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Baladins: A Visually Stunning Game with RPG Elements and Time Loop Mechanics | PAX East

At PAX East, I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the most distinctive and visually stunning games at the event, Baladins. Its aesthetic immediately brought to mind the charming visuals of Paper Mario, while the gameplay strongly evoked the immersive and narrative-driven experience of a tabletop RPG. Although my time with the game was limited to just one loop, it was enough to pique my interest and leave me eagerly anticipating the full release of Baladins.

The game begins with choosing a character: a bard, a pyro, a cook, a dancer, and a luxomancer. Each character possesses unique starting attributes - physique (strength), finesse (performance/charisma), knowledge, creativity, and destruction. These attributes prove crucial as the game progresses, influencing my ability to overcome various challenges and complete specific quests.

Following the character selection process, I was welcomed by the leader of the Baladins. The Baladins are a band of adventurers assigned to assist the village with various tasks. Currently, their mission involves aiding the villagers in organizing a festival. At first glance, it is a straightforward task. However, there's an unmistakable aura of impending doom that hangs in the air, suggesting that this might not go as planned...

I was tasked with several quests to

help make the festival a success. One of the tasks involved convincing the winemaker to provide drinks for the party. To accomplish this, I had to spend movement points to reach the winemaker's location. Some of the quest locations were too far for me to reach in one turn, so I had to complete side quests at other locations along the way. These side quests rewarded me with additional points in various stats. I decided to focus on improving my physique, as my character (the cook) had a high level of creativity but lacked physical strength. When I finally reached the winemaker, they challenged me to a drinking contest, which involved lifting a heavy barrel of wine over my head and drinking from it. To determine the outcome of the task, I rolled dice and added my stat bonus to the roll. Unfortunately, my physique was low, and I struggled to succeed at the drinking contest. I failed multiple times until I could increase my physique stat by completing side quests. Eventually, I was able to build up my strength and successfully complete the winemaker's challenge.

During my conversation with the creative team, I discovered that Baladins could be played with up to four players. The team members can join forces to conquer quests together, adding an element of cooperation to the game. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to experience this collaborative aspect firsthand as I didn't have any fellow players to join me in my Baladins adventure at PAX.

Each turn would end after depleting my movement and action points (required for completing tasks). At the end of each turn, a week would pass. As the weeks went by, I got closer to the festival, where I would finally witness the results of my hard work. Unfortunately, I couldn't accomplish as many tasks as initially planned.

However, the festival took an unexpected turn when a dragon was awakened, causing the Baladins to be sent back in time to redo all the tasks once again. This unique loop mechanic added an interesting twist to the game, as the Baladins were the only ones aware of the time loop while the rest of the village remained oblivious.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing Baladins and eagerly look forward to the full release. For those interested, a demo is currently available on Steam, so be sure to check it out and add it to your wishlist!



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