I’m a huge fan of Wakfu. I used to watch it all the time when I was younger and only later realised that the show that I watched was based on the MMO that I never really got into… and not being able to get into the MMO and not liking some parts of it was a bit of a blow as I wanted to see more of the world but there wasn’t too much out there that scratched that itch…
But then One More Gate came out, a rogue-like deck-builder that combines a degree of exploration with turn-based and strategic combat as well as a lot of meta progression and interesting design choices. The game is developed and published by Ankama which makes it technically not “Indie” but I wanted to still cover it here given that I’m a fan of the series. I mean, the Wakfu MMO was unique, the show was pretty great, and the world has a lot to offer, right?
Developer: Ankama Studio
Publisher: Ankama Games
Genre: 2D, Strategy, Roguelike, Deckbuilder, (Early Access)
Release Date: October 11th, 2022
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was provided by a PR person.
After crashing through a small village’s Zappu portal thing and breaking it in the process, the young Oropo has to make an effort to repair it – which requires a bunch of Kamas (the currency in The World of Twelve). To acquire those, you venture out onto runs, defeat enemies and complete quests. At least, that’s what I think the game is about.
Frankly, the game sort of tells you that you have to repair the portal but in the first few hours of the game, it just forgets about that. The game release din Early Access and there are many updates planned for it, so let’s put the story aside for now, shall we?
Oropo is a young Eliotrope that landed here and basically has to fight enemies in dungeons to get stronger. In combat, you play a variety of cards from simple strikes and defends to more interesting effects like stuns or even poison. Using cards requires flux which charges up by one each turn as long as you maxed out the flux previously (sounds more complicated than it is). Once you’ve fully unlocked all the flux, you can fill the bar and unleash a decisive attack using the power of Wakfu – which then resets the flux level back to 3.
It’s unique in its approach to how card costs are handled but in the end, it just feels like more of the same. Enemies have specific intentions like attacking, defending or even buffing other units. At the same time, you can only attack the front unit or possibly move them to the back later on. Combat is often weighed heavily against you…
But that’s where relics come in that you find along the way. You can equip these to give you unique effects like small heals for Oropo, debuffs for the enemy or even unique interactions between your different cards and turn sequences. Once I got a relic that gave me a lot of armour on the third turn, so I used up my block cards in the first two turns to negate all incoming damage before setting up a powerful attack on the third turn without having to worry about blocks.
And even when you taste defeat, it’s not the end of the world. Back in the village, you can buy new cards, customize your deck and upgrade existing cards.
Permanent progression is the keyword here and while I don’t hate it in most games, I’m a bit annoyed by it in this game. Frankly, One More Gate can shape out to be rather grindy.
Fights are heavily favouring the enemy side with multiple of them doing their best to end you. Yes, you have a lot of health compared to other roguelikes but at times it just feels unfair when you get beaten by a piercing attack that just ignores your block. That’s the part that I don’t like. In most roguelikes, I feel like I did something wrong when I died. “I should have dodged that way”, “I shouldn’t have played this card”, etc. Here, it feels like I didn’t grind enough.
From one run to another, you can effectively double your power output as if it’s nothing, making a lot of fights trivial. They’re not trivial by any means… they just get a lot easier and that’s something I dislike, personally. I’d rather acquire new cards in a “Slay the Spire”-esque manner… and yes, I’m making that comparison here which may not be fair but the game is inspired quite heavily by that title, so… yeah. Why not take more inspiration?
The other thing that bothered me is that the world of Wakfu and Dofus is charming. There are also serious implications when you name the main character here “Oropo”, especially when you consider that Oropo’s true face in the animated series looked fairly similar to this game’s protagonist. I would have liked to see more lore or maybe more text and dialogue about the world. At the moment, I recognize things and animals, systems and styles, but if I was completely new to the world, I wouldn’t get why it’s called “A Wakfu Legend”.
So, for now, I’d have to say that the game has potential but that it’s also not quite there just yet.
It’s in Early Access, after all… While the core gameplay loop seems to be set in stone already, I feel like it still requires a lot of polish. Also, there appears to be an “expedition mode” planned for the future which may work better for me personally.
At the moment, it’s a somewhat fun experience that may give you that sweet, sweet feeling of nostalgia if you’re into Wakfu and the world and stuff… but it’s grindy and can get really repetitive and even frustrating at times, particularly because enemies have effects such as “piercing damage” and stuff that you just can’t deal with, at all.
If you don’t mind the grind, feel free to check out One More Gate: A Wakfu Legend for yourself – but personally, I may just return to it at a later update and see what they do to make the game less grindy and unfair.