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Drinking In the Massive Chalice Demo at PAX Prime 2014


Drinking In the Massive Chalice Demo at PAX Prime 2014

When the words ‘Double Fine Kickstarter’ are mentioned, for most video game fans Broken Age would be the title that comes to mind. However, indie gaming’s most loveable studio has also been hard at work on another title that is soon to be released. Massive Chalice is a turn-based multi-generational strategy game, and there was a playable demo of it available on the show floor. I had the chance to check it out, and it offered a great glimpse into what promises to be an indeed massive title.

In terms of gameplay, the easiest comparable is XCOM with its turn-based combat and tactical approach to attacking and cover seeking. The demo here began a couple of generations into the main story, so players would get the chance to see it in action without a whole lot of preamble. My team consisted of a variety of characters; one ranged hunter with a bow and arrow, a heavy melee fighter with a giant club, and some regular fighters with blades.

Having dropped a number of hours into XCOM, figuring out the basic controls and mechanics was not difficult. As I discovered my first enemies, I scrambled to find cover with as many characters as possible. There was a good variety of enemy types on display; big melee types, ranged fighters, and suicide bombers that blast corrosive goo within an area of effect.

He will be the hero of the empire...or not.

He will be the hero of the empire…or not.

In the process of figuring out which enemy does what, as well as learning my varied moves, I lost a few characters. As with people in Fire Emblem games, once they’re gone they’re gone, so the stakes are higher than in your typical experience. Along with characters becoming stronger from battle, there is another reason to keep them alive.

Along with its turn-based combat, Massive Chalice also has a macro section in which you pair up characters to have children that hopefully gain positive attributes from both parents. As characters are born and die, abilities adapt according to dominant and recessive traits which affect your overall approach during the course of the game. The game does a decent job of suggesting compatible pairings and helping you build a strong bloodline. I wasn’t so lucky however, as my kids ended up being ranged hunters with terrible eyesight. Oh well, I guess he can find support work within the kingdom while I convince the wife to try again.

Massive Chalice is set to be released on PC in September and on Xbox One later on this year.

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