I honestly feel like I need to take an entire week off just to play Tenderfoot Tactics, a mix of turn-based battling and open-world exploration that's out now. Note: key provided by the developer.
Tenderfoot Tactics is a very strange mix of games. The open-world exploration is real-time, and it blends in party-based RPG mechanics with each of your goblins having levels, equipment, abilities and the option to evolve into something bigger and then when you get into the combat it flips that into a turn-based tactical battler. It works together so amazingly well though.
"For a generation, the terrible Fog - one vast, voiceless, and cruel spirit - has been eating the once-thick forests of the mainland. Now, with nowhere left to call home, and granted magic by the friendly spirits of the archipelago, one small party of would-be adventurers sets out. Find a way to save the many goblin towns of the rocky coast, discover the truth of the Fog, and, if possible, put an end to it."
What's really juicy about Tenderfoot is the the combat system, which is easy enough to understand if you've played any turn-based tactical battle system but it does things quite differently and needs a little time to learn the special way it does things. You don't have random miss chances, so unlike the likes of XCOM you're not going to see 99% and still miss. No special ranges to deal with and you get to use magic to manipulate the very ground beneath your feet to open chasms, raise mountains, boil lakes, drain rivers.
Nature does its thing during battles too. Grass and bush will grow, creating difficulty moving through costing more time, fire will spread and more so there's plenty to be aware of especially when you start manipulating things. The way it does this during battles keeps it interesting too, as every action has a time cost associated with it so you might see a bush or two appear while a character moves across the battlefield.
There's another aspect to the combat that makes it unique too. When you take down an enemy, they drop a little spirit you can pick up for instant experience points and HP gain. This is often needed too, as the battlefields are quite small and it's easy to end up loosing a lot of health if you're not careful.
Graphically, I think it's gorgeous too, especially when you're exploring. The way the world melts in and out of view as you explore, it's completely serene and really rather calming. The world is an entire mystery to you too, with little explanation as you go into the game so you really get this sense of walking into the unknown that makes it quite the experience.
I'm also having far too much fun sliding my crew down mountains as we continue to explore.
Tenderfoot Tactics is now sitting high up on my list next to other unique gems like Wildermyth and Fort Triumph for when I want to dive into turn-based tactical battles.
Another thing that's interesting about it, is that the crew who worked on it form part of Ice Water Games, a "democratically owned" label representing a collection of games by the artists who built those games. So, it sounds a bit like a co-op. It's great to see more people come together like that to ensure they're all treated fairly as there's far too much worker exploitation in the video game industry.
You can buy Tenderfoot Tactics on Steam.