Iron Tides Is a rogue-like tactical turn based Viking indie game. Developed by the independent studio Crash Wave Games Inc. This is the only game that they have worked on, but it’s clear to say it won’t be the last. Iron Tides is an interesting concept and take on Vikings and exploration, with a cartoony design and the godly music in the background, this game should be pleasant to the eyes and ears on many players. And hey, what’s not to like about fighting as a Viking?
There is not much of a plot to this game, but a series of quests and side quests that you take your crew on. You start with two crew members when you embark on the journey through the seas, and along the way pick up recruits from either wrecked boats, or the Great hall, where you spend the loot you earned out a seas and completing the quests, to recruit more Vikings to join your crew.
While out and see doing quests, and not in the main hub world Norhaven, you are presented with a grid map, where you explore, fight pirates and other factions, while navigating and trying to keep your stamina up, so that your crew do not die of hunger from rowing the Viking ship. You restore your stamina, by eating food, using barrels full of ale or just magic potions. While on your quests, you will also encounter little areas marked by an X, where you can explore, and when I say explore I mean this briefly, when you dock at this area, a big dialogue box will appear, with a little story, and you gain either food, a recruit or HackSilver (minor currency) or Glory (main currency, harder to come across). You can spend Glory on upgrades to Norhaven, your ship, or the amount of experience and loot you gain from battles.
The way the battle system works is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics on the Gameboy Advance, where it consist of your max of 5 recruits, moving in limited amount of space and attacking or using an ability. Some recruits, are long-range attackers, others and short-range and need to be in front of an enemy to damage them. You get three attacks for each recruit each turn, unless you use an ability which takes up more than one action bar.
When one of your recruits die, they do not respawn, I repeat they do NOT respawn, you will be stuck with one less recruit, and to me this is a major flaw to the game. Because it came to a point where I had leveled up my Valkaryie (Recruit) to level 3, and he was my strongest crew member, he died, and I was unable to continue past the 4th main quest, even when I recruited more crew members they would all die, until the game ended up giving me free crew members, which still ended up dying. This game is difficult as you can tell, very difficult. If you are an angry gamer, I suggest you buy a new keyboard and mouse, cause I nearly broke mine.
Also the campaign in Iron Tides is very short, you can complete it in less than 4 hours, but in contrast the game is indeed incomplete as it is Early Access.
Other than the main Campaign, you can play a game mode called Skirmish, which there are seven battle scenes you can play, which include the various enemy factions and your own set of chosen fighters. In contrast to Campaign mode, I was able to complete the battles in my first try. It took me about 20 minutes. Having done this once, the Skirmish mode is now completely useless since these skirmishes are identical every time you play them – same enemies, same fighters in your crew, same starting positions.
As said before, the game is cartoony, and the animations are very smooth, nothing incredible, but quite pleasant to look at, there are 5 different graphics options, nothing intricate, just simple slider, from Fastest to Beautiful, but they all look the same to me. No major difference, except for better textures in the water, no gameplay change.
The sounds, are very Viking-esque, with the Background music consisting of drumbeats, humming and plucking of strings. Not memorable at all, and when doing the main quests, quite repetitive, since it’s the same song over and over again. The battle music on the way, is more upbeat and intense, not annoying, but fitting.
Who doesn’t like Vikings? I mean come on, strong, bearded dudes swinging axes and spears. If you are a fond of Vikings, or turn-based strategy games, then I suggest you pick it up. The idea behind Iron Tides is unique, but its execution is similar to other games in this genre. It is in Early Access, meaning it could change in the future, adding multiplayer, but for now it is quite repetitive, and honestly not my cup of tea.
Written By Ramy
Ramy a.k.a TheRedPharaoh is a freelance writer who enjoys tech and gaming, especially writing about it. He inspires to be a journalist, and bring a knowledge of culture to the gaming community, to somewhat destroy cultural boundaries between gamers. Also to see the hidden cultural meanings and inspirations from games