At this point, I have to wonder how many Dungeons & Dragons-based games I have played in my years, not including the beloved original tabletop game. What could be better than gathering up with a group of friends (or enemies!) and getting lost in each other’s imaginations for a whole night? Thus far, very few video game adaptations have really captured the magic of a true D&D campaign. Now, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realm by Codename Entertainment is trying to change all that. It’s the first official clicker game based in the D&D universe, and it is meant to tie in very closely with the tabletop realm.
Many D&D players are aware of the fifth edition storylines published by Wizards of the Coast, which are all taking place on the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms. The free-to-play Idle Champions will weave in stories that have already been published (like Elemental Evil and Tyranny of Dragons) as well as introduce new stories unique to itself. The entire goal is to make Idle Champions a complimentary experience to the tabletop game.
But does it succeed in capturing the magic of a D&D game? In my brief experience playing the alpha, no. It does, however, offer a fun visual aspect to the world many fans have been playing in for a while now, and it’s a fun “sidekick.” I found myself wondering who would get the most from the game, and I believe it probably serves newer players as an intro to the various character types, as well as giving D&D veterans a fun side game to play while they’re between game sessions.
The graphics are reminiscent of 90s cartoon-style games. Being a 90s kid, I loved this aspect. The controls are extremely simple – basically, you just click. Click enemies for attacks, click menus for items and skills, and so on. Even the walking and basic attacks are done for you, so the game could almost play itself. In fact, grinding is done by just watching your characters/group beat enemies down on their own. In this way, it seems the game would be an even better fit for mobile devices.
A lot of the player input will come from party formation, in which you can have a lot of fun choosing what types of characters you’d like in your party, and seeing where each of their strengths and weaknesses lies. The rest of the player input comes from your own storytelling. While the game is based on actual D&D lore, it doesn’t provide much but references for you to build upon. Overall, I think the replayability is rather low.
Now that the Alpha has closed and the developers are making final tweaks before releasing it to Steam Early Access, I’m interested to see what changes get made. A lot of feedback has been based a few glitches, but overall it seems the gameplay and graphics have been a hit. When you see it come up on Steam in the next few days, I’d recommend trying it out for yourself!
This preview is based on an early access copy of the game provided by the publisher.