Wildermyth Review – Tales From The Tabletop Live On

A great tabletop role-playing game session, I believe, will always end with a story to remember and events you and fellow players remember. But more particularly, the stories and events the players themselves influence and add on top of whatever the game master sets up in the campaign.

Wildermyth, this little new indie title by Worldwalker Games, may have just encapsulated the magical moments from tabletop role-playing, into a tactical RPG. What it ends up is a procedurally-powered story maker with XCOM-style strategy tactics combat.

It works wonderfully well.


Wildermyth is an indie game that was first released on Steam Early Access, and remnants of it being a work-in-progress can, unfortunately, be seen here and there. The options and menu buttons are basic, the font choices for the UI are of a practical choice rather than stylistic.

(But there are stylistic choices of fonts which are done well, I’m more a bit annoyed at how barebones the UI can feel at times).

The game also hiccups a bit as it loads in assets. It can also happen as it re-render all text just as you change your character name in some parts.

Now, ignore a bit of the scaffolding that’s still left from the Early Access phase, and you’ll see a simple but expressive art style. Wildermyth’s soft colour tones look like from a print of an old book, filled with tales to tell. Characters are cardboard cutouts that are flipped with only slight changes to facial expressions. But that constraint still makes the characters fill with.. character, and enemy bosses are appropriately big and intimidating, despite being 2D artwork.

The music does not have the force of a full orchestra, because it doesn’t need them. One powerful violin performance can be enough to tug your heartstrings to whatever emotion the scene wanted. The soundtrack is intimate, cosy, and perfect for its scale.

And I also like its distinct flavour of writing. It’s fantasy, but not high-fantasy with people speaking hoity-toity medieval speak. There’s lore and weird terms and languages in the world of Wildermyth, but isn’t overly indulge itself with its own jargon.

Most of the writing has this flair that reminds me of an American children’s book. Delivered in simple comic-book panels.

The word choices, the scenes, the writing, feel like you are reading a captivating storybook. A storybook that uses just enough words, not more, not less. And you just want it to keep going, but it knows when to stop. And whatever gap the story has, your engaged mind will fill in the blanks.


Wildermyth is an RPG with a procedural story and XCOM-like combat. You start an adventure with three characters you can customise, all filling in the classic trifecta of RPG archetypes- the warrior, the hunter, and the mystic.

The core gameplay loop, however, is very much XCOM. XCOM 2, in particular. You get a world map where your party will spend time travelling. But each campaign, the enemies you face will grow stronger over time.

The enemy factions will build a deck of cards, each either adding a new enemy type or making existing enemy types stronger. Every specific interval of days, the enemies will add more cards (so there’s time pressure). And in some parts of the campaign, enemies will always get stronger after a successful combat encounter which you cannot stop. These are called Calamities.

There are a lot of similarities to XCOM 2’s Avatar Project meter, and how the game will add in buffs to enemies over time and you’re not far off. Wildermyth can be played very similarly to those kinds of strategy tactics games.

You do get to do more on the world map screen, however. You can split up your party to cover more ground faster. The party can spend time to reinforce the area, claim the area for the townfolks and build bridges and passages to navigate over rivers and mountains respectively.

You can also spend time crafting weapons and gear, though it’s much better to just get those in-between chapters and get new gear from random loot after battles instead.

Not Just Another Strategy Tactics RPG

As for the combat, it is also fundamentally similar to that game I will now avoid mentioning anymore. But you don’t play it like that, simply because of how different the classes and abilities work in Wildermyth.

The most different has to be how mystics fight. Rather than having a pool of abilities to use, mystics need to interfuse with objects around the battlefield. When they are interfused, you then can make use of attack or defensive abilities. Interfuse a pile of clothing and you can magical constrict enemies. Interfuse with a lit lantern to steal the fire and place it on enemies or make it as a trap.

Instead of seeing these objects as pieces of cover (which they still are), mystics use these miscellaneous items as their source of power. Cover really is most useful for hunters, as the warriors should be tanky enough to be a walking cover for allies). This also makes them the most situational of the three classes. In some maps, your highly specialised mystic can do big damage and use advanced spells that require specific objects. In others, well, hope you give them the right gear to compensate for this.

Wildermyth’s combat may seem like a derivative at first, but it actually is very distinct from its source of inspiration. Hunters and warriors also have quite a variety of abilities they can learn. While the game may only have three classes per se, there are enough abilities (and weapons) that you can make wildly different builds.

The first campaign may feel easy on the default difficulty settings if you’ve played a bunch of strategy tactics RPGs. But be warned- later story campaigns will test you with hordes upon hordes of enemies where rushing head-first will be severely punished. But there are difficulty options you can tweak. There is a variant of ironman mode (or “carved in stone” as it’s called here) should you really want to do a no save-scum run.

Tales From The Tabletop

But what makes Wildermyth so spectacular to me is the story. As mentioned before, the writing is simple and straightforward as it is emotional and captivating. And what makes it much more memorable are the many story vignettes that you encounter with your created characters, which you can make choices in.

At its core, it’s essentially a list of story vignettes the game has in a pool where it matches your current party composition with any specific scenario. Have two lovers travel together, and you’ll encounter a story featuring another couple and peek into their love life, for example. Have two rivals together and they’ll banter and take jabs on each other. Have three, four characters travel together instead of a pair and different story vignettes pop up. All with a title (so you will know if it’s a repeat or not), all fit with the character’s personality you have, and all will result in some character development.

I love that in some of the lovers’ story, I like my lovey-dovey couple noting how a third-wheeler the other starter character is in their journey. And since each character has a set of personalities types they can have, some of the fluff and character interaction in these scenes are also personalised to match.

I was recruiting a goofball to join the party, and they pulled a prank on the recruiting team at the behest of the party’s current resident goofball. That was cute.

There are also some life-changing events, which even includes transforming your character into some other physical form, or gaining pet companions. You can opt-out, or embrace the wild paths that transformations may take you.

There are choices to make during the story vignettes. Some are skill checks that you can pass or fail spectacularly. Some will build relationships- a new love interest, friendship or perhaps a new rivalry (both providing combat bonuses).

Choices are not limited to just in stories. Should a character has fallen in combat, you can make choices too. You can have them retreat at the cost of a permanent debuff (lost limbs, stat decrease, lose a powerful weapon), or have them die while providing a last-hurrah- like a powerful attack.

The story events do repeat, however, should you start a new campaign again. And some may trigger either too quickly in the new run. Maybe I was not creative enough with making different character types and dynamics. But I wish there are certain measures to not allow a repeated story event to appear way too early in the next campaign. So that it continues to give an illusion of how vast the story vignette collection you still yet to see.

The Power Of The Time Skip

But procedurally story vignettes is not the only trick Wildermyth has with its storytelling. Your campaign can last for three or five chapters long, and in between that, there is a time skip.

Your heroes will have to conquer the chapter’s challenge and give the land years of peace, and once that’s done they go back to their ordinary lives. Some may have children (who later joins your party). Some may have seen too much adventuring and decided to retire, leaving the party permanently.

But everyone grows older, with stat changes to reflect that, as well as the visible wrinkles and grey hair to match.

It’s this progression of time that makes Wildermyth so hard to put down. You’ve won! You get (some) peace and quiet! You see the characters with their Powerpoint presentation-style endings! But that’s not the end yet!

The chapter breaks make you feel like you’re playing a sequel with these familiar faces, changed with age and events from the previous game. The world gets bigger too, and you can make the party stronger with gear upgrades before you begin the next chapter.

Games with time skips are nothing new. The Fire Emblem series, also a strategy tactics RPG, uses this trope a lot. But there’s an extra layer of investment in Wildermyth. This is your story, tailored to your character creations, with choices you made for them. In truth, it may not be as unique to you as it may seem, but that doesn’t matter.

That’s the power of telling stories via spreadsheets and data points. Wildermyth’s story has the same appeal to what makes people addicted to Football Manager, or the XCOM series, and to some certain extent, Watch Dogs: Legion due to the play as anyone system. It makes you invested in a collection of data points, all connected to tell a procedurally generated story.

These are not just generic paper cutouts once you’re five hours in. These are characters in your universe, each with their own character development from past adventures you’ve played through.


A three-chapter campaign of Wildermyth can last five hours long, with the normal five-chapter run just a bit more than that. The game features five different story campaigns, all featuring one of the five enemy factions as the main baddie.

You can also run a three-chapter or five-chapter campaign that’s all relying on procedural events.

Once you finish a campaign, you’ll basically have seen a full gameplay loop of Wildermyth. So no additional mechanics or features will be unlocked on further playthroughs. Just that the legends of your existing pull of characters will continue to grow.

But that isn’t a bad thing. Wildermyth has quite the variety of weird events, story vignettes and other twists of events that’s worth coming back to.

Also, you can play Wildermyth with friends via multiplayer. If your friends have a copy of the game, you can connect to a session and run a campaign together. You can even assign players to control specific characters, making it more like a table-top session. Steam Remote Play is supported too, where you can have friends take turns to control what’s effectively a single-player session.

Wildermyth has mod support, so even if the five story campaigns have started to feel samey, you can inject more content from the wild selection available on Steam Workshop.

Personal Enjoyment

I immensely enjoy my time with Wildermyth. Though I would probably enjoy it more should I took my time in between starting campaigns. Things get ridiculously samey very quick when you are playing each new campaign one after the other, the repeated events are much more noticeable.

But my first few Wildermyth campaigns was an absolute joy to experience first-hand. The characters have enough consistency that I start to get attached to them. Seeing them grow older after each chapter feels me with joy as well as pain. They may be adventurers out to save the world, but they are also human beings that live normal lives during times of peace.

Seeing your past characters being reincorporated into the story, either as selectable party members or just background characters, also makes me care more about Wildermyth. They’ll return as their younger self, with experience and some of the gear from previous adventures.

It’s the same kind of hype from seeing a cameo appearance by the previous cast in a new Power Rangers episode. As in: “Oh yeah, it’s that guy! That guy from last season is here again to do cool stuff! Let’s go!”

Wildermyth’s capability in generating stories is simply brilliant, making use of simple, customisable characters that are then plugged into well-written scenarios and stories.


Wildermyth’s epic tales evoke the fun of a tabletop role-playing session with strong fundamental gameplays inspired by the great games in the strategy tactics/tactical RPG genre.

With its charming presentation, a strong gameplay loop and its well-executed story generation system, the tales of Wildermyth will hook you into saving the world again and again. Just to see your beloved characters in new adventures. And then share these wild tales of myths and legends with friends.

Wildermyth excellently replicates the experience of a table-top RPG with its own spin and flair. What a wonderful surprise of a game to be released in 2021.

Review based on PC version. Review copy provided by the publisher



Wildermyth excellently replicates the experience of a table-top RPG with its own spin and flair.

  • Presentation 8.5
  • Gameplay 9
  • Content 8.5
  • Personal Enjoyment 10

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