The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse

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The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse on Steam

MSRP: Chapter One – free; Season Pass – $17.99

Platforms: Windows, Mac

Release: 4/22/16


The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse combines the storytelling of a visual novel, quests, equipment, and skills from an RPG, and the combat of a collectible card game. It’s an intriguing mash-up of game types, and it works far better than I expected to.  The first chapter serves as the game’s demo – with a playtime of about an hour – and is free to download on Steam.

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You play as Elisabeth, a woman living in a time of trouble, whose father has just died and decides to go out looking for her four brothers, each of whom had left to find their fortunes. Completing quests will award you with experience that can be spent on new abilities, and items.

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Inventory space seems to be unlimited, but you can only equip one weapon, one armor, and two accessories at a time.  The items you have equipped determine what cards you have in your deck to draw from during combat.

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The bar at the top left of the screen determines action order, and on your turn (when the portrait of a party member reaches the larger frame at the right end of the bar), you may play one card from your hand.   There are cards that do damage, cards that heal, and cards that provide status effects.  Some cards do more than one thing.  Mousing over a card will create a pop up that explains status effects you may see on cards.  When an enemy plays a card, it appears briefly on the right edge of your screen.

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So far, only chapters 1 – 3 have been released, but a season pass is available for purchase which will include all five chapters. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of episodic game releases; I don’t like being forced to leave something unfinished. However,  I was impressed enough by my time in the first chapter that I am likely to purchase the season once it’s been released in its entirety.

The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse is an unusual indie effort with gorgeous artwork and an interesting story.  While I’m not sure there’s enough game here for the $18 asking price of the season pass, having the first chapter available for free is a fantastic try-before-you-buy option, and I like the concept well enough to keep my eye on this game (and future efforts from this developer).

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