Appearances are deceptive. Behind the cute face of Waven is a tactical role-playing game with many possibilities.
Waven: Tactical role-playing in a light-hearted setting
With games like Dofus and Wakfu, the French publisher Ankama Games has established itself especially on its home market. But the light-hearted comic-style games are also popular in other countries, such as Germany or Spain. Now the company is expanding the so-called Krozmos universe, in which these two games, among others, are set, with another title. With Waven, which is being developed by NewTales, elements of a turn-based, tactical role-playing game are combined with deckbuilding and multiplayer influences. We were now allowed to take a first look.
The world of Waven has been through a terrible tragedy. After a cataclysmic catastrophe, a great flood has inundated the "World of Twelve", leaving only the highest points as small land masses. Only a few tribes survived, but the remaining inhabitants have resigned themselves to their fate and have long since returned to building a new world. If it weren't for a new threat that threatens this endeavor. Monsters rise from the depths and endanger the delicate plant of peace.
This is where you come in. As a hero in Waven, it's up to you to discover the secrets of the "World of Twelve", dismantle them and avert any threats. You already lay the foundation for this when you create your character. You determine the race and thus also the different perks that are available to you, which will give you advantages in combat and beyond. With the choice of class, you determine the rough orientation of your character. You can choose from the classics archer, warrior, rogue and so on. After that, you decide on a character with predefined starting values or, better said, choose your difficulty level and, last but not least, you determine the gender of your warrior. Then you're ready to go.
Of course, not all areas are open to you at the beginning of the game. They will be unlocked bit by bit, for example when you complete certain quests or fulfill other requirements. To do this, you talk to the various NPCs that are everywhere. Besides exploring the islands, the combat system and the associated deckbuilding is THE core element of Waven. However, the developers define the term deckbuilding very broadly. It would be more accurate to call it loadout, because you don't just assemble stacks of cards with spells. The system also includes the selection of companions, pets, weapons and equipment. Depending on the area you travel to and the monsters you encounter, you'll need different compositions and upgrades. Finding the right mix here and getting the most out of your abilities is especially interesting for tactics and strategy fans. So always grab the loot that enemies leave behind or that you find in the game world. A special feature is that these decks can be swapped back and forth between the self-created characters. For example, if you're not satisfied with the archer and would rather go through the area with a warrior, you can fall back on decks you've already created.
While you can otherwise move around freely, the actual combat takes place in the classic turn-based manner on the 7x7 grid. Depending on your position and ability, you'll have to decide whether a defensive or offensive action makes more sense. The use of companions, spells and your own weapons offers plenty of opportunities to act tactically smart on the grid. Blindly rushing in may lead to success with early opponents, but at the latest with the first big chunk, a well thought-out strategy is needed. A bit of luck is also necessary, because even if you are allowed to prepare various cards with spells, it is determined by chance which cards will end up in your "hand" in battle. Again, there is a special feature here. Some spells have elemental points that are credited when the spell is used. If enough of them have been collected, a companion can be used. If that doesn't lead to success either, up to three friends can be invited to support you in the fight.
Speaking of multiplayer elements: Not only will you be able to interact with other players in the PvE mode, where you'll follow the game's story. There is also a PvP mode, in which you'll compete with others. However, progress for your character won't be made there. It depends entirely on your skill. Unfortunately, the developers couldn't show us how this works yet. We were only allowed to see some stills. But the skirmishes against other players will take place in a kind of arena and are also otherwise relatively detached from the PvE mode. Furthermore, a kind of tower defense mode is planned, called "Island Defense". Here you create a deck to defend your island, similar to PvE. An AI then takes over the defense, so you don't have to become active yourself. The good thing, however, is that you don't lose any of your own resources if you are defeated. Instead, the attacker gets his loot based on your level.
The developers put a lot of emphasis on making Waven a lighthearted gaming experience. This is not only reflected in the way loot is distributed in Island Defense. In general, you can hardly lose anything. Even if you cancel a fight, all the things you've earned up to that point, such as experience, loot and so on, remain in your possession. So if you find games like Dark Souls and the like too frustrating, you'll love Waven. In addition, the entire game is peppered with word jokes and the enemies are designed to be threatening, but always cute. Furthermore, the microtransactions for the free-to-play game are almost exclusively found in the cosmetic environment. While some things can be done faster with the use of real money, all gameplay-relevant elements and gameplay mechanics can also be enjoyed for free.
If you've played Wakfu or Dofus, the visual presentation will look familiar. The comic style has a high recognition value and fits seamlessly into the Krozmos universe. The partly cute animations contribute a lot to the carefree atmosphere. However, the environments could use a few more details. In return, both a French and English voice output is offered at the start. Of course, there are also English subtitles.