Othercide Review – Mother, May I

Despite its gothic horror visuals and heavy metal-inspired soundtrack, Othercide is, at its core, a heartfelt story about having empathy and compassion for someone who has suffered intense trauma. It’s a game about sacrifice and hard choices, of accepting failure with the knowledge that you’ll rise again stronger. Othercide’s turn-based combat can be brutal, but at its best, it’s also intensely rewarding to master. Though it suffers from some repetitive maps and technical issues, Othercide is an impressive strategy game with an otherworldly atmosphere and rich underlying story worth diving into.

From the very start, Othercide pulls you into a grim world on the brink of collapse. A city, already devastated by plague, has now been overrun with nightmare creatures called Others and becomes the site of an apocalyptic event that shatters time and space, resulting in an in-between place called the “Dark Corner.” Together with a ghost-like being known as the Red Mother, you must command her army of Daughters in a battle against the Suffering Other and its monstrous creations. With names like Peace, Joy, and Harmony, these wide-eyed, white-haired Daughters cast a stark contrast to the forces of Suffering they face on the battlefield. Othercide does a fantastic job of establishing its horror atmosphere and introducing its main characters–the Red Mother and a Child that has merged with Suffering–in a way that immediately grabs you, compelling you to unravel its secrets.

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Memory plays a major role in Othercide, and it’s your greatest weapon. If all of your Daughters die, you’ll begin a new “recollection,” or run, that starts you on Day 1 with a brand-new set of Daughters at full HP. Thankfully, you’re not starting from scratch every time; in fact, the game is designed to help you improve with every failure and help you grow stronger. As you complete missions, you earn shards that can be used to unlock “remembrances,” which are team-wide advantages that give you a little more of an edge in battle, such as boosting damage against certain enemies or experience earned from missions. Specific ability bonuses, called “memories,” can also be directly applied to your Daughters to provide buffs or add certain effects to their attacks. Though memories don’t roll over from one recollection to the next like remembrances do, you earn them quickly through missions. The similar verbiage here can be confusing on your first few runs, but it doesn’t take too long to grasp how recollections, remembrances, and memories play a key role in overcoming the challenging combat encounters in Othercide. Early on, because you start with a new set of low-level Daughters in each run, it can feel like you’re progressing too slowly, but the introduction of more and more buffs ensures you’re never truly starting from scratch past your first recollection. And eventually, reaching certain checkpoints unlocks remembrances that allow you to start a new run with Daughters at higher levels.

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