Developed by Laki Studios and published by Goblinz Publishing and Surefire.Games, Oaken is a turn-based strategy tactic roguelite. Inside of the Great Oak we must fight for its preservation.
Oaken literally means “made of oak wood”. Inside this great oak there is a mythological place, far away from laws of time and space. It lies among the branches of the Great Oak, and its inhabitants are spirits who hear the same voice: the Song of the Oak.
But suddenly that voice shuts up, setting off a chain of events leading to a conflict.
Our task will be to ride the lightning and find a way to save or destroy the oak.
Celtic Mythology, Spirit Guides and Cards
Oaken is strongly inspired by Celtic mythology: spirits of the forest, fey, pixies and other creatures are the main protagonists of this game.
We play as the Lady: a creature awakened after this mysterious event. Her task is to fight twisted creatures and discover the mystery behind the silence of the oak.
She will not fight alone. There are spirit guides to help her, and some of them can be unlocked during the adventure.
The first spirit we will meet is Aya. The leader of the front line against the eclipse, she’s swift and resolute. A real brave warrior!
The other spirit is Enju. He’s old enough to remember the young days of the oak and is very old, but can help with his wisdom.
There will be other creatures in our army. We can select them and use them as cards, so are the spells.
BattleGround, Actions and Movements
Like every turn-based strategy tactic game, we have a terrain made of hexagonal tiles and we can move between them.
We start the first turn only with our protagonist model and four cards from the deck plus the Spirit Guides. With cards we can summon creatures or cast spells.
Every summonable model or spell has different abilities and two values: attack power on the left and life points on the right.
These cards have a cost in lumi points. It’s important to learn to manage these resources and save them for the next turn.
During our turn we can move through tiles in six directions, and even choose the line of sight of the model. Models can attack in melee and deal damage equal to their attack value.
But be careful! Your model will still suffer damage from the attacked one equal to the enemy attack power.
Another important thing! The models can only attack or cast from the three lines in front of the model. The three on his back are uncovered, so if an enemy model approaches from behind you only suffer damage. If you master the strategy you can encircle the enemy and attack without taking damage.
Roguelite Elements and Empowering System
In addition to the strategic-tactical elements, we have the roguelite ones too.
The protagonist has passive abilities, active skills and trinkets slot.
After some events, you will randomly receive one of these to permanently empower your character. New cards to add to the deck may also appear as a reward.
Every chapter has a random generated path with different events to choose from.
Events differ from each other and they are linked to each other. Players can choose their path which will always lead to a tough final boss battle.
There are normal fights, hard ones, mini boss fights and safe zones when we can recover energy or take powerups.
During the adventure you’ll gain lumi points to heal or empower you or your cards.
If you find Wisps you can upgrade your cards and make them stronger.
Don’t Stress the Deck!
During a battle if you use a spell or one of your models dies, the related card becomes stressed and unstable. Better not use it anymore or it will be unusable for the next battles, and the cards have a finite number. As always, learn to manage.
Your character and allies can be fatigued too and lose vital points. But thanks to lumi points you can restore them.
Easy to learn, Hard to Master
Despite its colorful and graceful graphics, thanks also to inspiring and reassuring soundtracks, Oaken can be very cruel and hard. Strategy, predict and know the opponents moves, good positioning and resource management are essential in order not to fail.
Although it is challenging, the satisfaction after a victory will be great.
Oaken is still in early access and there’s an available free demo too.
If you like strategy, management and roguelites, give it a chance.
May the Spirits guide you!