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Massive Chalice: A first look

Massive Chalice is now in Early Access on Steam. How’s it look so far? Mojo investigates this early version of the game.

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What is Massive Chalice? That was the question I asked myself the morning after a late night where I apparently had Kickstarted another Double Fine game. And hey, nothing wrong with that, although I really didn't take much time trying to find an answer to the question. Learning it was a turn based strategy game… thingy… from Double Fine was pretty much all I needed to know.

(Oh, I did also learn that project lead Brad Muir’s :D-tweets are charming! Not to mention that Mojo actually had its own interview with the man; no clue how I forgot about that, seeing I made the header image for it.)

Anyway! At its core, Massive Chalice is X-Com, just in a different setting, and that is OK with me. X-Com was awesome.

But what makes Massive Chalice unique so far?

I'm not what one would call a "follower" of Game of Thrones, but apparently the game draws a lot of inspiration from those books. As such, you can build noble Houses, which, from what I understand, work like they do in the source of inspiration. Again, I don't know much about Game of Thrones, but the concept really is straightforward.

The strength of it comes down to how you'll start growing an attachment to your Houses. The people in them interact with each other through anything from marriage to child birth. There is actually a form of genetics, too, where children will inherit certain traits from their parents, while still keeping their own identity. Pretty cool.

Combat works similarly to X-Com. You position your characters strategically, and attack and defend accordingly. It's simple in its core, but there's definitely a lot more depth than what initially meets the eye, and it quickly gets fairly complicated.

And, of course, it is still in its beta, so we shall see how combat gets adjusted over the next few months.

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Music and voice acting, I would assume, would be more cemented at this point, and they're both pretty stellar. I mean, it's Double Fine, so I suppose that is given, but the audio really adds to the atmosphere here.

The graphics, too, look nice so far, enough so they made me want to explore the levels to a greater depth than I did in X-Com. As far as I can see, there is a larger level of variety here, which is much welcomed.

Again, this is a beta, and it's too early to judge anything, really. The final version of Massive Chalice will be available Spring, 2015, and I'd fully expect more polish to be added. Less crashes would go without saying, and I'd venture to guess combat will undergo some adjustments, too.

So far, though, Massive Chalice looks promising. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the final product.