Evaluation: Baladins run in circles on their own

Baladin is a game that I really want to love. It has a lot going for it: adorable aesthetics and fun music, co-op multiplayer, and rogue-lite replayability. Although quite light, the story is quite interesting thanks to the time loop mechanism. But by the way, it’s disappointing that some of the actual gameplay mechanics… can’t come together to form a compelling loop. And that’s a real shame, because otherwise Baladin is a real charmer.

You play as a member of a traveling party and general do-gooders: the titular Baladins. A time-eating dragon has appeared and you have a few weeks (or turns) to collect valuable items to feed it, the more meaningful the better. If it is not satisfied, the dragon will spend time on its own, but only a few weeks at most. Essentially trapped in a time loop, your only hope of escape is to travel across the land doing odd jobs and searching for jewels, bringing everyone together. when you do so.

Screenshot by Siliconera

The game itself has similar gameplay to Yawhg or monster ball series, but there are fewer options for messing with your friends, as this is a more co-op focused game. You have a set of characters with different stats, movements, and action points that you can use each turn to explore the world and go on quests. Most locations have some sort of activity, from talking to villagers to practicing skills or taking on stat and dice-based challenges. The solution to different quests can be as simple as talking to someone, or they can require collecting several items from very different areas within the same 6-week loop, with most quests Each story has a different “good” or “bad” ending. At the end of the loop, you are summoned back to the dragon, who may offer some small hints or tidbits of lore as it devours your treasure. What’s helpful is that each player can keep an item to bring into another run in case you haven’t completed the mission or just want to increase your stats for the next run.

It’s a fun game set up with plenty of space to play within, but I found the structure ultimately went against the party game style it seemed to be aiming for. Returning to the previous comparison, inmonster ball orYawhg Likewise, you’re trying to get through a series of short rounds, but it’s wrapped up in this little story based on how well you do. Is your character successful? Survive the storm? Get the sentient girl/boy/computer? IN Baladin, even if you complete any task you set out to do, the results are in a common pool with the rest of the tasks and there is no specific reward as such in the end. This also applies to some quests, as I once spent about an hour trying to gather a limited number of materials to craft a dragon-slaying crossbow, only for the dragon to deflect it right away. It doesn’t even add much to the hunger meter when the beast eats it.

Screenshot by Siliconera

And that’s further complicated by the moment-to-moment gameplay, as the open-ended nature of both the setup and missions means you’ll often just wander around exploring rather than making concrete progress. Only after you have a good understanding of what items you can get and from where can you start actually looking to complete the quests, which will take multiple runs (and probably a notebook notes to record information). It makes the game almost feel like a point-and-click adventure, where the real treasure is the information you learn with each run. That’s a conceptually interesting idea! But it doesn’t really fit the boardgame style setup and limited spins. Although you can do as many loops as you like, you still have to complete tasks within that same loop. Imagine you’re trying to finish Monkey island but you only get so much action before having to start all over again.

On top of that, the multiplayer features aren’t very exciting. An ally in the same position as you provides a bonus when rolling, and you can share the item or pull a friend to you for an action point (or jump to their location for a movement point ). Now, these are quality-of-life features, but they don’t necessarily lead to many interesting questions or strategies, just ways to make things a little easier. Even when the game directly asks players to vote on the outcome of a mission, the outcome rarely has a greater impact than locking a certain area, which will only be reset in next loop.

Screenshot by Siliconera

I generally prefer cooperative games, and I don’t mean to suggest Baladin could have been more competitive, but the element of risk adds an element of appeal to other games that I feel this game lacks. actually I think Baladin would benefit from allowing one player to control multiple characters, perhaps hot seat mode would also allow couch co-op. While you can have multiple local players, each of them needs their own controller to participate rather than just being able to swap one player around, which can be limiting even if you There are enough players.

If all of this sounds very negative, let me clarify again that I really like this game. Again, the papercut art style is lovely and the way the dragon and its effects use a completely different style works brilliantly. The world of Gatherac is full of funny guys, and while the game is kid-friendly, it also has very little commentary on things like labor, misinformation, and even market regulation. I can even see what I think the developers were going for with the way you explore the world with friends, go on quests, and help each other, but ultimately it just doesn’t come together. together.

Baladin currently available on PC via Steam.



Embark on a strange journey and bring joy to a bright fantasy world in this role-playing adventure for 1-4 players. Create your own story and solve the quests the way you want, but be careful, because every time you fail, the Dragon will take you back in time! PC Version Reviewed Review copy provided by the company for testing purposes.

Baladins is creative, charming and sweet, but the gameplay structure is not appealing.


  • Be sure to always bring a notebook with you when playing. I constantly forget where I find items that I later need.
  • I love that this even seems to have happened before and that there’s even protocol to verify time travelers.
  • My favorite little guy is probably Petreize, the elf who lives in a barrel.

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