Lords Of Xulima is an isometric party-based RPG mixed with a few casual elements. For those looking for a game similar to the recently released Might & Magic X or last year’s Legend Of Grimrock don’t necessarily need to look further, because the combat is, as mentioned, turn-based and shown in the same way as those games (although not entirely) and even the difficulty can be hard for the unexperienced or unwary. Furthermore, the game plays like a mix of Hero Of The Kingdom (where you also have to collect herbs by casually clicking around) and classic RPGs, with your central hubs and huge amounts of quests to be completed.
As far as the gameplay is concerned: you walk around by clicking on the ground, or by using the WASD keys. By default your party moves at a low (read: walking) speed but by pressing and holding the Shift button you can let them run. You engage enemies by moving into their territory and if you’re walking into an area that originally belongs to the enemies random encounters will also appear. Here you can choose to fight, evade/avoid combat or to use a skill to hide. Obviously, the last two choices don’t always work and require on luck and in-game skills.
Besides fighting enemies you’ll find treasure chests and other loot. Some of these chests will be locked and can be lockpicked with your thief and or anyone who has this skill and enough lockpicks on hand. A small Minesweeper-like minigame will trigger.
You also have to take into account the food supplies. Collecting edible plants allows you to add a small amount of food to your supplies. This is shown in a circle in the bottom right corner of the screen. Fill it up and you can walk an entire day around without having to worry that you’re going to run out. Food is used for activities like resting and traveling and when it’s empty you won’t be able to use these as efficiently, or they may not even work altogether. So it is advisable that you fill it up for at least a few days because who knows where you might end up and when you might see the next town where you can eventually stock up again.
The graphics have a casual look. Some of the portraits could use a little work, but the world itself looks splendid and detailed. The combat seemingly uses 2D animations converted from 3D models (not sure, though) and they look a tiny bit wooden to be honest. Even if they are technically okay. Other than that I have no issues.
Navigation can be a bit hard but that’s mainly because you can get stuck or walk into objects that you shouldn’t get stuck into to begin with, like trees or stones. It doesn’t happen very often but it’s definitely noticeable when it does happen and sometimes you have to backtrack a bit in order to get past the obstacle.
The user interface isn’t always entirely clear or user friendly and therefore not as intuitive to use as it should be and some tooltips that definitely would’ve come in handy seem to be missing. It would’ve been nice if there was a checkbox for this in the Options menu or something. I understand they don’t want to hold your hand, but at least explain some of the buttons or mechanics for the less experienced gamers out there, or for those who have no idea what they’re looking at (trust me, once you’ve clicked a weird looking button you exactly know what to look for next time). I don’t think the interface should be part of the difficulty level (as you can see in the comments below you can right-click on most of the important things to get more information, but this doesn't work for everything you see unfortunately).
And why can’t I close ‘Level up’ window without having to select my skills and stats first ? Sometimes I just want to compare things before I choose. This should absolutely be optional, and not forced.
I’m also missing things like pop-ups when you level up and/or sound alerts. I know that this information is displayed in the upper right corner, but showing these events on-screen, in the center, in full detail gives a sense of progression and fulfillment. This is just a personal preference, of course.
The music is subtle and is well done. I think it fits the game well because half of the time I hardly even notice it. And yes, that’s a compliment. It all feels very natural and well integrated. The sounds used for the creatures and in battle are decent so far, and the narrator is doing a good job at telling the story sequences.
Finishing the story should take you quite a while. I’ve taken a look at the map and it’s pretty big. The game isn’t finished at the moment of writing this so we can’t experience the entire thing just yet. But I think it could easily take you anywhere between 25-50 hours. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint at this moment, and it also depends on what sort of gamer you are (do you want to complete all of the sidequests and explore every nook and cranny, for example). I’m somewhere between 8-15 hours into the game and I’m still hanging around near the beginning I think. So there’s plenty to do in this game.
Please bear in mind that this still is an Early Access title and despite its small flaws I’m 100% certain most of the things I’ve discussed will be (at least partially) addressed.
The game already feels quite polished and I had a great time playing it. So if you like lengthy party-based RPGs don’t forget to check this one out. It might not look like much judging from just the screenshots but you’d be surprised to see how much fun this game actually is.