We look at why this beautifully hand-drawn RPG might just be a hidden gem.
Discovering Abardon - A Strategic RPG with a Unique Handcrafted Charm
Sometimes, amidst all of the new crowdfunded titles, indie games, and AAA releases, a hidden gem can pass by without the fanfare it deserves. The browser-based strategy RPG Abardon is one of those such games. Abardon is not a game for fans of hack-and-slash combat or non-stop arrow dodging chaos. But what Abardon does, it does excellently. It is a game with charms as nuanced and understated as its hand-drawn art style. And if you’re an RPG gamer with a penchant for planning, tactics, and clever strategy, you may have just struck gold.
The gently coloured handcrafted aesthetic gives a charming indie feel to a game whose DIY mechanics are reminiscent of early MUD games and text-based games.
Abardon: Key Features
- A lovingly crafted aesthetic with a gentle nostalgic charm
- A satisfying learn-as-you-play ethos free from annoying tutorials
- Dedicated strategy and attention required for success in unique round-based combat
- Detailed post-battle combat analysis providing the data to improve and excel
The Story of Abardon
Before we get too carried away digging into why we enjoy Abardon so much, let’s take a look at the game world, narrative and lore. Abardon is a deeply divided land; endless battles have created a land where once united tribes are now hostile and isolated. While the war between the Tarnotians and Vyndarn supposedly ended 300 years ago, tensions remain high and each faction clings onto their own religious prophecy of victory.
While civilisation may not yet be thriving, the dark days of the war are turning into but a distant memory for most of the inhabitants of the lands. Villages, storehouses, and temples to opposing gods grow larger, and as does the clamouring for war. As the beat of the war drums rings louder, players will need to find their place in a dangerous, mystical and exciting world – and ultimately decide which of the holy rulers shall claim his god-given throne.
Abardon is not a game for frenetic non-stop combat lovers. It’s a strategic RPG ripe with distinguishing features and a satisfying turn-based combat system. After choosing a character from one of twelve races, players will be able to put their mettle to the test against increasingly difficult foes as well as against players from around the world.
Gaining a strategic edge against monsters in the wilderness and claiming the title of the ultimate warrior of Abardon requires preparation and strategy. There are nine different skills to train which will allow players to overcome greater challenges. Combining this training with the ideal loadout (there are hundreds of items available) should give most players a fighting chance, especially if they’ve taken the time to master enough of Abardon’s devastating spells.
To truly excel, however, players will need to go one step further. By designing their own combat strategies that combine the best of defensive, aggressive, and support abilities, players will be able to excel against even Abardon’s most fearsome bosses. Combat works in rounds, and players must take each round into account at the offset. A waste of a healing spell in an early round could spell certain defeat against the wrong enemy type. One of Abardon’s unique features is the ability to view a combat report, highlighting strengths and weaknesses in strategy while giving players a route to improvement.
Moreover, while fans of browser games are all-too-often taken advantage of with brutal pay-to-win mechanics, Abardon proudly boasts a lack of pay-to-win. There is both a completely free version and a paid premium membership. However, the advantages of paid premium have been selected so as only to provide a few practical leg-ups and time-savers (e.g. more energy, shorter training times, additional combat strategy memory slots). That said, premium membership does also offer the ability to simulate combat, which is certainly advantageous.
Abardon’s Unique Charm
Browser games all too often rely on tried-and-tested formulas. While parts of Abardon are rough around the edges, that serves to compliment its charm. The gently coloured handcrafted aesthetic gives a charming indie feel to a game whose DIY mechanics are reminiscent of early MUD games and text-based games. They’re reminiscent of an era before every game felt the need to provide an annoyingly long and patronising introduction. Instead, part of the fun of Abardon is working it out as you go along.
In an era where mass produced heartless games are the dish of the day, Abardon feels like a game crafted with love by developers with a passion for gaming. It pays homage to old-school RPGs while still introducing novel and unique fantasy elements. As you progress through the game, discovering new creatures and new game elements after levelling up feels exciting.
In fact, these old-school roots stem from Abardon’s predecessor - a discontinued game called Superfighter. Many of Superfighter’s players have rediscovered and rejoined Abardoned a full fifteen years later.
Another element of Abardon’s charm is the satisfying feeling of successfully tinkering with your battle tactics. You learn more about your foes as you go along. And while it’s possible to just take your time and slowly level up, with the right plan you can adapt and destroy great foes without grinding. That makes executing a killer strategy all the more gratifying.
It will be fascinating to see where the game will lead. The developers are currently releasing monthly updates in response to community demands. The last couple of months of updates, for example, provided customization for revealing monster abilities, provided info on magic values for non-premium players (a fan-requested feature), updates to the arena, and a whole bunch of performance optimizations and bug fixes
Abardon is developed by the small Swiss developers ChrikeAG. Visit their website or follow their Instagram and Twitter for more updates. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on Abardon as it progresses.
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