign mode I tried out the sandbox.
I feel it’s worth saying that Folk Tale reminds me heavily of Spellbound, a classic RTS from way back when that combined heroes and RTS mechanics into a surprisingly enjoyable, if not fiendishly difficult game. Folk Tale takes the heroes bit one step further, allowing each of your individual units to have its own inventory. This sounds like a fantastic idea in my head, I can finally level up a lowly city watch man to become a hero among the greats, or a lowly peasant rises through the ranks to become a great lord. Unfortunately there are very few “quality of life” mechanics implemented in the game yet. By that I mean that each individual inventory needs to be micromanaged, there is no comparison charts for gear and an abundance of gear that is seemingly useless (why have in the loot tables a pickaxe that only a miner can use, when they already have pickaxes?) and no way to quickly place gear on characters. This means every time you lose a guy, and you will lose many, you have to reassign all of their gear. This completely put me off assigning any kind of loot to anybody other than my respawning hero.
Anyway back to the scenario, it basically involved my building up my village once again however from scratch. The base building aspect is reasonably enjoyable now. I built up my town foolishly forgetting the need for clothes and eventually everybody started a mass exodus at which point I shat myself and promptly built all the necessary buildings. The graphics and ease of use have certainly improved a great deal, and the underlying systems seem better in place. The sandbox ended up being rather boring, I had a few small spiders attack my village but not much else and when I went out raiding I felt rather underwhelmed with the combat. Despite the graphics being reasonable the combat seemed boring and slow with quite unimaginative enemy design. I ended my sandbox session with a huge base and not much else, I think that just shows where the games strength lies. The developers also haven’t implemented a map yet, which in my mind is absolutely essential for an RTS base builder and should really have been a priority a long time ago. A few other problems arose involving finding and assigning workers and combat units, I’d say it’s difficult to complain about a game in alpha but I feel that excuse has long worn off.
Overall I went in with higher expecations that I should have, I saw promise in Folk tale 3 years ago but far too little has happened since then. The developers may well fix all of the problems that I mentioned above however I won’t be waiting another 3 years to find out.
Disclaimer: Folk Tale was provided to us free of charge by the developer for review purposes.