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[toggles behavior=”accordion”] [toggle title=”Minimum Specification”]OS:  Windows 7 64-bit

Processor:  Quad Core 2.66 Ghz Intel or 3.2 GHz AMD

Memory: 4 GB RAM

Graphics: Geforce GTX 660 Ti or AMD Radeon 6850 or better

DirectX: Version 11
[toggle title=”Recommended Specification”]OS:  Windows 10 64-bit

Processor: Quad Core 2.66 Ghz Intel or 3.2 GHz AMD

Memory: 4 GB RAM

Graphics: Geforce GTX 1050 or AMD Radeon RX 570

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[toggle title=”Review Specification”]OS: Windows 10 64bit

Processor: Intel Core i5-7500

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Druidstone: Secret of the Menhir Forest

Detailed Review

Well-made tactical RPGs are hard to come by these days. In fact, the last full-fledged tactical RPG I played after 2015’s Blackguards was Pathway and that didn’t go down so well. But when I learned that the creators of Legend of Grimrock that breathed new life into modern blobbers were making a new tactical RPG, I couldn’t be more excited. Their latest outing, called Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is out on now Steam and your boy got to dabble a little more than 20 hours in the game. Is it good, is it bad and should you buy it? Well, read on below!

Story & Narrative

Druidstone doesn’t try to set itself apart from many of the fantasy RPGs out there and stays within the genre tropes. The evil sorceress has kidnapped the Archdruid of the Menhir forest and spreads corruption, threatening the very life and balance of all things. You are put into the shoes of three adventurers- a confused chosen one hatched out of a cocoon, the determined daughter of the Archdruid who’s feels like she’s crack shot with a bow but might heal you later and last, but not the least, something that looks like the hybrid between Yoda and Orko from He-Man. It’s up to you to find the Archdruid, beat the sorceress and save the forest.

The story is generic but it manages to strike a tone similar to first Divinity: Original Sin, balancing humor with dark themes. Even if the story is forgettable, the banter between characters and their dialogues are fun to read (as there’s no voice acting). There are a lot of snarky remarks and “oh shit” moments along the way. But most tactical RPGs are never strong on the storytelling part and it’s easy to forgive Druidstone and focus entirely on the gameplay.

Gameplay & Mechanics

General Gameplay & Structure

Druidstone is more of a turn-based strategy game than an RPG. It lies on the spectrum somewhere between XCOM, Into the Breach and Blackguards. There are no choices to be made during the storyline or branching paths, nor is there hubs to visit or extensive character creation and exploration. Players expecting Legend of Grimrock style gameplay will not find similar systems here. But let’s look at it for what it is, not what you want it to be.

Druidstone plays out in an isometric perspective and puts you in command of three heroes (later four) as they visit tightly designed battle maps to carry out different objectives and unique challenges. As one expects, the combat is grid and turn-based, meaning that you can take all the time in the world scratching your brains out before deciding what the characters should do next. The game uses a dual Action Points mechanic seen commonly today, one for movement and one for actions. The player always goes first and can move, attack, defend and interact with objects on the map but so can the enemies.

There are about 35 missions in total, each with highly varied objectives and each can take around 10-30 minutes to complete. Among these are some puzzle missions that aren’t too hard to figure out and provides a nice change of pace. As you complete missions, your characters level up, gain gold and skill boosting gems that can be used to your advantage. Like mentioned earlier, each mission also has several bonus challenges that reward you with gold, XP, and gems if you go out of their way to solve them. The missions can be revisited any time (with an XP penalty) and you are free to come back for bonus objectives whenever you want. There are no roguelike mechanics like perma-death or any sorts of penalties for failing a mission. You can always restart, replay or put the missions off for later.

Character Skills & Progression

Like I said beforehand, Druidstone doesn’t allow for custom characters, nor can you change the class of the available characters. While this might put some people off, Druidstone uses it to tell a linear story and makes full use of the available skills for maximum combat synergy. But weapons, armors, and accessories for each character can be changed and experimented with. You start off the game with a warrior, an archer/healer and a mage. Each time you level, up you can also choose from a pool of available skills, each of which can be further enhanced by slotting them with gems. For example, you can modify your lightning spell to deal more damage, the number of times it can be used in combat or additional effects such as dazing. Almost all skills can be modified such way and you can respec and swap gems in and out any time outside of a mission.

Druidstone has a decent amount of character skills whether you’re a warrior, a mage or an archer. These also differ from one another significantly. From standard fireballs to summoning skiils to status and AoE effects, the game makes sure that you have plenty to play around with. Some of my favorites include the ability to rewind the turn to the beginning of the round if something goes astray, or Focus, a highly-useful spell which boosts the effect of the next spell to be cast. Using focus, you can change the standard single target fireball to AoE, allow healing spell to be cast thrice in a row, convert the revival spell so that it can revive all the downed members in the party, etc. Aside from spells, there is an assortment of weapons, armors, and accessories to pimp out your party with and these too, like the skills. can be slotted with gems to boost active skills or passive stats.

The Combat

The most important aspect of a tactical game and the one that Druidstone does so damn well is the combat. It’s smooth, tactical, easy to learn, challenging and above all, rewarding. In most cases, there are plenty of ways to tackle a single turn and move your party to victory. There are also plenty of ways to screw everything up and see yourself repeatedly restarting missions. Each turn is valuable and more often than not, Druidstone plays out like chess…very violent chess, where long-term strategy pays off. This is made more enforced by the fact that you have limited use of skills and healing supplies during any given mission, something that can’t be said for the enemies. Like you, the enemies can also pick up healing drops and additional AP dropped by other enemies. It always feels as if the odds are stacked against you and hence, pulling off coordinated and well-planned attacks feel rewarding and satisfying. More so when you manage to complete bonus objectives when hell is breaking loose around you. The prospect of risk vs reward runs high in Druidstone.

One thing that can either make or break Druidstone for the players is how each mission is structured and how it forces your hand. Aside from a very few limited-turns missions, almost all missions encourage you to either charge in aggressively or run straight to the objective, because the more turns you take, more enemy reinforcements will appear, or in some cases, dead enemies will be replaced by new ones with just one turn in between. Now, I appreciate the added emergency if it’s used once in a while like the limited-turns missions, but seeing this in almost every mission is frustrating to say the least. First-time players will have a hard time completing bonus objectives on the first try due to some missions requiring you to adopt certain specific strategies to win. Such encounters can feel like an elaborated puzzle. This is clearly apparent during some scenarios where the summoner enemy just kept on spamming the map with undead hordes one after the other and I had to do the ‘ol trial & error method to find out the best strategy to win.

Later on in the game, there are some fights that feel cheap and there’s a sudden spike in difficulty that ends up feeling artificial. A particular boss fight especially forced me to put aside my pride and drop the difficulty from normal to easy just to get it over with. Aside from these, there are also some fights where the game throws flexibility out the window and force you to adopt a certain strategy. But your mileage may vary. I feel like some of the skills and especially weapons could use a buff or two. There is also quite a big gap between easy and normal that could also be seen to. However, hardcore tactical masterminds will feel right at home.


Coming back to positives, the sheer variance in enemy and encounter design is commendable with each mission offering something new and makes experimentation worthwhile. The UI is clean and the game displays all the necessary information like attack range, attack of opportunities, melee engagement and the damage that will be done by attacks to make sure that you don’t accidentally misuse turns. I just wish that there was an incentive to replay the game as everything that should be experienced can be done in a single playthrough.

Visuals, Sound & Performance

Druidstone is a visually pleasing game with a cheery art style, vibrant colors and well-animated characters. It is reminiscent of Magicka and Divinity: Original Sin in a lot of ways. Each level offers something new visually and there’s a lot of attention to detail like leaves and grass swaying in the winds to some alluring weather effects. Spells could have been more visually impressive but that’s just me nitpicking.

The game always ran at ridiculously high fps on our review specs. The game only crashed once and that was during a consecutive seven-hour session. I haven’t experienced bugs or glitches of any kind. There are only a handful of settings to fiddle around with but I don’t think anyone will have a hard time running Druidstone.

When it comes to music and sound, Druidstone does a decent job. There’s nothing out of the ordinary and everything fits within the standard low-fantasy tropes. I like how little of the music is overused in maps which, a lot of indie games seem to do these days. There is no voice acting and the story is told through text-bubbles but fans of this genre will have no problem adjusting to that.


[signoff icon=”icon-info-circled”]Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is a challenging, satisfying and well-made tactical experience fully worth the price tag. The combat is excellent, there are a lot of skills to fiddle around with and the game keeps you on your toes at all times. Just don’t expect a fully fledged RPG with extensive customization. There are a few balancing issues and some frustrating mission structures that need fixing, but nothing a few patches and the promised mod support can’t fix.[/signoff]

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